Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Spirit Rejoices

"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." Luke 1:46-47
 

"Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a life time..."

Last night, after the girls went to bed,...I found myself  flipping through photos of the past year. Funny thing happened. What started out as a humorously random moment in time, turned into a spirit filled moment of continuous joy.
This past year, like every year, is a sum of the good, the bad, and the ugly. And in my humble opinion, the goulash of our everyday is absolutely beautiful. Our family, like yours...is not perfect. Nowhere near it. Actually, miles away from it. The Pasquel's are in constant need of grace and mercy:
-We fight
-We yell
-We cry
-We make up
-We do it all over again

And then there's the condition of our hearts:
-We're selfish (especially me)
-We're impatient
-We're envious
-We're prideful
-We're unsatisfied
-We're wanting more!

As I write each ugly virtue about us, albeit vague, I can think of several specific moments in the past week that make me cringe. Spiritually, we suck.

And right now, although this is nothing to be proud of (and trust me, I'm not, its the constant source of my pain)...I find myself smiling. I'm smiling...and my spirit rejoices because my God is Savior! And again, continuing in my moment of joy, I am reminded that "there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not repent."

The Pasquels are sinners. Pia is. Hannah too. Sarah...ditto. And I feel like I'm leading the league in sinning percentage. We are sinners...and we make it look easy. But man, if heaven can rejoice over us...despite of us...well,
I have no choice but to rejoice!!!!!... "God My Savior" says that "it is by grace [we] have been saved, through faith-and this is not from [ourselves], it is the gift of God."

I suck. We suck. But God loves us regardless. He pours His grace over us. Daily. And for this, my soul glorifies Jesus and my heart overflows with joy. This past year has been a daily collection of moments. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My family is not perfect, but through grace...they are beautiful.
So...more on moments and memories. The remainder of this post is some of my favorite moments of this past year (some already shown above, like Hannah's sweet letter to Pia.). Hope you enjoy:
Shaving Oliver!
Ice climbing in Ouray
This crazy little girl!
More Oliver
Jeremy and I hanging/climbing at "The Red" in KY this year
Enjoying yummy dinners on climbing trips
 Spring Breaking with friends
Crazy little girls.
Passing on my passions to my family
Meeting my "real" brother in law..."BENNY" for the first time
Spending a day with the guys, relaxing, goofing, and laughing at each other
Reimerstock...nuff said
Cousins
Teaching
Exploring
Friends!
New goals, new challenges...good attitudes.
Adventure
Wonder
Boldness...or Stupidity. Can be the same.
Asian tourists
Buzzed moments
 Trying new things 
Steeler football with my dad
Good Beer!
Mind over Matter
Proudest Climb of the Year
Sisters
Parenthood/Family
Marriage
 
Ok...2015...here we go.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Fall 2014

Spent a few days in the beautiful Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas. Asked the Lord to prepare my heart, to hear Him, and to prepare a message for me. In return, I heard nothing. Spiritually...I wasn't led one way or another. Several times throughout the weekend, I tried my best to have a "quiet moment"...even a quick moment to reflect on something spiritual. I was needing a metaphor...a parable...or something to get my inner Jesus going. I mean, it is fall, there are beautiful colors all around, it's harvest time, the air is crisp and cool, Thanksgiving is around the corner...surely I will find truth about the seasons of life, or spiritual growth, or rebirth, or blah, blah, blah...But yeah, still nothing...

In regards to a message, I left empty handed. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the time...and it was full. The weather was perfect, the foliage even better, and our time with the Hendrixes was excellent. But there would be nothing spiritually to learn or apply from this trip.
...and that's ok. Right? Its ok to be still...its ok to just enjoy...its ok to just soak it all in, and think about nothing. My mind was empty, but my heart was very full. There were no thoughts racing, no worries to contemplate, no plans to make. I was just simply living in the moment, enjoying my friends, my girls, and my wife. I enjoyed my coffee, my beer, my food, the sun, the trees, the dirt, the sky, etc, etc, etc. It was a simple weekend, with simple thoughts. Nothing heavy...no burdens. And though part of me feels a bit guilty for having a guilty pleasure, worry free weekend...I think I'm ok with not having much spiritually to show for it. Is that bad? I hope not...because that makes me a real bad person!
So after I returned from the trip, I gave up on using this weekend for a "greater good", or honoring the Lord with others through this blog and moved on to my "normal" week. And in return, the Lord reminded me that sometimes (really, all the time), I just need to use His Word...and His Truth to share with others. Although I typically share my perspective on Him, there is nothing...nothing better than scripture to reveal who Jesus is and how I feel about Him.
So I'm very thankful I don't have a message, and even more thankful that Jesus always has a message for you. So this is what I've read since returning:
-"For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy." Psalm 92:4
-"Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!" Psalm 95:2
-"Truly my soul finds rest in God" Psalm 62:1
-"He has made everything beautiful in it's time." Ecclesiastes 3:11
-"I am the true vine, and my father the Gardner." John 15:1
-"Thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere." 2 Corinthians 2:14
-"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Lamentations 3:22-23
 What: Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, Ozarks, Buffalo National River
When: November 8,9, 2014
Who: Hendrixes and Pasquels