Monday, October 31, 2011

Here We Go! Ooor not. (Quick Update this time :)

Well, we are staying in the U.S.

Seoul was not "a temporary place of tabernacle-ing" for us. We got an email back this morning from the school, and they are no longer able to accommodate married tutors with dependents. Felt like there was a lot of build up for this one, an interview and everything, but twas not to be. It was an exciting opportunity that would have solved a lot of immediate wonderings, so in that regard we are disappointed. But in another, it is an answered prayer! God said Nope.

Colorado looks that much closer, now that we know we will not be heading overseas for a year. I must say, I am slightly relieved to not have to gear up for leaping into another country at short notice, a little bummed at an adventure not to be had, but relieved just the same.

Not sure what is next exactly (aside from selling our house, packing our belongings and moving across the country...) in terms of "the next step," but we know that God is already there, preparing and providing the way. He IS the Way. We must always keep sight of that.

I can't tell you how much it means to us that you are following along on our journey. Thank you so much for your interest and your prayers and your words of encouragement! You all mean so much to us.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Great Adventure. Part 4ish?

I am so behind. By now, anyone who cares has probably heard the complete tale of all that is going on thus far in our Great Adventure. I will try to be brief and bring its written form up to date in ONE last blog post. Please restrain your skeptical chuckles. I am determined. The farther away from the details I get, the more foggy they become, so I need to catch up!

This story is so very long already, but it needs to be remembered in all of its details. This is the biggest journey of faith, so far, that the Lord has led our little family on. I don't want it to become a vague "It was really hard, but God was faithful and said some good things so we knew where He was leading." I wish I knew more of what my own parents struggled with in their faith years and years ago. I want to know more about what shaped their character into the godly examples that they are today. I want to know more about Who God was to them on their journeys. I want to be able to show Leilani and any other little ones the Lord gives us, exactly what happened. I don't want our faith to be something vague and impersonal to them. I want them to have concrete examples of the Lord's faithfulness and how He works in our lives.

So where was I?

Through His Kindness.

I have realized recently that I do not fully understand or grasp the full extent of God's love and grace in my life. I rambled at length about what He has been teaching me a post or two ago. I know that I will never be able to fully grasp the enormity of His love and grace, but I feel that I have at last begun to understand it more deeply than I ever have before.

Last Sabbath during the sermon, Ephesians 2:1-9 was read. I have often read this passage myself. It contains one of the most fundamental principles for salvation, that being, "It is by grace you have been saved." I am very familiar with it, but a verse in particular jumped out at me last week and caught my ear and understanding in a new way.
"All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."

"Why is God so good to me? Why does He continue to bless me beyond what I deserve or even appreciate?" He is showing me the incomparable riches of His grace, through His Kindness. His overwhelming goodness to me is how He is showing me His Grace. 

 I over think and over-churn my ponderings. It is like that icecream that is "Double Churned" and yet annoyingly has half the fat. Eventually, I come up with a version of understanding something, its like a "put this into your own words assignment" that got a B for accuracy. It sure is amazing when God answers my laborious mental meanderings with a solid BAM "Here is your answer in one well worded sentence." 

Through His Kindness, I am learning about His Grace. Guilt over "getting away with too much awesome in my life" or freaking out because "God has not demanded more suffering of me and He must be building up to something massively painful and character building" is not the reaction I should be having. (Duh? Yes. But it happens. Pity me, it is hard having an overactive imagination and a sporadically evoked guilt complex.) 

Your love O Lord, reaches to the heavens. 

Monday, October 24, 2011


Linking up with Leslie and Anna's CrazyJoy Photo Challenge! Their word this week is "Us."

As Autumn officially declares it's arrival with cool breezes and falling leaves, I am reminicing over warm and sandy beach days. I love fall, don't get me wrong. But I am chilly today!

Here is a favorite photo from our beach trip last summer that perfectly captures the "us-ness" of Us, the Abels.

Aww I miss those little toes!

Link up with CrazyJoy thru Thursday!

recipe for crazy

Monday, October 17, 2011

God is GOOD. All the time. For Real.

Taking yet another pause from trying to catch up with this story of ours. There is so much going on in the current NOW that I feel like I can't write down because I have not caught up on what has happened in the past few weeks. I am bad at this recording memories thing.

I wanted to talk about something major that God has been showing me, that I have struggled with for a while now. My brain is one of those rapid fire balls of realizations and confusions that tends to come unraveled best by talking. I ramble on at length about myself, in an utterly selfish, conversationally dominating way, and suddenly I have an epiphany. This dramatic formulation of clear thought is stated like I have known this about myself for a while, and then my pie hole keeps spewing words. I have. A lot. Of  Words. My point of enlightenment is reached and I focus on it for just a while, then my social engagement moves on, I remember other people have things to say and the moment passes by. My semi-coherent thoughts ravel back up into their ball and I forget. I need to Write Them Down. Perhaps then I would make progress in the detangling of my brain department. Or perhaps I need therapy. Hmm.

Anyways. This is an attempt at making sense of a Lesson I am learning. And the great thing about blogging is, I can talk about myself at length, and YOU CAN JUST SKIP IT! Whoohoo! But in case you are learning something similar, the lesson is called: GOD IS GOOD. I AM NOT. GOD IS STILL GOOD TO ME.

