Sanders Family Unabridged Part 22 (March 2016)

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Friday March 4, 2016

A friend contacted last night asking for help for a widow friend of hers that needed her washer fixed. Aaron doesn’t really know anything about appliances, but we figured you can Google anything, so he said he’d give it a whirl. He jiggled a few wires and got it running in no time. The three of us ladies chatted while he did that and I ended up sharing part of our story. The lady wanted to know what she could do to help us and I assured her that prayer is the best thing ever! Aaron let her know that if she ever needed help with anything else to let us know and we’d be more than happy to help her. He told me later that there was no way anything he did fixed that washer because all he did was jiggle a cord and it wasn’t even loose. We’d like to think that God used that situation to introduce us to someone we could help. 🙂

Saturday March 12, 2016

We’ve had a wonderful week of good memories and God moments! I love it when God shows up and you know He sees right where you’re at.

Last Saturday I decided we needed to add a little variety to our life and do something we haven’t done yet, so we went for a hike around Radnor Lake. I chose a lake because I’m feeling a little homesick for all the lakes and rivers we had up in Minnesota/Wisconsin. I miss water!! I figured the kiddos would love an opportunity to be outside in nice weather doing something new. They were big whiny babies! Well, the boys were, Bella was excited to be out. They got over it eventually, but the whining reached it’s peak when it started raining in the middle of the hike. Ha!! The weather was supposed to be nice all day! We didn’t get too wet, just enough to make the walk slightly chilly. There were signs everywhere about the different birds one might see on their hike so Bella became an avid bird watcher the whole time. She had a blast! The boys were eventually suckered in by her enthusiasm, which led to the end of their whining. I think she ended up spotting eight different birds. We went to the library afterwards to charge up our phones and they were having a book sale. That thrilled Bella’s little heart even further! I had intended on writing, but she was so excited to go look through the books, I took her over there instead. She ended up buying 6 books! She’s definitely her momma’s girl! We ended the night by going to Culvers. When we had gone up north over the summer a friend had given us a bunch of coupons for free scoops of custard so the kiddos all enjoyed a yummy treat.

I have been thinking a lot about the change I have felt since talking with the pastors at Grace Center and basically put ourselves under their authority. Nobody likes that phrase “under authority” or “submitting”, I don’t like it either, but there really is something to letting yourself be vulnerable and giving someone the permission, or making room, for them to speak into your life; correction or encouragement. I guess we have never really seen or thought about the blessing that comes from submitting, because our pastors had almost always been our parents. I don’t have an example or anything tangible that has happened since talking with them, it just feels different.

Our new friend texted saying that her washer worked for one cycle and then quit again. She asked if we would mind coming over to take another look at it. Aaron looked at it again, but still not having any knowledge of appliances, couldn’t find anything. We YouTubed all sorts of options but none of them worked. Finally, he told her to try resetting it and if that didn’t work to let us know and we’d be back on Friday with a voltage meter (after we track someone down who has one) to find where the problem is. She called later that afternoon to let us know that resetting it hadn’t worked, so we made plans to go back Friday morning.

I had another book club gathering on Thursday. At our last meeting I had mentioned the fact that I would love to have a taco truck. Only one of the people there had ever had my tacos, so I volunteered to make them for this meeting. I made tacos, refried beans and fideo. It’s always sooo delicious, but it is also sooo stinky and because our meetings go until 9:00 or so, I had no access to a shower, and I had to go to sleep smelling like a fried taco. There are worse things I suppose.

I had asked a friend if her husband had a volt meter that Aaron could borrow. She said he did and she also volunteered her husband to go with Aaron to check out the washer since he wasn’t working that day. The house they were going to was near her house so I texted that morning asking if I could shower at her house, while the guys were out so I wouldn’t have to go to the Rec. center. She said, “Of course!” Yay!! A temperature regulated shower!!! Ha! The guys came back shortly after I was finished and said the motor was shot on the washer and that our friend was going to put an “in search of” add on local garage sale sites. She texted me later that evening and told me that someone had given her a washer for free and would be delivering it next week. Woohoo!!

Monday March 28, 2016

I’m behind in writing again!! Ugh!! Why do I always do that?!?

