Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why I Hate Leap Day: The Longest I’ve Been Married

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Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

On January 17th of this year my husband and I celebrated three years of marriage. If you’ve been married any length of time this may not seem like much to you. But to me this is huge.

You see I was married before. Just over 34 months to be exact. Just shy of three years. My first husband was a cop/worship minister and a Godly man. On the afternoon of February 29, 2008, he went for a motorcycle ride with a fellow deputy. Darryl would say that he never got to ride his bike enough so I’m very glad that this was the last great experience he had before he left this earth. On his way home, less than a mile from our house, Darryl was in an accident with another vehicle in which he sustained a serious head injury. He was rushed to the hospital where one of our friends met him and got to exchange the last conversation Darryl would ever have on this earth.

Meanwhile Darryl’s Sergeant knocked on our door and gave me the news every spouse fears. Initially we thought Darryl just had a broken leg. So I while I rode to the hospital in the passenger seat of a police cruiser I made the customary calls to friends and family. Shortly after my arrival at the hospital we learned of Darryl’s head injury and made the decision to do the only procedure that may save his life. 

Over the next three weeks while Darryl was in a coma one more procedure was done but Darryl never woke up and the swelling in his brain never went down significantly. After three weeks of being in a coma in a Lakeland, FL hospital Darryl went home to be with Jesus peacefully with me by his side in the trauma ward. 

What I will never forget about that period of my life was the amazing support I had from Darryl’s family and mine, my pastors and church family, the Polk County Sherriff’s Office, and the community. (For more on Darryl's story visit here.)

Now four years have passed and it’s still impossible to believe. As this most recent wedding anniversary loomed on the horizon last fall, I wondered if I would ever get to the three year marriage mark with my current husband. I did the math and realized that is if by God’s design history would repeat itself again November of 2011 would have been the end of my time with Jason. So in the two months leading up to my first ever three year anniversary I tried to love and appreciate my husband with a fresh realization that every day could be the last. 

Here I am today over a month past the three year mark and beginning for the first time a fourth year of marriage. After all this time I am convinced that life by definition is incredibly hard but God is more faithful than we can ever imagine. Thank you for your prayer as the days leading up to March 22 (the anniversary of Darryl’s passing) are always difficult for me and all those who loved Darryl.

Friday, February 24, 2012

About Me: A Video

Joy Rudolph Converge Church Planting from Converge Worldwide on Vimeo.

This video was made as part of a "get to know Converge" series by some of my friends at Converge Worldwide. I thought it would give you a face to go with the writing as well as provide a bit of weekend entertainment (I get really excited when I talk about Sam).

Downtown Orlando is hosting NBA All Star Weekend this year so it promises to be an exciting and busy weekend filled with ministry opportunities. Would you say a quick prayer for my husband and I as we could potentially have some divine appointments with people of influence?

If you have any prayer needs for this upcoming weekend feel free to leave a message below so we can join together in prayer . Have a great one!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent: Preparing Our Hearts for Easter

I have been reading Nancy Guthrie's, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus at Christmas time for the past several years. When I discovered Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross a few years back I was thrilled to have a solid resource for the lenten season as well.

As usual Nancy has done a phenomenal job of pairing readings from some of the best preachers and teachers both old and new. Reflections from Tim Keller, RC Sproul, Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Alistair Begg are included among others.

If you haven't observed Lent before consider staring this year with Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross. Along with daily readings and the traditional forty day fast (which can include anything from food to social networking), Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking has compiled a list of ideas and resources for observing Lent as a family.

Remember, this year Lent begins on Wednesday, February 22.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gospel Coalition Women's Conference: Join Me!

Along with Jennifer, of Family Musings, I'll be attending the Gospel Coalition’s 2012 National Women’s Conference, June 22-24 in Orlando. Would you consider joining us?

The Gospel Coalition’s 2012 National Women’s Conference is for women but not all about women. It’s about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a time to learn more of what Scripture says to us—and to say it to each other. A time to dig deeper into the character of God and his purpose for his people. A time to gather together and share biblical encouragement as sisters, daughters, wives, mothers, and friends.

Several renowned Bible teachers, including three TGC founding members, will explore the theme “Here Is Our God!” by guiding us through the Bible’s unfolding revelation of God to human eyes and hearts. Plenaries will offer exposition of biblical texts in which the Lord shows himself to his people. Seminars will feature women living out the Word, seeing and serving God with transformed and transforming lives. We’ll worship together through music led by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

This time together in Orlando will fix our eyes on Christ, in whom God has shown himself fully, to enable us to see him more clearly and serve him more powerfully..

Speakers include Don Carson, Lauren Chandler, Nancy Guthrie. Tim Keller, Carolyn Mahaney, John and Noel Piper and many others.

Be sure to let me know if I'll see you there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Busy Seasons

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I’m in a busy season right now and will be through at least mid-March. Perhaps you’ve noticed by my deviation from a regular posting schedule. So how do we thrive during life’s busiest times? The tips below are how I’ll make it through these busy months:

1.  Time with God: In life’s busiest season’s our relationship with God is often the first one we neglect. Don’t have an hour? Thirty minutes? Even fifteen minutes? Then start smaller. Give God one to five minutes. I’ve found that the scripture calendar on my desk is really helpful with this. If I read one scripture first thing in the morning it makes me aware of God’s presence all day and leaves me longing more for him. Another thing I’m trying out is scheduling an appointment with Jesus on my calendar. It sounds cheesy but it may prove to be very effective. I’ll keep you posted.

2.  Refuel: Do yoga. Go to Starbucks. Get a pedicure. Take a nap. Read a lot. Give yourself permission to do whatever it takes to recharge physically, emotionally and spiritually. Then DO IT.

3.  Get Help: We were not meant to do life alone and busy season’s make this even more evident. Unashamedly ask for/get help. In busy seasons the cleanliness of my house suffers most. This is when I splurge on professional housecleaning through Groupon and Living Social.

4.  Take the Easy Way Out: Last night my husband and I had hotdogs, tater tots, and crudités for dinner. We don’t have kids…but this meal worked for us in this season because it was easy. If there’s an area that’s tough for you in busy seasons feel free to cut back and do what takes the least time and energy.

5.  Create Margin: If all your energies are focused on a big project, personal suffering, someone else’s need, etc. feel free to say “No,” to everything else. This will give you margin for steps 1 and 2.

So how do you thrive in busy seasons?