Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Mountain out of a Mole Hill

Bear with me... It was a long, sleepless night and sorting out my thoughts is proving to be difficult..

As many of you know the live action Beauty and the Beast is revealing a homosexual character, Lefou. Also, as many of you know people are outraged by this. Disney is known to produce family friendly films and they are now supportive of LGBT. Since this has come to people's attention I've noticed a lot of disgust and denial. People are conflicted about whether or not they should go and see the movie. I've been trying to figure out where I stand on the subject myself... Because how I see it: 

We're a bunch of hypocrites.

We will sit down for two hours and watch a movie that is filled with horrible language, language that includes taking the Lords name in vain and we'll think nothing of it. But because Disney is supporting homosexuality it's completely different when it shouldn't be. We should be just as mortified about obscenity in the movies we watch on a daily basis as we are about homosexuality coming up in a Disney movie.

 Proverbs 6:16-19 says:

 "There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17  haughty eyes, lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18  a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19  a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers."

The Lord views lying, swearing, adultery, stealing, murder, coveting, just as sinful as He does sexual immorality. So who are we to throw a tantrum and refuse to watch something when we'll go watch other movies that in Gods eyes are no better.

Do you see where I'm coming from? We need to wake up... We need to stop brushing off the normal, generic sins we've grown accustomed to and view them on the same level as sexual immorality. Becuase the only sin that takes place above all others is blasphemy of the holy spirit, "And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." Matthew 12:32

Prover 6 tells us a few verses later...

"27  Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?

28  Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?"

What we watch affects our hearts. We need to be leery of what may cause us to stumble as Christians. So whether you watch Beauty and the Beast this weekend or you sign a petition, make sure that your reasoning behind it is acceptable and pleasing in Gods sight.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23

Monday, January 2, 2017

Something New

It's been a while.. A whole year in fact. I survived 2016, just in case you were wondering. Some might say it was the worst year yet. Personally I think they need to take a step back and get their head screwed back on straight! I don't think 2016 was the worst year yet, in fact it was the exact opposite.

This is what's happened in my 2016...

January of 2016 I switched over from elementary teaching to attaining a certificate in Medical Assisting. I started taking classes like: Human Biology, Medical Terminology, Filling and Record Keeping, and seeking out acceptance into the MA program at NCMC. It was kinda like culture shock.. Going from English/History/Math based classes to only going to classes in the Science building.

Also in January, Hannah and Tyler announced that they were pregnant! They made us wait two weeks before we were allowed to tell other people which wasn't easy. We quickly found out that Baby Trout was a Little Miss, and our anticipation to meet her grew!

The summer of 2016 went by just as quickly: I started working at the Rocking Horse Toy Co. in May after college got out.
In June, I was able to watch a dear friend of mine say, "I do" to the love of her life!
Sometime around spring  Hannah was put on bed rest, you can follow her story here.

July, I turned 21! Woot Woot! And a day later I started a relationship with Tom, as Mom like's to refer to him as, "the young man that we all like!" I'm still on cloud 9!

August went by quickly, I continued to work at the Rocking Horse and still manage my business in Bay View landscaping. I was accepted in the Medical Assistant program and was able to apply for select classes .

Classes started in September after we walked the bridge on labor day with our friends, Jay and Cindy.

Elise Ann Armantrout was born September 27th, and she looks just like her Daddy, Tyler.
We are all smitten with her and love watching her grow!

The last few months since Elise was born have gone by just as quickly as the rest! Before I knew it classes were drawing to an end and it was time to decorate for Christmas.

Some may say that the events of 2016 were awful. We have a new president, famous actors and actresses passed away, and our country has gone through turmoil. But to me, the events of 2016 were exciting, new, and wonderful.

The difference is perspective, when you don't have the knowledge and hope of Jesus, 2016 is indeed awful. But when you have that hope and the realization that He is the one that holds it all; 2016 doesn't seem so bad.

Remember that Jesus Christ is the one that you need to put your hope in, the God that knows the future of what is to come. We have no need to fear, because we can put our hope and trust in the God that already knows it all.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord." Is 55:8

In Him,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Self Worth

 This has been a topic specifically written for women, has been weighing heavy on my heart. I pray that it comes across clear and precise and that you are able to take something out of it.