On Sunday March 13, Alyn Jones spoke about the kindness of God and how there is a piece of us that doesn’t really believe that God is that good. He asked the audience some questions and told us to think about them. How do we live like we believe? how do we live like we expect God’s kindness? At the end of his message he invited anyone that felt like they had excitement or hope about what God could do, but didn’t see how it would happen, to come forward and he would pray for them. Aaron popped right up! He doesn’t normally do that so it took me a moment to comprehend what was going on and then I popped up and followed him. The boys were even slower in comprehension, so they trickled in behind us a few moments later. Pastor Tony came over and prayed with us and then prayed for Aaron specifically. He spoke some things that were spot on to how Aaron had been feeling lately. While he was praying for Aaron a lady came over and prayed with us and then walked away. A few moments later she came back and stood in front of me and took my hand. She had taken a bracelet off of her wrist and was holding it. She told me she wears it because God has done so many miraculous things in her life and she likes to look at that bracelet to remember that. She said that God told her to give me that bracelet because He is going to do the miraculous in my life. She put the bracelet on my wrist and prayed for me. It is amazing how a person can have a wonderful time in prayer and be spoken to by God and in less than an hour be questioning what was said. Things start to be blown off as generic and “anybody looking at us could come up with something like that to say”. We need to determine to take those thoughts captive and remember the connection our spirit felt when those words were first spoken. There is not a special spirit connection every time we are prayed for, so when that connection does happen we need to take those words and cling to them. Even when the doubts start clouding in, we remember those words connected because they were from our Father, just for us.

I met a friend for coffee on the 15th. She said something that has really helped us in interacting with the people in our life. Whenever people have asked us how they can help we have said, “Pray about it and whatever the Lord tell you to do, that’s what you should do.” We further caution them to make sure it’s the Lord and not them trying to “fix” anything for us. My friend told me she thought the last part of that statement throws people off and causes them to second guess whatever is in their heart to do. She said that most people “hear from God” by a feeling that they have, or a thought that just won’t go away, but when we put the disclaimer “make sure it’s the Lord” it makes people unsure of what they’re hearing. She told me that if God wants to send us help through people, He’s big enough to handle it when people help without asking Him first. We don’t need to make it so complicated and cause people to second guess whether they are hearing from God or not. This was great advice and it goes for all situations, not just ours. If someone feels directed to do something to help and it just won’t leave their thoughts or their heart, let them do it. Maybe they need to do it for their walk with God and it actually has nothing to do with you. Do we really think that God isn’t going to do something in our life because someone gave misguided help? I hope not, because I’m pretty sure I’ve been one of the misguided helpers a time or two in my life. Thank you, friend, for speaking so freely and opening our eyes to what we were doing. Love you!!

Aaron, Alex and I went to see Phantom of the Opera at the TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) with Alex’s theater class on the 17th. We had never seen the whole thing before and we loved it!! We had to add a little flavor to the evening, of course. Aaron drove the bus for the group and dropped us off at the front doors. He had been told by the people at the TPAC that there was special bus parking, and there was, for about 4 buses. He ended up having to park about 5 blocks away. No big deal, we had arrived 30 minutes early, but after all his parking search he only had about 10 min to run back to the TPAC to make it to the show. I had to leave his ticket with the attendant, so I could go in and sit down. I didn’t want to be locked out for the first 12 minutes of the show if he didn’t make it back in time. Ha! Yes, I am very compassionate. He made it back in time! BUT, the kiddos had switched seats around so they could sit next to their favorite people (totally can’t blame them, I’d have done the same) so Aaron and I couldn’t find where our seats where and the lights went down for the show to start. Longish story shorter: we ended up standing in the far back for the first half of the play because there were no available seats and we didn’t want the usher walking up and down the aisle with a flashlight trying to find them for us while everyone else was trying to enjoy the show. We were able to work out the seating arrangements for the second half and enjoyed it sitting down. Aaron was a little put off by it all, but I told him that it is just more adventure to our life so it was all good! That, and we both looked really cute that night. How can things be bad when you’re looking good?! Ha!!

