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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas


We just wanted to stop back in to wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!!  We pray that you've been able to feel His peace this season and if that hasn't been the case, that you will be able to do so from here on out.

This year, we've been forced to step way back and really grab hold of what this season is truly about;  the gift of life, freedom and salvation that came to us in swaddling clothes all those years ago.  But those gifts are just as relevent today as they were then.  His gifts are renewed each and every day and we find ourselves daily thanking Him for His many gifts this season.

The love, prayers and gifts of generous friends have deeply touched our hearts and have made us very proud and honored to be a part of such a wonderful family.  We are looking forward to the New Year with excitement and anticipation as we watch and wait to see how Jesus will manifest Himself in our lives.  We know that He is doing a new thing in our family and we are giddy with expectation <3

Our love and prayers go out to each of you, that you will seek and find Him, that you will cast all of your cares at His feet and that you will join us as we watch the night sky and celebrate the New Born King <3


*Lorraine & Bill
Jessica, Joe, Jaysen & Julia

Monday, December 12, 2011

Part 3 and counting

So we are finally up to date with this journey.  It isn't over by a long shot, I'm sure.  God is always working, always moving and we are standing firm on His promises.  We are coveting prayers; peace, understanding, direction, strength, focus, steady job, full pay, etc.  We are trying hard to be excited about what God is going to do.  His promises are fully wonderful and that's where we are standing.

Going Off the Deep End
November 21, 2011

It's Thanksgiving week.  It's month 10 on the new Richie Calendar.  It's week 40 on the you still get a paycheck calendar and then you don't anymore.  It's honestly been pretty easy, okay a few times here and there I wrestled with some emotion, but it was more the "it's exhausting holding onto the truth and goodness" kind of emotion, not the "oh my goodness we're going to sink" kind.  I am SO thankful for that!!!!
But here's the interesting thing.  We've been sitting in the shallow end of the pool.  You know the pools at the fancy resorts where you can lazily walk down into the deep end, or you can sit and rest in the warm sunshine and shallow water if you'd like.  The shallow end, yep that's where we've been hanging for the past 10 months.  Now my friends, we're standing on the diving board, no not the low dive, the high dive and the water....it's DEEEEEEEEP! 


Our choice is the same as it was 10 months ago, we can look at our situation and fret about what appears to be coming, or we can stand firm on the Word of the Lord and proclaim that no matter what we see in front of us we know, We KNOW that God is in control and that HE is GOOD All the TIME!!  Since I'm already quite exhausted, I'm going to choose the latter.  I know that one of two things will happen.  God will either catch us before we hit the water or He'll be waiting on the surface, for the moment where we explode up out of the water, flailing our arms like crazy, gasping for air.  He will be there, He will be our air, He will be our refuge, our rescue, our life perserver.

There are two other things that have to take place.  We MUST give THANKS. 
*   "Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives."  -Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts 
*   "Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20)
And we MUST simply GIVE.
Websters New World Dictionary says this about the word give:
1.  to make a gift of 2. to hand over 3. to hand over in or for payment 4. to pass (regards) along
there are 13 definitions of the word....my favorite it number 8 to devote or sacrifice

What does that mean or what does that look like?  Well in the easiest terms it is to give something to someone else.  That could be as simple as a compliment (which when you are focused on yourself or your problems isn't so easy) or on a larger scale to give something of greater sacrifice, like a portion of your money to help someone in need.  In one aspect I am challenged to give to those in need even though I could be soon be considered "one in need".  We wrestle through that...how to give what you don't necessarily have. (They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:43-44)
In another aspect, giving Thanks to God in the midst of our situation is also a sacrifice.  It would be easier to not give thanks, to look around and miss the things that we take for granted, to feel selfish and maybe stomp our feet a little and say...."poor us!!!  we have no job, how will we survive, it's not fair, we have children to feed and bills to pay...and boo.hoo.hoo"  So we choose to look in the other direction daily and continually give thanks, to see the gifts and to blindly trust....well that's faith! (sometimes that's a minute by minute, even second by second choice - it's not been easy...it's getting easier though, as we choose truth we really have no choice but to trust and give thanks)

As we stand on the edge of that high dive, we stand on faith.  As we grab eachother's hand to pray, we hold faith.  As we give thanks inspite of ourselves, our situation.....we breath and speak  faith.  You could even say that is our new address: 
Bill and Lorraine Richie
Faith Road

That is where we reside
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:1-3

giving thanks
#40 Reminders that I'm NOT in control
#41 Hope in someOne bigger than I am
#45 Life that goes on
#54 Knowing your goodness in ALL things
#67 Opportunities to grow
#89 Learning together
#90 Gifts to count
#91 A Gracious God

Friday, December 9, 2011

Part 2 - Backstory

Between February and October, we had a handful of possible opportunities, none of them panned out in the way that we had hoped.  Here is the second time that I wrote about our situation and how God was speaking to me.

