Here is your warning...This is a long catch-up post so it will have several unrelated topics which will be addressed. For the sake of time and plain boredom, feel free to skip a paragraph or two and only read the ones that are of interest to you...not that you need my permission.
I was in shock today...I ran out to check the mail and the sky looked pretty nasty, the wind was up, and I could tell a storm was coming. Literally within minutes I heard the rain so hard I thought someone was banging on our back door. I looked outside and saw golf ball size hail falling from the sky. It was brief...it only lasted for about 5 minutes, but it was long enough to wake up Andrew who was sleeping soundly until the loud thuds threatened to break the window in his room. The kids had lots of questions about the hail (you know, what is it?, what makes it happen?, why did it stop?, etc., etc.) and their super smart mommy on the is Super Tuesday gave many exasperated I don't knows and even resorted to well, I am not God so I don't get to know that. It was fun to go outside and play with the balls of ice after it was over and done with though.
I told you I have had the flu and I have felt better for about 5 days now, but I am just so stinking tired...I can't seem to get my energy level back and I want to sleep every chance I get. I took two short naps today and I am looking forward to bedtime which is coming soon. Surely this can't last much longer...I have floors to clean (and I can ignore them for quite an impressive amount of time, but I am beginning to feel like it must be done soon, since I saw the baby pick up some ball of dirt or debris and try to eat it), I have laundry to do, and the organizational level of this house is beginning to make me crazy! It is nice to be feeling better, but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by my house and the kids could really use a mommy, please sit and play day. Hopefully the remainder of this week will leave some time for all of that...if I could just stay awake when my kids are occupied.
Before getting sick, little Rebecca and I had a mommy and me day. It was our first and I invision many, many more in the years to come. She is so sweet and it was fun to get to focus just on her for once...I also must say that having one with you is a peice of cake when you are used to toting around 3 kids. I really felt like it was a vacation. We went to Dallas, had lunch with my grandfather, sister-in-law, and my neices. We then went to a baby shower for my cousin which was the reason for making the trip and then we went and hung out at the house of one of my dear friends from HS. It was such a good visit. Meridith is the kind of friend that I can go months without talking to her much, but we have just known each other for so long that we pick right back up. Finally we sropped at Chick-fil-A for some play time and nuggets before heading back. It was a good day.
The Haglers will be Mexico bound this summer. Trace and I are so excited! We attended a meeting about short term missions recently at our church. We heard about several awesome mission trips that God is putting together that would be absolutely amazing experiences, however we just don't feel like most of them are feasible for our family at this point. We did hear about a group that goes to Matamoros, Mexico every year. They go and stay at an orphanage for about a week and they run a VBS for the kids in the orphanage, they set up an area where they meet some minor medical needs for the community, and this year they will be doing some minor construction work at the orphanage. Matamoros is only about 10 miles across the border, but it is across the border. We will have to get some shots, and we will have to sacrifice a few of the luxuries of home (the big one for me is going to be air conditioning during the day, but we will have it while we sleep). We are the most excited about the fact that we can go as a family. We get to travel with other families that have a heart for missions and a desire to go and serve. That in and of itself will make the experience worth it. We are eager to see how God uses this to change our hearts! We are eager to get out there and do something and we are eager to do that as a family. I am dreaming of making this trip a regular family event, of raising kids who have a heart to see God move through missions and who desire to be a part of what God wants to do. I don't know what impact this will have on me, I have never taken a mission trip, I have never sweated for Jesus as I tried to show a little of His love to those I come in contact with, but I know this is an experience that will forever change me and right now I desire to be changed. I desire to be shaken, to be emboldened with the Holy Spirit, to share Jesus Christ (the only one who satisfies) with those around me. I don't think I have to go to Mexico to do that, but I do think it will help me in the process of being transformed. I don't know what to expect for my family, but I am excited about the unexpected!
Lastly, I have thought a bunch about suffering for the sake of Christ lately. I think that the Bible makes it very clear that if you follow Christ...YOU WILL SUFFER for His name sake. The problem that I have had lately is that I don't really suffer and I suffer so little that I even wonder what kind of Christian life am I living. Do I look any different than those around me? Am I any better at loving those around me than the nonbeliever down the street? The bible says work out you salvation with fear and trembling (Philipians 2:12). What does that mean? Does that mean that I should question these things? Does that mean that I should wonder if I have really been set apart by the Holy Spirit? I mean, don't get me wrong, God has changed my heart and I am different than I was 5 years ago. I think different, I believe different, and I do believe I act a little different, so I must be His; I am His child. I know He has changed me! The question is...How much have I let Him change me? Have I let Him change me to the point that Paul says...I count all things loss, but the surpassing knowledge of Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8)? All things? Do I count all things but loss compared to Him. Is He my only desire? Do I want to or am I willing to really suffer for the sake of His name? Well, I can answer one part of that...no, I do not want to suffer, but am I willing? Could I do it? Could I be beaten and spit on and still follow Him? I do not know. It makes me uncomfortable to think about it, but I think from time to time, I should think about it. I think sometimes I should struggle with the fact that I don't really suffer for His names sake. I do realize that I have not been called to that kind of suffering and I am thankful for that, but sometimes I wonder if He hasn't called me because I am not capable...I would break under the pressure. I was recently in a room of Christians that I respect. People that I believe do try to live the Christian life and who do seek to do Jesus' will, but I left with this topic heavy on my heart. The topic of suffering came up and someone felt the need to say we all suffer...we all suffer in some way ( whether it is giving financially or not buying something I want for the sake of God's name, or being ridiculed a little by people around us or whatever). Really? Does that count? Is that suffering for the sake of Christ or is that an American Christians way of feeling ok for the life we live and the little, tiny amount we suffer? How come we can't just sit and be uncomfortable? Why can't we take that discomfort to our Heavenly Father and pour our struggle out to Him and see how He responds? Why do we always have to make it ok? Why do I feel a need to justify my lack of suffering, my relatively easy life? Christians around the world do suffer for the sake of Christ. They are imprissoned and beaten. They are deserted by family and some times they do not even have food to eat. Can I compare my life to that? Do I really partake in the suffering of Christ? Just a question, a struggle I have had within myself...I would love your thoughts.