We had a great spring break!!! Our original plan was to drive down to Florida to be at the beach for a few days and we were just going to stay in the van. We do that most of the time anyway, so why not do it at the beach!? As much as it sucks sometimes there certainly is a freedom that has come with this crazy life. Not everything has to be perfect, just go out on an adventure!! Live life! Make a memories! Create a story! It turned out that we didn’t stay in the van because a precious friend gave us enough money for gas, hotel and food for our trip. How sweet is that?!? We found two jellyfish, saw dolphins playing in the ocean and had the Blue Angels fly right over our heads. Izzy and I brought back half an ocean’s worth of shells and Aaron and the boys brought back some serious sunburn. After a few days at the beach we went to Illinois to spend Easter with Aaron’s family. He couldn’t do anything for the first two days we were there because his feet were so swollen and burned. He had said he wanted to get some sun. I think he’s an overachiever. Both of Aaron’s grandmas were able to come over on Saturday to have an early Easter meal. Grandma Sanders is doing great! She even went for a ride in ATV around the property, so she could see what’s been going on since she’s been away.

Wednesday March 30, 2016

After a wonderful time away together and weeks and weeks of feeling hopeful and that God can do anything…I had a HORRIBLE day yesterday. Bleh! Bleh, bleh, bleh. It was a bunch of little things that only happen because we’re living in a stupid van that all piled together and broke my brain. I won’t list all of them because I know they’re stupid little things, but ugh! HOW MUCH LONGER IS GOD GOING TO KEEP SAYING “Wait.”????? AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! <—- Insert cartoon image of me running around crazed and senseless with my hair flying everywhere. I used the only weapon I had: sleep. I couldn’t keep my brain focused to think of anything good. Even while listening to music (which normally helps), or reading my Bible, or a devotional (which usually helps) I only had snarky comments popping up in my mind when I’d hear or read certain phrases. Therefore, sleep was a must if I wanted the rest of my family to survive the day. I curled up in the back of the van and slept for about an hour and a half while Aaron went into the library. Because this faith walk is an entire family decision, I asked the kiddos how they were doing when they got home from school. I was hoping at least one of them would be done with it all so we could talk about Aaron getting a corporate job again and just be “normal”. I asked each of them, “What would you do right now if you were the daddy or the momma?” This time was a little different than previous talks. Alex thought we should at least explore job opportunities to see if anything opens up because he is sick and tired of the van. He doesn’t mind not having a lot of money, he just wants a place to shower, eat, sleep and have friends over. Jack thinks we should explore job opportunities because he wants to have a little bit of extra money to get nice clothes and do things with friends. He actually doesn’t mind the van too much; “the shower thing gets annoying, but other than that it’s really not too bad.” Max says we need to just keep waiting for God to tell us what to do next. If He is still saying “wait” then we need to keep waiting. He doesn’t think the van is that bad either. Bella says we need to wait for God, but she hopes He says something soon because “everybody keeps growing and pretty soon there is not going to be any room at all!” Great. Now what? Our family agreement was that we would all stay in agreement and we’re not all in agreement! Aaron and I talked about him contacting his former boss to see if there were any remote positions available. We mentioned this to the kiddos and their first reaction was horror. They thought we meant we were moving back up north. They said “absolutely not!” to that because they love their schools and their friends and they said it “just feels right here.” We explained that it would be a remote job and that we weren’t trying to make anything happen, but if something opened up we’d probably move forward with it. They were all ok with that, but said if anything did open up they’d want to pray about it as a family to make sure it’s what we should do. There ya go. Not the greatest way to end March, but hey, real life, people, real life. I have absolutely no judgment on the children of Israel, anyone else in the Bible or modern times that tries to help hurry along God’s promises and plans. He takes a really reeeeeeally long time. Another C.S. Lewis quote we love to say is from The Chronicles of Narnia where Aslan responds to Lucy’s question of “What do you call soon?” and he says, “I call all time soon.” Yep, that’s God. All time is soon. And for us all time is not soon enough.

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Author: Jen Sanders

I'm the wife of a gorgeous hunk of man named Aaron and momma of 4 beautiful offspring that occasionally make me want to pull my hair out. My life goal is to be like Jesus.

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