Another Level
October 10, 2011

So about 7 months ago I shared a note regarding my husbands unemployment.  7 months!!!!  I can't believe that it's been 7 months.  From the moment that he shared the news with me I've been holding on tightly to God, in hope, faith, and trust.  I've proclaimed that God will bring the right job at the right time, and I still believe that.  But something is beginning to change, has changed in that line of thinking.

Bill has had a handful of interviews, most of which have been typical job positions, meaning, the type that we would expect.  They've gone well, he's even had a second interview here and there.  But none of them have grown into anything.  Disappointing?  Yes!  Discouraging?  No!  I've continued to pray and wait for the "right job" that God has.  And then he gets a phone call from a source that he did not search out.  It was an unexpected call, from an unexpected source. And now a second opportunity for an unexpected position.....it's crazy-weird!!!!

Through my eyes, these job opps. don't make the least bit of sense.  From what I can see, there's no way that this could ever work out!!  But what I'm beginning to realize is that I've put certain expectations on what I believe God will do or rather should do.  I've given Him my list of criteria for what I think He should provide for my family.  It's funny to realize that I've been doing this - I really didn't know!  It's embarrassing to see it written out in text!  But I have to get it out and get rid of the thinking behind it - so I share.

First of all, who am I to tell God what to do??  What right minded Christian would even dare to do that right?  Well, I imagine there's a lot of us out there that don't even realize that we are doing it.  It has to be in "this location", it must fit between "these hours", it's got to have "this pay scale".  If we dont' get "this pay" then "this and that will not be able to take place"  He must hold "this job title", we must keep the house, not move, not settle.  It has to fit into this block or things will fall apart!!!  You get the picture.

Second of all, why on God's green earth would I even want to tell the One that created the green earth what to do?  Certainly He's proved His ability to handle things on His own, I mean look around!!!  We are surrounded with gifts that are beyond our perception of what perfect is.  The sunset, the mountains, the flowers, and His best creation, humankind.  The work that He's set forth is flawless.  And of course, sin set in and we've been messing up His work ever since!

If I truly believe that God is good, wouldn't that pertain to the times that things don't make any sense to me and my limited view?  I want so desperately to see God the way He intends me to see Him, but in order for that to happen, I must allow God to remove the layers of "self" from my being.  It hurts, it's ugly, at times, it can be embarrassing.  It's most definitely humbling and scarey.  But I must remind myself of His truths and promises.  I have to check and recheck the things that I claim to believe.  I can't keep viewing God in the way that I want to view Him, but I must begin to view Him as the truth that He is.

Some unexpected job opportunities have come up this week.  They weren't even close to being on our list, they don't make one bit of earthly sense and maybe this is just an opportunity for Bill and I to change our way of viewing God and go a little deeper in our faith.  Whatever the outcome, I know that God is good, He love us more than any other being that He created and the outcome will be beyond what we could have ever dreamed up in our measly little brains.  His ways are perfect and why would I want to mess with that??

Prayers are appreciated for discernment, wisdom, trust, and continued growth.  I believe that if we get those down, the rest will somewhat fall into place, okay, well maybe not fall into place.....but God will certainly do what He sees fit to do for us...and that is number one on our new list.

*Lorraine 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Background

I don't feel like I can move forward with this blog until I give you a little history on where I've come from. Everything that I am experiencing and learning now has everything to do with a situation that occured last January.

My husband came home from work and dropped the news that he had been let go.  To date, he is still unemployed. 

I've written about the experience on facebook in the notes section and I'd like to share those with you over the next few days.  God has been so incredibly gracious during these months and though the sky is getting darker, I know that He will carry us through.


I hope that you are touched by our story, by the way that God has carried us through to this point and that you'll come away knowing that He cares as deeply for you and your pains as well.

We Are Not In Control
February 11, 2011
We think that we are, in control, that is.  Think about it, we set our clocks for when we want or need to start our day.  We choose, for the most part, what our day will be filled with, what we wear, what we eat, who we talk to, etc.  Our gig can last for quite a while too, running smoothly with seemingly no interference.  We get proud and cocky like nothing can knock us off of our self-made pedestal...we even go as far as proclaiming our invincibility to others.

And then the moment comes, it's different for everyone, that moment that tells you what you believed was true - simply isn't.  You are not in control, sure there are some aspects of your day, your life, that you can control.  But somewhere along the way those small aspects grow into much larger ones and pretty soon you think you control everything.  But you don't.

The evening in November when I pulled up in front of where my parents were staying and an ambulance pulled up behind me was on of those "waking-up" moments.  Where I realized that my ability to control is not as great as I thought.  My father was in between heart attacks at that moment, unbeknownst to me.  I was rushed into the house by my husband to find my dad laying on the couch, holding his chest and looking very pale.  He no sooner got the words out of his mouth "I'm having a heart attack" and the EMT's were rushing in behind me.