I read just a few minutes ago, I read this post by Jami Nato. She said, "it's comforting to me to know that i can be at my worst, but God's work is not contingent upon me. He always gives his best." This caused me to tear up and get emotional and decide to talk about my feelings in a blog post because this is exactly something I can't seem to get a hold of and God keeps saying it to me.

I have always understood that I am a worthless sinner who has been redeemed through grace by the blood of my Savior, Jesus. Nothing I can do can make me more acceptable, and nothing I have done or can do will make Him love me less. His goodness is so far and above mine, that it has absolutely no connection to it whatever. Somehow I mess this up in the depths of my subconscious. This is what happens:

I am my WORST. I know who God has called me to be as His child and I fail. On purpose sometimes because I am too lazy to let myself DIE. I look at the blood of my Savior poured out for ME and I decide that I prefer to complain about something. I listen to the words of a perfect and Holy God, calling me to a higher standard, and I chose to use my words and life for myself. At my worst and most unlovable self, I am selfishness, sloth, short temper, fear, arrogance, ignorance and pride at their ugliest. I KNOW this about myself. I am pretty good at being Christian enough to convince the world I am a decent person, but I know myself. He has given me everything, and in return I am occasionally "a decent person."

I am one of those needy, dependent girlfriends who has Everything, but still cries all the time and complains. I fly off the handle and even have the gall to get angry or frustrated with God when I don't get my way. I bite the Hand that not only feeds me, but that was nailed to a cross for me.

I realize this about myself. And I know that God loves me anyways. He is my Father. I know that just because He is "Good" does not mean things will always seem and feel good. So I expect Him to discipline me like a parent for my ungratefulness and disrespect. I expect Him to "withhold my allowance for a week" to teach me to appreciate what I have. I look for Him to say "Oops, somehow you got away with much more than you should have, it is time to pay back that loan I gave you." I wait for His blessings to be less than perfect so that I will "learn my lesson" and work harder. I expect my "blessings" to all be those hard, painful ones that will teach me to die to myself. I watch and wait for Him to give me what I deserve. I would never fault Him for it. He saved me, I am His, so He has full authority to say "enough is Enough, Ruth. SHAPE UP AND GROW UP." And what does He do?

He gives me More. He answers those dumb little spoiled prayers. His blessings never disintegrate into a bitter pill that I need to learn how to swallow by myself. He comes through on those major things that somehow I don't manage to pray about enough. He speaks to me when I don't "search for Him as for gold." He never says "Hey I think I gave you too much change, time to pay me back."  He very often lets me have cake much too close to bedtime, even after I complained about dinner and threw the peas on the floor. He gives me Goodness.

And I don't understand it. I doubt it. I don't trust it. I say, "Yes, You are good but I have not earned that or done a single thing to give You incentive. I know You don't need my help, but shouldn't I be a part of pulling all this great stuff off?" And He says, "Nope, you didn't earn it, and I don't need your help. I am just going to do it all for you and give you everything because I AM GOOD. And your goodness or not goodness has NOTHING to do with Mine."

"God's work is not contingent on me. He will ALWAYS give His best." All of His gifts are perfect, and I will never be able to earn any of His blessings, or accomplish any of His plans. It is all Him, in His goodness, All The Time.

So that in a coconut shell (notice I did not say nutshell, clearly this was more than say, a peanut,) is what God has been showing me for a long time. He is consistent. He is faithful. He. Is. Good.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Leap into the Great Adventure (Part 3 of the saga)

On September 19th, things went majorly downhill at work for Ryan. Majorly. Again, no words can adequately convey the awful that went down. Short: Supervisor (who has long displayed that she is threatened by Ryan's abilities and diligence) was in fine form. This supervisor has tried on numerous occasions to either get Ryan to quit, or to get him fired. We have arrived at "I can't go back there another day, I am going to resign," multiple times in the past, and we had arrived there again. Tuesday was another day of awful, so much so, that he left half a day early. "Ruth, I am serious this time. I am going to resign. I have to," was the phone call I received at the mid day hour of 12.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Some of what led up to This Point - Part 2

I was reluctant, afraid even, to leave everything that I know and love behind. The concept of going all the way to Colorado was daunting, but I knew that if the Lord asked us to go, we would. I was a huge fan of working for Compassion, but not for taking a leap that huge.

Some of what led up to This Point

I realize that the story that follows may not be very interesting for most of anyone who reads this. I am recording it at length mostly for our family. This is the largest journey of faith that the three of us have been on together, and I want Leilani (and any future siblings) to have this testimony of God's faithfulness. I don't want them to have a vague "God is faithful and you can trust Him" to learn from as they grow up. I want them to have our stories of real struggle and real proof that God Is Good.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Great Adventure

Let's sum up the current status of life. We have a mortgage, and a car that needs work, and a toddler who likes to eat, and general life and commitments to sustain all on a single income. And two weeks ago, we followed the leading of the Lord, and lept headlong without a parachute into the Great Adventure. 

Ryan resigned from his government job of 7 years two Tuesdays ago, with no backup plan, no job to move to, and no savings to live off of. And to top off this crazy with a dollop of "woah," this fall, we are going to leave our happy circle of dear family and close friends and move to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

How did we get here? What are we thinking? WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

Stay tuned, and join us won't you? We have embarked on a Great Adventure.

"Garden of the Gods" in Colorado Springs