Monday, December 30, 2013

If only there were someone...

I'm making my way through the Old Testament. A journey I began last January. I eagerly read the stories in Genesis and Exodus. Made my way through Leviticus-Deuteronomy with eyebrows raised and eyelids heavy. Took a reprieve by reading the Psalms. Made my way back through Joshua and Judges. Did a bible study in Ruth. Fought some wars, got lost in some drama and learned to worship in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. Found hope in Ezra and Nehemiah. Relished my time in Esther. And now I'm in Job. 

I'm really feeling for the guy. Really.

He was a good guy. Upstanding. Dedicated. Successful. 

And then he lost it all. 

Except for his wife...who tells him to curse God and die. 

And his friends...who tell him he must have done something wrong, evil, sinful... 

This weekend I dug into chapter 9. Painful praise. Acknowledging God's power, while wondering why the Creator of the universe is against him. 

My heart is breaking for Job. I just want to give him a hug. 

And then I come across a little verse (Job 9:33) that I'd never discovered before. One that causes excitement. Gratitude. Praise. Worship. Wow. Chill bumps. I'll cushion it between other verses for context. Jump in with me:

God is not a man like me that I might answer him.
That we might confront each other in court.

If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,
to lay his hand upon us both,

someone to remove God's rod from me, 
so that his terror would frighten me no more,

Then I would speak without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

Did you catch that? Job is alone. He feels God is against him. That God's fury is like a lighting bolt straight to Job. And, in utter distress, he only wishes he could have a mediator. Someone to help him understand God. Someone to speak to God on Job's behalf and Job on God's behalf. Someone to remove the pain. 

Wow. Do I take Jesus for granted or what! Right there in the midst of unbelievable pain, Job cries out for a Savior, a Counselor. He cries out for God with us. He cries out for the very Person we can cry to. 

What an amazing blessing! What an amazing reminder! No matter what you're going through - you don't have to go through it alone.

 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
 1 Timothy 2:5

Friday, December 27, 2013

This Christmas

I love Christmastime. Celebrating life in Christ. Celebrating family and food and all of our blessings.
 And this Christmas was especially blessed.

 The Christmas season, to me, kicks off with a beach black-Friday shopping trip with my mom and ends with the Bauer's annual Christmas party - a time of food, laughter and games with my best friends. Derrick and I are blessed with abundant lives, and a busy Christmas season. 

It officially started with Derrick's work Christmas party. A great excuse to dress up, and my husband was looking especially handsome! We had a great night of fellowship with his coworkers and our church family.

 The next day was my Campbell Christmas party. We had an ugly sweater contest...but I decided to channel Cindy-Lou Who instead.

That night we had a Christmas party with our amazing small group. 


 The weekend was full of celebration with Derrick's mom's mom and my mom's mom and all the family. 

Christmas Eve is always spent hanging out with Derrick's family - complete with Jesus' birthday cake, lively readings of the Christmas story (Luke 2), presents and games. 

On Christmas Eve, Derrick and I always watch The Grinch and have a sleepover in the living room...and then wake up on Christmas morning and open our stockings! 
It's amazing the things you get excited about when you become an adult :) This year I was so pumped to get socks...and a steamer (from my mom-in-law)...and a bucket full of house needs (from my mom)...and Clue (from the hubby)...and tons of Jesus books and giftcards and toiletries (from everyone).

 Christmas morning at my parents is still one of my favorite Christmas moments. A Christmas Story in the background, presents all over the living room, and everyone together.

And, of course, Johnson Christmas wouldn't be complete without the epic scavenger hunt.

 Next, it's Christmas at Mama's. This year was so special. Almost everyone was there together and in great spirits. And I LOVE seeing my dad, aunt and mama laugh until they cry. 

To end the day, Derrick and I head over to do the Greens' Christmas! Complete with balloon messages to heaven and yummy food (a theme at Christmas time).

 Another thing I'm loving is Derrick and my new hobby. It was his obsession first, but I'm quickly jumping on board...

Board games. He got 10 for Christmas. So we spent the quiet moments surrounding all the festivities at home playing lots of games.

Tomorrow is the Bauer's Christmas party, and I'm looking forward to catching up with my beautiful best friends. 

I hope your Christmas was as blessed and abundant as ours!

Merry Christmas from the Greens!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our first Christmas

Holy 3 months, Batman! I have missed writing - but life happens. And we've had a lot of life happening lately. Sometimes living life takes precedent over writing about it. But, for today at least, I'm back.

The other night I was driving home from work, thinking about how full my life is right now. Happy and blessed. How it's my favorite time of year.


 And it made me reflect on Derrick and my first married Christmas.

He had just taken a job at HHGregg. His first week there was Thanksgiving and, while I was out shopping with my mom, my sweet husband was working an all-nighter, dealing with crowds of crazies - two things he's not good with.

That season - from November to February - of him working at HHGregg was a difficult time, but we didn't know it. I remember sitting in the living room watching tv, my eyes fighting sleep, leftovers in the microwave, waiting for him to get home some time between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m. I'm pretty sure dinners of cheap oven pizzas and pigs in a blanket were staples.
Thank God I've evolved as a wife and nutritionist!

Derrick had to work until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. I remember putting dirt up against our house by myself that day, so that grass would grow in the spring - because my dad said we needed to do that to keep water from washing out around the house. I guess I just needed something productive to do. It's a good, silly memory now.

Derrick was also scheduled to work all day on the night of our best friends' first Christmas party - but he surprised me when he took off to be my date. His hard work and sweet heart meant so much and mean even more looking back now.

But those are happy memories now, and they make me appreciate where we are now.
There were many other happy memories that year too. 

 It was the first time we put on Elf and decorated the tree together. 

The first time we had a sleepover next to the fire place in the living room on Christmas Eve.

 It was the year that Derrick flew a remote controlled airplane in my hair.

The year we made a "Happy Jesus" cake.

The year my brother got the biggest knife ever from my Mama.

 The year my sweet husband made me cry with his sweet hand-written Christmas note.

It was the perfect first Christmas. And I look forward to many many more crazy-perfect Christmases. 

So no matter what this season holds for you - make sure to cherish all the good times, learn from the not-so-good times and memorize each moment.