    The world has been telling young girls/women that we have to look and act like such in order to stand out and gain a man's attention. And we as women have been listening and paying close attention to what the world is whispering in our ears. I honestly find this kind of ironic because when we dress in the latest styles and act a certain way we aren't catching (the average) man's attention. We're catching other women's attention. From what I've gathered from my brother in law, brother and some of my guy friends, they hardly notice (if at all) if you're wearing the latest shade of lipstick, donning the most recent pair of uggs, or have your hair styled perfectly. I'm not talking about your husband, boyfriend, or fiance; they are important men in your life and they should notice! I'm talking about your average Joe, the guy you walk by in Walmart or in the class hallway.

     First day of classes and I decided to ditch my tall brown boots for my warm bogs. (In case you don't know what they are: picture heavy duty rubber boots that clunk when you walk) As well as pulling on my warm, oversized hoody instead of the original outfit I had planned. I figured warmth was better than dressing,"cute" seeing that we had accumulated two feet of snow in 48 hours. In the first class of the semester the professor likes to make everyone introduce their self. In the 30 seconds of saying my name and sharing a bit about myself I cannot tell you how many young women gave me the up-down. Yet, the men in the class albeit there were only four out of twenty-two just listened and made occasional eye contact. 

     Women are such.. Hypocrites. I know both male and female are but it seems to me that women are incredibly talented at it. And that's coming from me, a young woman myself! Why do we feel like we have to impress the other people around us? What has our outward appearance come to? I'm pointing fingers at myself as much as I am the next girl. I've succumbed to looking and acting the part so much that I don't remember who I am some days. When a woman scrutinizes the way I look it makes me feel like I'm the weakest and most insignificant person around, and yet I turn around and do it to the next girl that walks by.  Why do we do this? Why do we constantly judge, scrutinize, and analyze what other people are doing?

Now, please realize I'm not bashing the women that enjoy noticing what other girls are wearing because I do realize that is a thing.  But if you're obviously going to analyze someones outfit make sure you compliment them! Otherwise the women that is being looked at will wonder whats wrong! I mean seriously if I was going to give you a complete top to bottom-good-long-stare you're going to wonder what's wrong with your hair, whether your shirt is stained, jeans are ripped, etc. and you will dwell on that for a long time. But if I were to look at what you're wearing and then compliment you on some aspect of it you'll float on cloud nine for a couple minutes.

We judge becuase we are insecure and we are insecure becuase we derive our worth from the people around us. We are insecure because we are not trusting, relying, and seeking the one who created our very being. We as women seem to have a hard time accepting who we are. There is always something that we will be complaining about, whether it's a bad hair day, our jeans are, "suddenly" too small, or our conditioner didn't rinse. We are imperfect human beings created by a perfect God. A God that see's you as a precious child and holds you in the palm of his hand. He adores you. Utterly adores you and not just the parts that you actually like. He adores the stretch marks on your thighs, your dimples, the freckles, and scars on your face. Every aspect of your body He loves and adores. If I were to take something that you created and loved and told you everything that was wrong with it you would be crushed. So when we take our bodies and complain, destroy, and hate them it deeply saddens our creator.

It goes hand in hand with how we judge, scrutinize, and belittle a woman for what she looks like/is wearing. We are instructed by God to, "do not judge, or you too will be judge" and not only that we will be judged by God in the, "manner that we judge". So all around we are hurting and causing sorrow to other women and our creator by the actions that we choose. How you view yourself and the way you view others will be taken into account by God, and that isn't something to be taken lightly..

Dear one, stop looking for the affirmations of the world. It will get you nowhere and you'll only end up feeling worthless. Take your worth from Him because He is the only one that will give you the truth.

In Him,

Monday, January 18, 2016

Everyday Life

Much has happened since I last wrote.

Guatemala was incredible, and I cannot wait to go back.

Thanksgiving came and went with a table full of family.

I finished the semester of 19 credits/6 classes, and I'm happy to say I'm still alive.

Christmas was wonderful with time spent with family and friends.

2015 ended.

I changed my degree( ya I know... again)

College started back up this week.

