Just Turn The Page

Just Turn The Page: June 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

Barbie Doll Christian

I am not a Barbie Doll Christian. In other words, I am not a “plastic” (as someone I know describes it) fake-it-till-you-make-it kind of Christian. I am an emotional, passionate, upside down, sometimes backwards, insanely intense Christian woman. Yet, my deepest desire is to reflect my Savior.

You might be wondering what this has to do with this week’s Verse-by-Verse Reflection link-up. Actually, it has everything to do with it. For the past two weeks, I have diligently sought God to lead me through a wow-you-kind of analysis on Paul’s appeal to the Thessalonians:

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (HCSB 1 Thess. 5:16-18)
Instead of a getting, a Holy Spirit inspired, poignant and thought provoking summary—I had a meltdown. Because of this, I was tempted not to write a post regarding this passage. After all, my meltdown was in stark contrast to Paul’s exhortation. In fact, I felt embarrassed, somewhat humiliated, foolish, and as I so publicly announced on FB “at the end of my rope.”
Interestingly, one reason Paul wrote to the Thessalonians was to encourage them during a time of immense persecution and suffering. Paul did not offer the Thessalonians empty words, he wrote from experience. In 2 Corinthians 4:8, Paul writes, “We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed” (HCSB).
Truth is; the trials and circumstances I am dealing with right now have me feeling the “pressure”; I am “perplexed,” confused, bewildered, dumbfounded; I am “persecuted” and misunderstood, as well as “struck down.” Truth is; these trials seem to be never ending. In fact, my meltdown was due more to the longevity than the trial itself. Truth is; it is really hard to believe God has a purpose in the midst of ongoing hardship. BUT he does.
...we also rejoice in our affliction, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. (HCSB Rom. 5:3-4)
Instead of rejoicing and giving thanks, I felt like Paul who felt so “completely overwhelmed—beyond [his] strength—so that [he] even despaired of life” (HCSB 2 Cor. 1:8-9). To be honest, I am thankful Paul gives us a glimpse into his own “meltdown.” Paul shows us his humanity.
Something happens when we “come to the end of our rope.” Paul recognized it. I recognized it as I buried my face in my already snotty tissue. We surrender.
Paul believed affliction leads us to surrender our own strength, our own will, our own devices and scheming, and our dependence on self, to a deep abiding “trust in God who raises the dead” (HCSB 2 Cor. 1:9). This trust is an acknowledgement that our current circumstances are part of “…God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (HCSB 1 Thess. 6:18).
God does not send evil to accomplish His purpose in our lives, but He does not always remove our affliction or suffering. Rather, our suffering forces us to look beyond the circumstances and ourselves to God’s sovereignty over every facet of our life. Suffering drives us into deeper prayer. Prayer changes our perspective; thereby, freeing us to rejoice in all things.
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that you have the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (HCSB 1Pet. 3:15)
 Meltdown or not, cool, calm and collected—or not, what really matters is a life surrendered to Christ Jesus. And if you are like me, it’s ok to have a good cry—a meltdown, once in a while…it’s the purest, most honest acknowledgement of our need for Christ. After all is said and done Just Turn the Page for “..His mercies never end. They are new every morning” (HCSB Lam. 3:22-23).
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Friday, June 6, 2014

A Week Full of Adventure

Our Week Full of Adventure began with a trip to Hunting Island State Park for Memorial Day weekend. Eddie and I have been married for fifteen years in September, and this is the first time we have been able to join our extended family for the holiday weekend. Usually, Eddie was deployed somewhere in the world, or we chose to take the time to reflect with others on the sacrifice our service members have made, but this year a change was in the air. Eddie was born on Parris Island, the Marine base, near Hunting Island. His mother and siblings with their families still live in South Carolina near the island. This was our (the kids and mine) first trip to the island, not South Carolina.

I fell in love with Hunting Island. A popular camping ground, Hunting Island State Park is a beach island nestled between historic Beaufort, S.C. and the Atlantic Ocean. The tide is out during the morning hours allowing beach goers, surfers, and fishermen to enjoy the four mile stretch of land. Of course, no surf goes unchallenged by a group of adventurous boys.

Left to right: Alex Arzillo, Charlie Coon, Peyton Scott, Hadyen Daley, Joshua Arzillo and Jedidiah Coon. Back: James “Eddie” Coon

When the water depletes your energy, the quiet campground shields campers from strong ocean winds, and large palm trees provide cool shade while a sturdy chair offers tired campers a place for an afternoon nap.


Eddie Coon
The lighthouse is a about a two-mile roundtrip hike. I didn’t get a chance to hike it, but Summer and her new friend Briana Scott braved the hike. They report the hike is well worth the effort.
Courtesy of wanderingdawgs.com

Each night a family would take turns cooking for everyone. Our last night, Richard and Kelly had an awesome fish fry!
Uncle Richard Arzillo and Summer Coon
My favorite part of the whole trip was some honey time with my amazing warrior—who may be retired now, but was and is always MY WARRIOR!

Me and my Warrior
and of course the kids…
Me and Summer "Tinkerbell" Coon

Me and Jedidiah "Jederbug" Coon

…we couldn’t  catch Charlie long enough to get a pic. However, I did get him in the middle of the week when he was down with a sinus infection…on his 14th Birthday! 


Me and Charlie "Boo Boo Bear" Coon


No worries though! We ended our Week of Adventure with a basketball party for our future college athlete…lookout Georgia Tech! This turned out to be extra fun as our Jamaican friends and neighbors taught this family the secret to making jerk chicken!

Charlie's Basketball Team...Express Showcase...well a few of them
Our week began with a trip—the first trip we have ever taken on Memorial Day weekend; a significant change in-of-itself. Every part of the weekend I absolutely loved and cherished—from South Carolina’s mesmerizing landscape with its mossy oak trees, palms, salty marshes—to the sweet hypnotic fragrances of jasmine, magnolias, azalea’s,  and honeysuckle (my husband’s favorite)--to connecting with new friends, like Michelle Scott, and reconnecting with family. In fact, most of the South’s heritage has a special kind of appeal to me. I find myself drawn into its deep mystery, and wonder if God is not turning my heart towards this place.
Our week ended with a celebration of our firstborn son’s fourteenth birthday! It also ended in anticipation of more change. Right now, we are waiting on God to make His will for us clear. When He does, then we get to Turn the Page!
"Stand still” – keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.” Charles Spurgeon
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning... (Psalm 130:5-6) 

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