I thought I would try to lighten up this post a little, as the last one was a bit on the heavy side. (Thank you, by the way, if you have decided to stay with me. You wouldn't have been able to tell it from my last entry, but I usually am a pretty bright, cheerful, optimistic girl. Some might even say annoyingly so.)
Anyway, for today I thought I would introduce you to the people whom God has chosen to place in my life that make up my immediate circle. If we can tell what kind of person we are by the people who love us, I have been inundated with about ten different personalities. No wonder I have trouble staying focused!
(On a sidenote: If you are one of my email subscribers, I am not sure if these pictures will translate. If you want to see them you may have to click on over to my actual blogsite.)
We'll start off with the love of my life, my husband Jason. (Pictured below.) God brought Jason into my life seven years ago just as I was getting ready to make a pretty impulsive move to California. I saw him walk in the door of a Superbowl party we both happened to be attending, and the first thought that ran through my head was, "I'm going to marry that man". Little did he know, Elling women don't often take no for an answer, and two years later I tricked (I mean, wooed) him into marrying me. He is nothing short of a God-send to my life. We are polar opposites in many ways, which is just the kind of life-partner I need. He keeps me grounded, he makes me laugh, he's strong as an ox both mentally and physically (must be the teacher/farmer combo), and he's one of the most sensitive, caring souls I have ever met. (He reminds me very much of my father in this way.) And most importantly, he has a heart that is complete only when in service to the Lord.
My prayer for Jason is that he continues to follow through with his desire to tangibly make a difference in the lives of those who are seeking Christ, and also with his own desire to more fully understand the God we serve. Next up is my firstborn daughter, Dana. Out of our two children, she is the most unlike me, and subsequently the one that teaches me the most about life, and about loving wholeheartedly those people who we may just not understand. Dana is my more reserved, cautious child. She is shy in groups, and comes alive only when she feels 100% safe and secure with the people around her. She is a tenderheart through and through, is at her happiest when being read to, and has an instinctual love and respect for all of God's creation. (Other than ants, which for some reason she feels the need to squish on sight. I'm trying to work with her on that.) I also need to be careful what I say to her, because she takes every one of my remarks at face value. She doesn't appreciate, or see the need for any form of sarcasm or exaggeration, and does a great job at holding me accountable for every word that comes out of my mouth. Dana first taught me how to be a mother when I was convinced I would be a total failure as one, and for this I am forever in her debt.
My prayer for Dana is that she finds her inherent value only in being a Child of God and not a child of this world, and that she understands down to her very core that she is a Promise and a Possibility in the Lord's making.
And then there's Eliza. My Mom, Jason and I just watched the movie "Marley and Me" last night, and I got to see what Eliza would look like if she had been born in canine form. Eliza is my wild, crazy, whirling-dervish, study of extremes. She keeps me on my toes every minute of everyday, or at least when she is not trailing me around the house with her hands in the air pleading to be picked up and held indefinitely. She is my sensitive spitfire, my cherubic challenge, my fiercely independent follower. She can usually be found in one of two places, either checking out the world from the vantage point that my hip provides, or in her naughty chair. Eliza makes me laugh everyday with her mischievous antics and her big "Who, me?" blue eyes, and reminds me continuously of God's love for diversity within community, family, and even individuals.
My prayer for Eliza is that she always stays true to her complex sweet and sour self, that these seemingly opposite virtues turn into a healthy balance of empathy and strength, and she will find ways to use this duality to come alongside many different types of people in God's kingdom.
I figured while I was at it I might as well introduce you to our four-footed family member as well. Below is Dixie, our one year old German Wire-Haired Pointer. She is insane. I can usually detect her whereabouts only by catching glimpses of a brown and white blur leaving behind a trail of socks, toys, and my daughters. She's got a great heart, but one that is often overshadowed by her need to dig holes in the backyard, run away at the first opportunity for freedom, and chew on my favorite black leather boots. When I look at Dixie I am often forced to remind myself that she, too, was made by the hands of God, and therefore should be handled with care.
My prayer for Dixie is that she outgrows her puppyhood before I outgrow my patience.
So here we are, the Alberda clan, minus the ultrasound picture of Alberda Child #3. (I believe I've mentioned before how inept I am with computers, and scanning pictures using this crazy contraption next to me falls directly under that category.) We don't know much about our newest addition (gender included), other than he or she will be born in July, loves it when I eat cheese sandwiches, and thinks it's funny to kick me in the side/abdomen/bladder in order to keep me up at night. We do know that our little son or daughter will bring with them untold joy, frustrations, and surprises, which is just as God intended it to be.
My prayer for our unborn child remains strength, health, and an insatiable love for Jesus from the get-go.
The Lord has blessed me richly with this family, and with the family that extends beyond them to my mother, my sisters and brother, my in-laws, and my seventeen nieces and nephews. Each and every one of them teaches me how to love, challenges me to reevaluate my convictions, adds more to my life than I ever dreamed possible, and points me in unbelievably unique ways to Christ.
Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day thankful for the institution of family. Thank You for giving us people nearby who are constant reminders that we were not made to walk through this life alone. Whether we have wonderful relationships with them, relationships that are more work than they seem worthy of sometimes, or even relationships that are virtually nonexistent, we have been shaped and formed by our involvement and our ties to these individuals whom You have chosen to put us in close proximity to relationally, geographically, or even just through bloodline. Help us to learn from each other, Lord. Help us to look to each other for opportunities to know more about You, and what You expect from us in this lifetime when it comes to dwelling with and among Your people.
Bless these relationships. Help them to honor and glorify You. Be at the core of them all, continually showing us what perfect fellowship, forgiveness, and friendship can look like. Thank You, Lord, for welcoming us into Your heavenly family, please help us to love, appreciate and enjoy our own here on earth as well.
In Your Perfect Name I pray,