Wednesday, February 13, 2013

the worst. date. ever.

in light of everything, i was reading through my drafts and found this that i, for some bizarre reason, had never posted.

[written 12/2011]

i have been looking forward to thanksgiving break for a while now. i was ready for a break from school, catching up on sleep, relaxing and reading some Chronicles of Narnia, hanging with my family.... and going huntin' with Tanner and my Daddy-O.

i had told literally everyone i knew that i was getting to hang out with some of my favorite boys and finally live out the phrase, "if its brown, its down" and i. was. pumped.

so we set out on the 11 hour drive and had some *quality* bonding time. i learned important lessons like... never sit down-wind of a skinny man (a.k.a. tanner.) anyways... head up to illinois to the cabin and some beautiful land up there.

after getting all our clothes all laid out, my dad set his alarm for 4:30 am and we all headed for bed. i may or may not have prayed for a fun filled day full of dead deer....

4:30am rolls around and i felt like it was christmas when dad came in to wake us up! we got dressed,ate some breakfast, and headed for then stands. T got all set up in his own stand and then dad came back and we went to another one so that he could coach me through what to do... we wait.... and wait some more....

we got to see a buck chase a doe, i learned the difference in a squirle and a fox squirle.. i really was enjoying just being outside with my dad. then, sure enough... dad got my attention and pointed out a set of horns headed our way!

now, a little side note as to what is going through my head:
2. how do i make my hands stop shaking?
3. i BETTER not miss. this is EPIC.

and that was all running through my head in a split second. then it hit me...

its kill time.

so i keep trying to get the dad-gum deer in my scope and half the time i cant find it because i cant get my head leveled right.. and when i finally do, half his body is hidden behind a tree. to make a long story short... or really ive made a short story long... i never get a shot on the deer and it disappears.

only to be shot by a freaking yankee.

it was a 150pt deer... 11 pointer.

but our dismay, or i should say, my dads dismay was short lived because as soon as we got out of the stand T called to tell us he got him self a deer. and oh. my. gosh. it was MASSIVE.

11 point, 300 lbs... he was a beaut.

after we took lots of pictures with T's deer, we headed back to the house to regroup and eat some food. we headed back out that afternoon... and i was ready to prove my coolness and kill me a deer.

we put T up in another tree stand with the cross-bow and dad and i headed to a different stand.. we sit... it starts sleeting... we sit some more... then, dad and his 6th sense - tuuurnnnnn around.... and there, on a sweet little date is a beautiful 8 point buck and a doe.

now. when dad tells me to turn around, i only see the buck. i have NO CLUE the doe is there. so i find the buck in my scope, wait for him to turn broad side, then dad tells me "kill him! shoot him abby! kill him!" so... i pull the trigger and BOOM! i see legs kicking and a deer on the ground!

so i start telling my dad I GOT HIM! I GOT HIM! and my dads telling me i didnt and that the buck is still standing there. so i, very confusingly, look for a buck through the scope again and sure enough, hes still standing there.

im still trying to figure out what i killed while trying to not mess up finally killing a buck.

so dad and i climb down the tree stand and set out on foot... this is when, i SWEAR i stepped into a movie.

dad and i are on foot now, and i have a gun - loaded - in my hands. we head away from the tree stand following the buck. we see it, dad orders me to pull my gun up and shoot him. i try. i MIGHT have hit his foot. he kicks up and runs off... dad and i follow still.

we cross over a creek, down a little slope, then up a hill.... then, there he is. standing in the woods with his backside facing us. my heart is racing.

dad tells me to get the gun, steady my breathing, and when i am ready, pull the trigger.

now, im a little confused at this point. i knew some people aim for the hole and drop them, but let's be real, im no where near that accurate. so i was trying to figure out what he wanted me to shoot.... his butt?

so i pull the trigger without really aiming. dad grabs the gun and shoots twice too but the Buck keeps running.

finally we see him standing still, broad side, and i shoot. he runs off.

dad takes off and then disapears after jumping down a little ledge.... as i run after, its not long before i see dad standing there, grinning ear to ear, hands raised up, and a dead deer.

there her was! my first buck!

dad proudly took pictures of us with our [massive] deer

then i got to partake in a tradition that i had secretly been wanting to for my entire life...

annnnd i think dad had a lot of fun with it too! 

this is a weekend that i will hold on to for forever. i made so many memories that i will always treasure... seeing my dad in his prime, and T for that matter, was such an experience. waking up with the woods is such a calming feeling. i now understand why they travel all the way to IL to hunt deer. its because its not JUST about the deer. its about the camaraderie. the memories. the stillness, the retreat of it all. its about the hunt, the time, the attention... the reward is a beautiful deer, but it is about so much more than just killing a big animal [though that makes it MUCH more fun :)]

two thumbs up for a fantastic trip and the hope of many more to come!! watch out deer, i've got that itch now!