   In the past four weeks as I waited for classes to start up again I was restless and didn't know what to do half the time. With my job being at the college it also meant I had four weeks off work as well. You might say, "4 weeks off and she's complaining about it?!" Well, that is partially true, there were days that I didn't want to do anything but curl up in my bed and sleep, after all I deserved it right? College isn't easy, finals aren't easy, quizzes, tests, exams aren't, "easy". I worked my butt off and still managed to get a couple B's. At the start of break I was determined to only sleep in on Fridays and Saturdays. Monday rolled around and I quickly shut my alarm off and fell back asleep waking up two hours later. I shrugged if off to the 19 credit semester and continued this pattern for the better part of three weeks. In short, I sleep too much. I could try to blame it on the hypothyroidism and how it causes lethargy/depressions/etc but I've done that for far too long. In all honesty I'm not sure what I'm trying to get at. My break was long and had too many days of sleeping in. I got little accomplished and I am still the same Rachel as I was before.

At the beginning of Christmas break I was determined to use the four weeks to become someone that was more happy, cheerful, and over all a better person. I quickly realized on the long cold winter days it was going to take more than just waking up at a decent time, showering, cleaning the house, and staying off Facebook. My lack of productivity after an intense semester was driving me bonkers. It took me far too long to realize that what I needed to pursue was Him and not a myriad of things to keep me busy. I regret not spending those long afternoons wrapped up in His word, learning more about Him... If I had to look back at those three weeks and tell you what I accomplished the list would be short and mainly consist of scrolling through Facebook (don't worry i won't start an anti fb rant in "this" blog).  Once I finally realized that I couldn't derive my joy/happiness/cheerfulness/ etc. on what I did in a day I was able to focus on what was important rather than continuing to complain(though that still happened on occasion, just ask my little sister). 

My point is that the contents of our day should not determine our attitude, but rather how we pursue and talk to Him throughout the day should determine it. When we focus our attention on the creator of that day it builds up our joy.  Long days are rough, and ones that are gloomy and raining/snowing are even worse. But when we look to Him and give Him the day that He created we gain an incredible Joy that only comes from Him. Next time there's a day that you can't seem to get through talk to Him about it, tell Him what's on your heart and mind. He wants nothing more than to be apart of your everyday life.

In Him,

Friday, October 30, 2015

Going Home.

The church van rumbles down the highway, Kimble sleeps in the back seat and Sarah sits contentedly beside me. The 16 year olds chatter back and forth in the front seat, and the not so newly weds take control of the driving. The more, "sophisticated" car follows behind and I sit here with Homors Iliad book 24 on my lap. 

My heart is content, bouncing off the walls, and filled with joy. In less than 30 hours I will be back in Guatemala and holding my little girls in my arms. A year ago I was able to go on a missions trip with Orphans heart and The Lord has let me go back once again. 

To my family and friends that read this thank you for your prayers, blessings, and helping send us out. Please pray that we would be able to show the love of Jesus to the kids and their nannies. That we would truly be His hands and feet to the people of Guatemala. I ask also that you would pray for us a team. Pray that we would each discover God in a whole new way, that we would each fall in love with Him all over again.  Pray that we would let Him change us and grow each team member to grow closer to Him. 

We're taking newbies, experienced travelers, moms, students, teens.. And our team couldn't be more perfect. God allowed each one of us on this trip for a reason. 

So thank you for your prayers in advance and I'm sure I'll have stories to tell when I come back!

In Him, 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fragmented Sentences

I blinked and summer is over. This summer held so many wonderful memories, and it also held memories that I never wanted to come so quickly. Though there is pain and grief I know that my Saviour will bring joy in the morning.

The summer started off after my graduation from North Central Michigan College.  (That was the easy part.) The college allowed me to walk despite the fact that I wouldn't be graduated until the end of summer because I was two credits short. So I enrolled in a summer class to cover those two dreaded credits,and it was probably the most boring and tedious one of them all. "Administrations and Programs  for Early Childhood" Blech, right?

And... I'm still the shortest even with the silly hat!

   So you get the picture. Graduation: Done(sorta). Summer Class: Under Progress. Since the class was online I didn't have to worry with it interfering with my summer job. Though life happened as it always does and I was let go early(like three months early) from my job. Leaving me almost job less at the start of summer. I say almost because I still had a part time job working in Bay View as a personal gardener/landscaper for a lady I met through my job at the Garden Center.

So I was taking an online class that is close to miserable, and now I'm without a source of income. 

