Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Love Affair in a Secret Place

****I am starting the book
CRAZY LOVE:Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.
Would love for you to read it with me!
I have always said that my dream vacation would be to go to the condo without the kids. It is so romantic there but we just don't have babysitting to do things like that. After the wedding last weekend when I fell in love with Tim all over again, I decided to try and make it happen. The condo is booked solid through the summer and now was our chance. I lined up about 100 of our closest/saintliest friends to work in shifts so that we could run away together. It was not an easy task to get everything packed, lists made, food prepared, house cleaned and out the door. Let's just say God IS still in the miracle business :).
Since I have decided to step out in faith and believe God for big things, it seems the heat has stayed turned up. I feel like I have been in the spiritual boxing ring as I have had so much opposition, doubt and fear thrown my way. I was so anxious to get away with Tim and spend time alone with the Lord. My soul seemed parched and I knew Jesus could give me a drink of Living Water.
Let me just tell you how spiritually fragile I was when we left... My boys love the movie "Bolt". I haven't seen the whole thing but as I was walking through the room I heard this part...
Bolt is staring at a pad lock and says,
"Stay back. If I stare at the lock really hard then it will burst into flames and melt". The cat says, "Now I am concerned on a number of levels".
Bolt had gotten lost from a movie set and thought that he had super powers and that everything from the set was real. The cat keeps telling him,
"Nothing you think is real... is REAL!!! Look at're hungry, you're bleeding. How's it working out for you??".
So, naturally, like anyone else who saw this clip of Bolt, I went into my closet, closed the door, sat down and started to cry. That is exactly how I feel. Like I am staring as hard at I can (through prayer) trying to use my super powers... and it isn't bursting anything into flames.
The enemy tells me,
"It is not real! None of it is real, just GIVE UP. It will NEVER work.
Look at you...
how is this whole prayer thing working out for you?? You are a FOOL.".
After Tim got home from work,
we hugged the boys, got in the car, and left for our romantic weekend. Tim had no idea I was on the verge of a breakdown. My arthritic pain was so bad, my head throbbing, and I was tired of staring at the pad lock trying to make it burst in flames. Less than an hour from our house, I lost it and started some sobbing, incomprehensible shpill about feeling like Bolt the dog. My sweet husband looked at me like an alien and with the most disappointed face said,
"aww, honey, I was really hoping this trip was going to be fun".
He encouraged me.... and bought me a a Cookies n Cream shake from Chick-fil-a.
We listened to fun music and he made me laugh for the next 5 hours of our trip.
Tim and I didn't have a whole lot of time together before we had kids. We LOVE being together and do not take it for granted. It had been years since we had more than 1 night away together.
This trip we had 3 nights!
We slept in. Went to breakfast together. Tim read the Bible to me during breakfast. The Bible says that when husbands read the Word over their wives that it WASHES them. I needed to be washed...

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word."
Ephesians 5:25,26

Mmmmmm. French French Orange Toast.

I got a little ambitious about how many books I could read in 2 days.
Here are all the books I want to read.

Here is the one that I chose. I love Beth Moore. Over and over during the last 3 years, my friends kept telling me I HAD to do the study. I wanted to but never did. Last week, it was delivered by a friend on my front porch. What a blessing. I soaked in every word. I am not sure that I have ever had a book minister to me more than this one. GO GET THE BOOK IF YOU HAVEN'T READ IT.

One of the reasons I love the beach is because God has spoken loud and clear to me there in the past. I don't know if we are more sensitive to His voice around his majestic creation but I sense His presence while standing in front of the ocean. Friday night, after a hot date with Tim, we got home and Tim was ready for bed. It was about 11:00. I had waited all day for my 'other date'. I grabbed my Bible and my flash light and told Tim I would see him in a little while. I walked toward the beach and knew my King was waiting on me to come. I have never felt more like Esther as I walked onto that beach alone, standing before a King. I definitely felt some of the fear and trembling she must have felt walking in front of the King's hall but then I also sensed His love and overwhelming beckoning for sinful/unworthy me to
into His presence.
(thank you Jesus that you made this possible)

"On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king's hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.
When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter."
Esther 5:1,2
You better believe I touched the tip of the scepter!!! As I sat there pouring my heart out to the Lord, listening to the crash of the waves in the darkness, staring through tears at the stars he named and placed in the sky, shining my flash light into His Word, seeking Him with all of my heart....
What he said is between us... for now.
'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
Jeremiah 33:3
I want to encourage each of you to go on a date with the the Lord. He is waiting on you. I told my friend Kristy about this night and told her I was going back the next and she said,
"And He can't wait!". He can't wait for you to come too! Your date...I mean King... is waiting on you.
Don't stand Him up.
By now, you know my verse summing up the last 4 years of my life is..

