wow, things have been crazy here at Further Up and Further In HQ (headquarters)...so busy that i haven't updated this thing in almost a month!
i'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything going on in my life, but God continues to give me grace just the same
first, being away from Paul is just as hard today as it was the first day he left...i think about my sweetheart 24/7, and pray for him without ceasing...i still cry, especially at night, because that is when i miss him most...i hate going to bed alone :( BUT, we get to talk almost every day, although there are some weeks we go 2-3 days without talking, and those are the hardest...somehow i love him more now than the day we were married, and my love for him continues to grow as though he were here...it amazes me...but i give the glory to God for that, because on the days i feel the emptiest, i recieve the most love from Him, and more love for Paul pours in as well...AND, our 1 year anniversary is this coming Sunday!!! can't believe that...
oh, and in honor of my sweet hubby who is 1/8 Irish (his maternal great-grandparents were full Irish), HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!
second, seminary classes are causing me to stay up all hours of the night just to finish classwork and papers and reading that is due...however, i will FOR SURE be graduating in December!!! halleluiah, never thought this day would come...and Paul should be home in time to see me walk :) i'm going up to KY for one last time until then, this weekend actually, to take a 2-day seminar class on ministering to children of divorce...should be good!
third, my soap business is growing like crazy...i had several large orders this week, 1 order for 51 soaps, 1 order for 31 soaps, and another order for 30 soaps! thankfully 2 of those orders don't need to be filled right away...needless to say, God is helping me find the time to do this, although i don't know how...i'm going to expand soon and my "crew" and i will start making Dead Sea Bath Salts, along with the soaps! the actual salt comes straight from Israel, will be all natural, and will also be available in the same scents as the soap...if you haven't done so yet, head on over to www.rbsoapcompany.etsy.com and check it out!!! many of my customers have already told me that these soaps have cured different skin problems (and i believe them...the Oatmeal and Milk cured the rosacia on my own upper arms!)...so don't be daunted by the price, they last a long time and are totally worth it!
fourth, i am now the "official" unofficial (meaning i'm not hired to do it) youth pastor/leader for the church i grew up in...this has been interesting to say the least, and a total joy at the same time...i had no idea how badly a good youth program was needed here, but there was literally nothing in place (there wasn't a youth group when i was there either)...so i'm basically starting from scratch...however, God is providing financially, spiritually, and in so many ways! i've started a youth worship service (called Watchnight, after Wesley's Saturday night worship celebration early on in his ministry), and we have 2 trips planned for this summer, 1 fun trip to see The Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, and another mission trip to build houses for the poor with hundreds of other kids at an event called The Weekend of the Cross! please pray that i can reach these kids for Christ, and that God would give me to tools to do so!!! thanks :)
and last, but definitely not least, Paul and i are starting to look at/pray about mission agencies...its still going to be about another 4 years after December before we can actually go, but we want to start getting involved immediately, perhaps visiting a few places next summer sometime...we are specifically looking at Peru...Paul lived there for several months as a missionary, and God has truly placed this country on my heart in the past month or so...i keep having dreams about it and can't stop looking at his pictures from his time there...however, we have a heart for all of Central/Latin America, so who knows except God where we'll end up! prayers are appreciated for that as well
well, thats about all of an update i can give you all right now, but let me leave you with this awesome reading that i read last night in my devotional by Oswald Chambers (the second one of his, called Devotions for a Deeper Life)...it speaks so much to my current situations and my future:
"God demands separation. Sometimes He wants us to separate ourselves from what we consider a good set of circumstances. That is exactly what He did with Abraham.
Jesus demands that we have freedom in Him by becoming detached from a particular set of opinions, from the way we look at things on the basis of our upbringing, and from our own ideals and ambitions. Jesus requires separation from the most sacred of relationships. The most loving eyes that look on you will never understand. The tenderest hand that ever caressed you will not understand. Yet consecration to Christ entails this kind of separation.
Does this mean, then, that I must leave my country, my home, everything, just to prove my love to Jesus? No, that is not what Christianity is about. It may mean staying in your country. And this may require more sacrifice than leaving."
"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." ~ Hebrews 11:8-10