    In mid-June Cancer once again struck its head, making me hate the disease even more.  There were days that I just wanted to throw everything away and give up. I didn't have a job, and everything felt like it was crashing down. By my standards I was a failure. Then driving home one day I heard, "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten, and as pathetic as it sounds God used a secular song to get my head back on straight. So getting myself back into gear I advertised my business and ended up with five houses that I worked for in Bay View, and in the end doing financially better than I was at my old job. 
Uncle Dan with my older sister, Hannah in 1994(?)

   Then July 18th happened, two days after my 20th birthday, Uncle Dan passed away to cancer.(I wrote about it here) It came as a shock to us all. Unlike the last death that cancer claimed this time there was a great presence of Gods peace rather than hatred and chaos. Though God gave us peace and we grew closer as a family, though that still didn't make the actual pain of death go away.

   I don't know if you've ever been through the death of a family member but it's a feeling that never goes away. Think of it like sitting on the beach and the waves are lapping at your toes, you're fine for a few moments and then the tide rolls in drenching you in a wave of painful emotions. There are days when that ocean is as still as glass, and other days when there's vast under current threatening to pull you under. The only thing that will help you stand back up and dry off  is letting Jesus hold you close drawing you out of the raging waters and set you back up on your feet.

 After July was over nothing too significant happened in August, we didn't participate in the annual Emmet County Fair due to a sick horse. Before we knew it, it was September we were walking across the mackinaw bridge on Labor Day with our friends, Jay and Cindy.
Assoc. of General Studies

It's now October and I'm taking 18 credits at NCMC. I finally have my diploma!!!! And life is back to my new normal. (Yay, for fragmented sentences!) I still miss my uncle terribly and there are still days when I get caught in the undercurrent of emotions. But this summer isn't one that I would trade for the world. God placed challenges in my life, and He showed me how to rely on his mercies every day. For that I will praise Him and continue to live the life that He blessed me with. 

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;great is thy faithfulness."  Lam 3:22-23

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 18th

    Dad's phone rang this morning at 6am rousing me out of a deep sleep. He didn't answer it in time and 30 seconds later it rang again, this time sounding more urgent. His footsteps thudded down the hallway moving farther out of ear shot with each step. Making out only the words, "Hi Daniel..." I laid in bed wide awake, listening to mom now get out of bed and move down the hallway. "Maybe Uncle Dan has had a miraculous recovery and that's why his son is calling so early.." I knew my thinking was far fetched but I didn't want to believe the real reason behind the phone call. I convinced myself to fall back asleep and woke up three hours later. Doing what everyone these days seems to do in the morning, I reached for my phone and opened up Facebook. Scrolling through my news feed I didn't paying attention to what I was looking at when I heard my Dad down the hallway tell Mom I was still asleep and he'd tell me when I woke up. In that moment I stopped scrolling and looked at my phone. "Pray for the family of Dan Zowada, Tim's brother, he passed away at 5am..." I sat up in shock and stared at my phone.Once again Cancer has struck its head and took one more person out of my life and my family's.

    My Uncle Dan could make anyone laugh. When I was a little girl he could entertain me for hours with his magic tricks (that I still haven't figured out) as well as always beat me in Clue. He'd take me and my sisters for rides in his convertible, letting us sit on the back and wave like princesses as he drove down the dirt road. Sitting in the rocking chair with his eyes closed he'd listen to me play the piano, often singing along in his rich tenor voice. I'd beam when he told me I play beautifully and play one more song just to impress him. Uncle Dan enjoyed playing his harmonica and telling jokes that would send me into a giggling fit after he explained them to me. He was a man that loved his gadgets and would often bring them Up North to show them off. Often resulting in endless hours searching for a remote-controlled helicopter that flew out of range and landed in the swamp down the road. His eyes would light up when he was about to say something silly, and his deep chuckle could make many smile. Apart from being the jokester Uncle Dan was a man of God. I could continue to tell you stories about all the things he's done but I think his relationship with God is the one that is the most important. He believed with all his heart that Jesus was his lord and savior, becuase of this I know that I will see him again. He won't be in pain or have a body filled with a deadly sickness. Maybe he'll be sitting up in heaven doing magic tricks with the angels, and possibly even beat them in Clue. Today is not a day that I am going to dwell on the fact that cancer won. Because ultimately cancer didn't win. My uncle is alive more than he ever has been before, and he gets to spend eternity with our creator. Today is a day that I will thank God for taking him home, and praise His name that I will be able to see my uncle again.