Monday, February 11, 2013

the coma that taught.

when i started praying that the Lord awaken my heart and teach me things that i had not known about him yet, this did not ever enter into my thought process. when you pray things like that, you think, i'll have a hard day at work, or something dramatic will go on with one of my friends and i'll see some sin in my heart and have to deal with that.... you think small. well, i have learned full well that God does not think small.

Dad. my dad. the man that so many cannot figure out, but that i love more than anything in this world. the man that never missed one of my tennis matches, or any of my other siblings sports games. the man that has taught me more about Jesus than anyone else. the man that taught me to demand respect, not just hope for it. the man that taught me how to drive and who ATTEMPTED to teach me to park, the man who did my hair for me for my first football game, the man who has sent me the BEST valentines cards every year, the man who is going to walk me down the ailse in July... my dad, the man of my life.

the last thing he said before going back for surgery was "God doesn't have a Plan B, sweetie. Only a Plan A." and that is what i have clung to for the past 11 days. that THIS, this is the Lords plan A.

when mom called to tell me that the surgery went ok but that they were keeping him in a coma until they could sew him up, a million things raced through my mind and the only way i knew to respond was tears....

im not done needing my dad! i never will be. i need him to continue helping get ready for marriage, i need so many more Isaac and Rebecca talks, i need him to help me figure out the 401K thing, i need him to say bye to while he is in the office, i need him for valentines day, i need him. and, for 11 days, we haven't really had him.

mom hasn't had her husband to talk to, Linds and Will haven't had him to respond to all the grandkid pictures, T hasn't had him to watch his baseball practices, and Luke hasn't had him to talk about working out.. we all need him in so many different ways.

it's never until something is absent that you realize how present it was...

so these past 11 days have been filled with tears, questions, worry, and fear. but just as Lamentations 3 talks about, there is a BIG but in that statement...  those have been my feelings, BUT the Lord is so faithful.

over the past 11 days, our family has experienced more love and encouragement than I could ever have imagined. Text messages, phone calls, food, hospital visits, emails... you name it. I have never experienced the body of Christ like this before. There are so many things that the Lord has been so gracious to teach me through this.

the saying that "God is more concerned about our holiness than our happiness" has never rang more true.

I have learned so much about family, about being a friend through suffering, about clinging to the Lord even before a parent, about what it means to surrender someone to the Lord, how important the body of Christ is, and that there really is true JOY found in trials....

my friends have sent me verse after verse of things they are praying for our family, i have basically lived at our sweet neighbors house, we have had delicious meals brought to us, so many people have stopped by the hospital to pray over Dad and sit with my mom, my Aunt Lisa has been up there with my mom every day, and the Lord has truely been glorified through all of this.

"BUT this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
(Lamentations 3:21-24)

The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
IN his illness you restore him to full health.
(Psalm 41:3 ESV)

my prayer (after Will shared this with me) was that IN this trail, IN my dad's hospitalization that he would be not only restored physically but also spiritually. That the Lord would renew him daily in every way. 

"...And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
(Nehemiah 8:10)

"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

knowing that the Lord is doing so many things UNSEEN has been the biggest comfort of all. Knowing that in my life, in my moms life, in all my siblings life, and in so many others, that God is not only teaching us all things about himself, but that He is being glorified through this situation has brought true Joy to my heart. and i know it would to my dad as well. knowing that eternal things are happening because of my dad's suffering has made this all bearable. 

i know that God is for us. He promises over and over again that "never will he leave us nor forsake us", that he is "our rock and our salvation", that "by him we can run against a troop, and by my God, i can leap over a wall. This God- his way is PERFECT.." time and time again, the Lord promises that he will protect and sustain those who trust in him. and i have never, in my life, seen this truth of my Heavenly Father more clearly. 

I know that we all are in the Noonday sun. That my entire family is walking through the Lords Plan A and that brings joy in this trial. 

my prayer is that the Lord continue to bring glory to himself, that the Lord continue to sanctify me and my family members, and that the Lord continue to bring both physical and spiritual renewal to my sweet Dads body. 

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.