"I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel."
Isaiah 45:3
God continues to give me riches in secret places. He will do the same for you.
"And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul..."
Deut 10:12
Just as we need to take time-outs from our lives to spend with our earthly husbands, we also need to do that with Christ. Are you weary? Are you burdened?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28,29

***Warning- there are lots of pictures of me and Tim because there was no one else to take pictures of. I HAVE to take pictures while we are there because of all the cool backgrounds. I tell Tim it is a good opportunity for him to learn how to
"bear with one another".
Photo taken by the cute little security man...

My abs were sore because Tim made me belly laugh so much.

You can see where I was dunking my brownie and ice cream in my coffee and it spilled over the edge. YUM. Tell me if you go anywhere near Destin, Fl and I can tell you where to go eat.

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word."
Psalm 119:37

How appropriate were those words??? READ. LIVE.

Chocolate Croissant. My dream came true...
walking to the coffee shop alone with Tim and eating one of these bad boys.

Ahhhhhhhhh! I can still feel the breeze.

I wish you could really tell what a monster this house is... I am so glad I don't have to clean it!

My hottie....

I told him he made funny faces when he surfed. Then I got this...

Something bit him while he was in the ocean. EXACTLY why I don't go in.
He thinks it was a crab. I think it was a baby shark.

reading my book while keeping an eye out for Tim to get eaten by a shark after he went back in bleeding!! He said he had to go back to prove he wasn't afraid. I said, "with fresh blood??".

Tim loves playing the guitar. I wish I had musical talents.
I am so glad I believed God for big things when I prayed for a husband. What a healthy reminder of God's faithfulness he is to me EVERY SINGLE DAY. Oh, and the "How will you know if you are compatible if you don't have sex before you are married?"... Um, yeah,
"That is BOLOGNA".
Is it getting hot in here?? Where was I again?
Oh, right, God's faithfulness. ;)

Enjoying my freedom a little too much when I got out of the car and walked into a restaurant without any babies. It is the little things in life...

Spicy Noodle has the best pizza I have ever eaten in my whole life....

I am back home now. I am so refreshed. Ready to go back in to the ring with my sword
and extinguish the flaming arrows with my shield of faith.
I have already cleaned pee-pee out of our TV armoire this morning from where Lake climbed up it and pee-peed on the shelf.
I love my life.
God is so good.

Excerpt from Believing God...
"Seasons exist like the one we're going to study in this chapter, times when God demands everything we've got. He seems to say, "I've got a great victory in store for you, but if you want it, you'll have to give me nothing less than your all. I want 100 percent. This season will take every bit of the focus you've got, and you will literally live on My strength to get through it. This season involves warfare, but this time the heat doesn't let up. In times like these, we can't even think about tomorrow because we don't know how we're going to live through the battle today... I would like to suggest that some of the most adventurous endeavors you'll have with God may be too dificult at the time to enjoy, and by the time the party comes, you may smell too bad to go. Ah, but after a shower and a good look back! "
Still believing God to move your mountain?
Don't you dare stop.
God will burst that pad lock into flames and open it at exactly the right time.
Until He does, put on your royal robes and go on a date with the King of Kings.
"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20
Be Blessed~


Erin Southwell said...

This is my absolute favorite post you've done! I can just see and feel the holy spirit renewed in you in your photos and story-it is like a new breath of life!! I feel renewed myself after our talk last night! I am excited for my own date!!! And I'm sure this is the last thing you care about right now, but you seriously look like a super model in all of these pictures. Xoxo, E

Julie said...