The rest was a blur of activity and as you all know, he's alive and well.  Well, I'm not sure that "well" is completely true.  He seemed to be doing much better after that, but just this week he woke up to an ear full of blood, he's been very achy and looking pale again.  We found out that his eardrum ruptured and his blood pressure was ridiculously low....he's on antibiotics now.  But you wonder, what's next?

In the midst of that, my Grandmother, who is 92, continues to struggle with Alzheimers, a small hint of Parkinsons, and a bag of other small problems that when added up is quite a heavy load.  Her brother, my great uncle, has been diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage.  My grandmom knows that something is wrong but can't remember what it is.  Ther are other issues within my family that my loved ones are dealing with.  Things that dear friends are working through.  All reminders of the fact that we are not in control.

So you would think, with all of the reminders, the blinding light screaming "you are not in control", that i would get it.  That I would live fully realzing that I am not in control.  That there is One though, who is.  One who has set the sun and moon and planets in motion, who told the stars where to hang and when to shine, One who has a plan for all of my days and who knew me while I was still forming in my mothers womb.

But no, I don't.  I still wake up, feeling like I am in control and failing at that control no less.  Anyway, I've continued to live this lie, this thought, this un-truth and then one day.....Wednesday, January 26th, to be completely exact...probably around 6:00 that evening, things began to change.  I was, ever so gently, reminded, in a much bigger way that I, we, are certainly not in control.

I watched out the window as Bill pulled into the drive way from work.  I opened the front door for him and greeted him with a very cheesey, Hi Honeyyyyy, how was your dayyyy : )  Big kiss and closed the door behind him.  He half laughed, put his bags down and invited me upstairs.  Hmmmmm, I'm in the middle of unloading the dishwasher, and didn't really want to be bothered with whatever his reason was for inviting me upstairs.  I don't really remember what his response was to my trying to get out of whatever "it" was but I followed him up to our bedroom.  He closed the door behind me and I sat on my side of the bed and he sat on the foot board.

I don't remember the order that the words came out of his mouth, but I do remember feeling a very heavy weight fall upon me and taking in the words "At 3:00 today Frank, (his boss) pulled him into a meeting and he was let go.  You know how in the movies, in those moments how everything around the person either stops all together or slowly swirls and all the focus is on the subject?  It was kind of like that....my jaw dropped, my eyes leaked and I tried to process what he was saying.

As I was being introduced to these emotions, I clearly felt the hand of God grab my shoulder and pull my attention away from the "pit" of fear, confusion and panic and redirect my gaze upon Him...the One who is in control!!  I quickly worked through the remaining tears and gazed upon the face of faith, hope and trust.  The only way that I can explain the ability to not freak out is that my hope and trust is deeply rooted in the God that loves me, that created me, the God that has great plans for my life (jeremiah 29:11)

I don't know what those exact plans are that God has for my life, but I do know that they are plans to prosper, they are good and they will ultimately serve His kingdom.  I also know that believing in God and His plans for my life doesn't mean that trouble and trials won't come my way.  In this life you shall have trouble......but He has overcome and through Him, I too am an overcomer.

This is a daily, moment to moment choice - for at any given moment I could very easily turn to what my nature knows as truth, and panic...but my spirit knows that that is not truth and my truth is that God loves me and my strength MUST come from Him.

There are so many of you who are daily going through trials, struggles...you question why?  You want to give up and walk away.  There are many times that I too react in that way, I tire of the fight and just want to rest.  But the rest that those actions lead to, in fact do not bring rest.  There is only One who can truly offer the rest that your heart desires, One who also created you and knew you before you took your first breath of air.  One who has great plans for your life as well, if only you would turn from the lies and seek His face.  Jesus Christ, the one who laid His life down for yours.

There are many of you who draw from the same source of hope and grace as I do, but maybe your knees are weak from the fight.  Remember where your strength comes from and Who you can get that rest from..Come unto me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.

I pray that this will be an encouragement to you no matter where you are.  I do not choose God's peace over panic easily, it's something that I am learning.  It is not by my own strength that I do it and many times I fail miserably.  But He picks me up and sets me on my feet again and I start over.  And believe me, I've had plenty of opportunity to learn.  Life looks pretty and easy in the pictures, but I carry the scars of struggles and trials, some have been pretty big (like this new unemployment) and some have been much smaller - but they've all been struggles none-the-less and they've all been opportunities to work out my faith.

Bill continues to work until the 24th, he has had a few contacts and possibilites for new employment already.  We remain hopeful and thankful for his friend and boss that continues to fight for him

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Phil. 4:13



God bless * Lorraine