Wednesday, June 27, 2012

dark as pitch...

on sunday mornings, pop and mom watch jentezen franklin (among others) while they drink their coffee before getting ready for church (living word fellowship in green forest...stop by around 9:45 for breakfast before the service!). a couple weekends ago, i was over there when jentezen franklin was talking about noah and the ark:

"so make yourself an ark of cypress wood;
make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
this is how you are to build it:
the ark is to be 450 feet long,
75 feet wide,
and 45 feet high.
make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top.
put a door in the side of the ark
and make lower, middle, and upper decks."

 it was father's day, and his message was about a father's responsibility to make sure his family is saved. definitely an important subject, and in all honesty one i should probably have been paying a little closer attention to...but instead i found my mind wandering.

has that ever happened to you? it has nothing to do with the preacher, but at times i find myself getting a totally different lesson out of what's being preached than what the preacher is trying to get across. i guess this was just one of those times.

i got hung up on one part of one verse: "coat it with pitch inside and out."

answers in genesis has this picture to show the size of the ark.

 their picture shows it as 550 feet instead of 450, but basically the ark would have been just over half the length of the titantic.

think about the sheer, intimidating size of that boat.
and now think about brushing thick, sticky, smelly pitch over every surface, inside and out.

jentezen franklin mentioned that covering the inside would have been the hard part. just think about trying to get the pitch into every single nook and between every board...
i imagine that was some messy, nasty work.

what makes it even crazier is the fact that noah and his family really had no idea what was coming next. yeah, God had told them to build a boat because He was going to flood the whole earth, but come you really think they even had an inkling of an idea of what that meant?

if i had been in their shoes (sandals?), i imagine i would have been overwhelmed by all the prep work God was having me do for some future i couldn't even picture.

to be honest, i find myself that way quite a bit now. there are times i feel like i'm moving around in the bowels of the boat, slopping pitch all over the place, doing the prep work for a future i have a really hard time picturing.

ever feel that way?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

just when you thought there couldn't be more...

well, sorry i haven't written anything in--wow, 4 weeks!
i've been at my parents, meaning i haven't been anywhere near the internet (yes, there really are still places that aren't connected to the interwebs...but i digress...). this long away really wasn't the plan, but what was supposed to be a 2 day visit starting on tuesday, may 29th, turned into 2 weeks.

i love my family and i am incredibly blessed to have parents who put up with all 4 of us for 2 weeks, but the thing is--
2 weeks is a long time to be away from home (especially when you add in the fact that we had only packed clothes for the short trip)!

one thing the last 2 weeks did give me, though, is another story to tell...

if you'll remember, not too long ago the Coast Guard decided that they need to review Nathan's retirement status.
     because, as i mentioned, apparently receiving pay stubs that said "RET" and the retirement newsletter doesn't mean you have been retired...
so, at the end of may we got an email telling us he will need to go to a military nephrologist. of course, the nearest one is on a base in texas...but they said they would reimburse his travel expenses, so while it was a bit of an inconvenience it wasn't a major thing. we figured nathan should have all his medical records for the past 5 years when he went, though, so on the 31st he started down to russellville to pick up his massive file in person.

on the way down there, just south of berryville and at the very beginning of his trip, the car quit.

just stopped.

a call to a family member who runs an automotive repair shop in our hometown and a description of the car's "symptoms" resulted in an over the phone diagnosis of the possibility of a sick fuel pump (okay, i'll let the whole "illness" thing drop now). definitely a kink in our plan, but nothing we couldn't deal with.

the roadside assistance we have as part of our insurance paid for a tow, so it wasn't too long before the car was in a recommended shop in berryville. turns out, a sight-unseen diagnosis of a car works just about as well as a sight-unseen diagnosis for a person--it was the timing belt, not the fuel pump.

well, last summer we spent a whopping $1200 to get our timing belt fixed. turns out it was still under warranty.

at a shop in russellville.

they told us that if we could just get it down there we would only have to pay for labor. still a bunch of money we really can't afford to be paying right now, but worlds better than forking over another 1200 bucks!

after getting the santa fe towed from berryville to russellville ($275) about a day and a half after they said it would be done, we found out that there was a lot more than just the timing belt messed up.

at this point, i'm not going to even pretend to know about cars. i've played around with the equations that describe what's going on in the engine, but i wouldn't have a clue what was going on if i popped the hood. basically, though, they summed it up this way: they had never seen something like that happen in a vehicle and it was a fluke thing.

of course it was. seems like we get a lot of those "flukes."

anyways, pretty much anything that could go wrong did. we were quoted a price of about $2500 to fix it all or $3500 to replace the 154,000 mile motor with one with 50,000.


the shop back home, after telling us we were overcharged last year, found us an engine with 66,000 miles on it that they could put in for approximately $2500.

today, nathan and his dad are making the trip down to russellville to pull the santa fe back up here themselves...prayers for travel safety would be greatly appreciated!

sometimes, all the stuff that happens makes me wonder which side is trying to tell me something. what i mean is this:
are we being attacked because we are heading up to where God wants us and satan is trying to stop us?
or is it God trying to knock it into our heads that we aren't doing what He's called us to do?

in the middle of this mess, though, we are getting a second vehicle--something that will be greatly needed when we move and the 4 of us are all going different directions. the car belonged to some friends of my grandparents and is being sold because the owners both passed away pretty recently. they were both amazing people, and are greatly missed. 

there is a poem about pennies from heaven (you can read it here) that has taken on a special meaning for their family, one i'm not going into because it is their story to share. what i will say, though, is that we found a penny smiling up at us from the inside handle of one of the back doors in the car while we were taking a look at it. for us, that was a pretty good indication that we would be buying the car!

for the moment, all i can do is cling to what i'm finally starting to learn (i guess after 8 years of craziness God is finally getting His message through my thick skull!): God is right here in the middle of the mess with me, and He is the one who will pull me through.

"but i trust in Your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in Your salvation.
i will sing to the LORD,
for He has been good to me."

Parents, step up

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