I'm so glad you were able to get away for some "date" time with Tim and "date" time with Him. Your post is so positive and I can just feel you are refreshed. What a blessing. I think of you often and wonder how you are doing.

Hugs and prayers, Steph!

Nicole said...

Sorry Stephanie...been behind on my blog reading...sorry you are still feeling badly...still praying for glad you got to get away with Tim and enjoy yourselves! Yay for you both!!

HIS Child said...

Great to see your beautiful smile and see that your date with Tim and HIM went well with your soul. God bless you and keep "Believing God' for you are His priceless, beautiful, daughter.

PS Beth Moore has been used by the Lord in my life so powerfully.

Much love,

Trinity said...

Ok- so I just got back from disneyworld but I want to go to the beach! reading your post makes me want to go sooooo much more! Glad you had such a great time. You deserve it!

Adrienne said...

My favorite post too! Thank you for sharing. I almost feel refreshed just from reading! Our Biblestudy is doing Esther right now, and you are so right... I love your illustration of Esther walking before the King. I'm praying for you. Thank you for inspiring me in so many ways.

VIC said...

AHH I love Believing in God (the book...and literally!) I feel so refreshed just reading about your and Tim's break!
P.S. you are some beautiful specimens...:)

kelly said...

Oh my heart is singing with joy for you! Our God is so awesome that He meets us for "Holy Dates" for Him to speak and breathe His Word over us!!
Gladness in my heart that you are refreshed and renewed!
Still Believing God for you!!

Melody said...

I would love to find out more about where your condo is located. We go to the beach every summer and this summer we are talking about going to Destin. We are about 4 hours from Destin in Florida already. We usually do St.Augustine beach but we heard Destin is awesome. If you don't mind please email me when you get a second and give me your recommendations. I'm sad to hear your condo is booked up already. Maybe next year we can look into that!

Thank you,

Carrie said...

How beautiful!!! How wonderful that you were able to make this trip happen! It looks amazing! And two were probably like kids...hee hee! I'm sure you missed your babies, but know how important it is to make time alone together! Thanks for sharing...praying that you will be healed from your disease...SOON!!!
You look beautiful, too, by the way :)

Patti said...

I stumbled onto your blog from somewhere (who can keep them all straight?!!?). Anyways, I so love reading your posts and am inspired to re-ignite my passion for the Word after reading this post! Be blessed!!

Kim said...

I LOVED this post. Wow....I really am speechless. Just know it touched me on many levels. I would appreciate you praying for me and my desire to meet Christ...I have drifted and long to be back where I belong. Not because I HAVE to but because I WANT to. Thank you for your openness and's truly refreshing!

Love, Kim P.

gillian said...

AMEN!!!! Girl, that was a wonderfully encouraging post! I can feel your renewed strength!

Amanda May said...


Thank you so much for sharing about your sweet weekend with the two loves of your life!

I am so happy for you and EXCITED for what God is doing in (and through!!) you!

~Ang said...

OH I love you both so much!! Can I just say I am blessed to call you friend. I find encouragement in you. I am suffering from arthritic crazy pain now too. OH LORD COME QUICKLY!
Praying for you sweet one.
Much love,

Unknown said...

Hi Steph! I've stumbled upon your page and I'm so grateful! Your positive attitude is isn't always perfect by no means but by having our Heavenly Father in it makes 100% worth it.
I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and recently separated from my husband. I continue to pray to God for peace, humble attitude, patience and wisdom.
We are soooo lucky to have a God that is always there for us no matter what.
Thank you for encouraging me.
Prayers are sent above for you and your family.
I loved this post..and pictures!
Take Care,
Amee from Florida...

Anonymous said...

This entry was awesome, really spoke to me. You are such a blessing!!!!

Kim Nixon

jeanne @ Inspiring Ideas said...

I LOVE this post! Thanks for sharing your thoughts! (And I'm so jonesin the chocolate croissants and a beach vacation sans kiddos!)

Wendy said...

Stephanie - I have enjoyed reading your blog. I am going through a similar experience and am about to go on a 10 year anniversary trip with my husband. I am so scared that I will not feel well and that he will be disappointed. Please pray for me! Your words help so much.