A Happy Easter Message from my Man! Enjoy because God is Good!!

MAIL CALL! MAIL CALL! GUESS WHO GOT ANOTHER LETTER TODAY!! This time Rabbit wrote something he wanted me to share with everyone. Please enjoy.

The Cross

People watch as I stare at a blank wall or look up to the sky and ask me, “Why do you not worship the cross?” I explain as simply as I can: “I do not follow a cross, that is simply a symbol to remind me!”

I follow a man that was strong enough to continue on, even when people beat him, shred his skin, and broke his bones. He was strong enough to continue when they spit on Him and called Him names, even strong enough to endure being nailed to a cross to be displayed without clothes or mercy. He even stayed strong when they pierced his side with a spear. Why? He did it for me!

I follow a King that was humble enough to eat with prostitutes, the sick, the poor, and even the hated. He was humble enough to get on His hands and knees to wash His servants feet. Yet, He still never once forgot the importance of a child’s love. He was so humble that He announced His coming glory from atop a donkey’s colt. Why? He did it to show His love for me!

I follow a God that was meek enough to come to earth as a man. He was meek enough to allow the one who would betray Him, not only to live, but to succeed in his vile plans, even though He knew about it all before any of it took place. He was meek enough to allow Himself to be tortured and crucified, even though He had command of 10,000 angels. Why? He did this to pay for my mistakes and sins, even though He had none of his own.

You see, I do not follow a cross; I follow a man, who was a King, who was God! His name is Jesus and He died and rose again for me and for you! The cross is to remind, not to be worshiped. Thank You God!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE! Remember, we serve a risen Savior!

Waiting on the Lord

So, back near the first of the year, my husband bought a devotional – Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence (a 365 day devotional by Sarah Young) he was reading everyday.  Everyday, it seemed what he was reading was meeting him right where he was.  It was amazing!

Since he’s been gone and since I am not allowed to send him anything other than letters, I have made it my mission to write out the daily devotions in addition to the letters I send him.  My original intention was just to afford him the opportunity to be able to continue reading the devotions he had begun before he left.  Of course, what started as an attempt to keep my husband immersed in the word, has turned into something that has been blessing me and meeting me right where I am.  No lie, it’s almost like the devotions he was reading were just what he needed when he needed them, but now that I’m the one reading them, it’s like they were intended for me, right where I am now.

Isn’t God good?!

Because of packing, I had missed a couple of days (because I got busy before I got before God) so I didn’t read Tuesday’s devotion until today.  The devotion for March 26th talks about waiting on the Lord.   Take a look:

WAITING ON ME means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do.  It entails trusting Me with every fiber of your being, instead of trying to figure out things for yourself.  Waiting on Me is the way I designed you to live:  all day, everyday.  I created you to stay conscious of Me as you go about your daily duties.

I have promised many blessings to those who wait on Me: renewed strength, living above one’s circumstances, resurgence of hope, awareness of My continual Presence.  Waiting on Me enables you to glorify Me by living in deep dependence on me, ready to do My will.  It also helps you to enjoy Me; in My Presence is fullness of Joy.

The scripture references listed for this day’s devotional are:

Lamentations 3:24-26 – I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Isaiah 40:31 – Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Why do I share this?  Well, for the last 2 years, I have wondered:  “What does it mean to wait on God anyway?”  What does the verse in Isaiah mean when it says I will mount up with wings as eagles, that I will run and not grow weary, that I will walk and not faint?  I had been waiting on God for 2 years.  I hadn’t sprouted wings yet, and I had been plenty tired – though I hadn’t fainted.  All I was wondering was when God was just going to end all this garbage.

Apparently, I had been missing the point of what it means to wait on God.  I had been directing my attention to Him, and in hopeful anticipation of what He would do, but I don’t think I was really trusting Him with every fiber of my being.  I was just holding out hope that He would give me what I was asking for – to keep my husband out of jail.  I don’t necessarily think that was a bad prayer.  We are married, and my husband loves being a father, so to ask that God would allow him to stay with us is honorable.  Right?

While I don’t disagree, I can tell you that what I have been confronted with is having to trust God for my entire life.  You see, right now, I am a full time graduate student and stay-at-home mom, homeschooling the two kids we have at home.  I’ve not had a “real” job since 2003, and that was at a coffee shop.  I did serve 5 years in the Navy, but that ended in 1998.  I don’t have a resume ready because I’m still in school and wasn’t planning on needing it.  My husband and I had fashioned our lives, from early on in our marriage, in such a way that he would be the provider and any job I have will be icing on the cake.

That was our plan.  I thought it was a pretty good one too.  It allowed me to finish school and continue homeschooling.  You know what it would also do?  It would ensure that I didn’t really have to think about the fact that God was the one providing all of our income.

You see, until confronted with the idea that my husband could go to jail and I would be left with 2 kids, graduate school AND no job, no benefits, no paycheck, no home, and no idea what I would do about it, it never occurred to me that, even though I had said the sinner’s prayer and believed that I was saved, I had never really made Jesus Lord of EVERYTHING in my life.  I had no idea that there were a few things that I had been holding back from Him.  I had no idea that maybe I didn’t really believe that I could trust Him with my life or my marriage or my husband or my kids.

But God is faithful.  See, when you pray something that God desires for you to have in your life, he sets about answering that prayer because it will be one more thing in your life that will bring Him glory.  That includes even simple, seemingly benign musings about what it means to really wait on the Lord.

My family was in limbo for 2 years while this case was being processed.  We were told by people who had been through similar situations that the longer it took, the better it looked for our side.  So, I figured that after 2 years, our waiting would be over.  God would intervene and we would be vindicated.  The truth would finally be revealed and all would be well because, then, our lives would be restored to what they had been before.

Well, that’s not what we got!  Now, we have even longer to wait.  Our 2 years has been made 7.

What about the promises to those who wait on the Lord?

Renewed Strength:  Yeah!  People keep asking me how I’m doing.  Well, I don’t have any frame of reference for this aside from being the wife of a man who has deployed numerous times.  But this is not quite the same as that, unless you consider this a mission from God.  So…that’s what we are doing.  My husband will get out of jail, and much like when he comes home from deployment, he’s going to be looking at me and our kids and our home and hoping to see that I have not lost my mind or gone off the deep end and have managed to hold things together until he returned home.  Well, I’ve had help, but I am making it.  And I feel pretty good!  It’s still early, but so far I’ve only had one day that really just got to me.

Living Above One’s Circumstances:  Again, I’ve been married for nearly 20 years to a man who has deployed numerous times.  I’ve never been able to know exactly where he was, what he was doing, or if he would be making it home.  Letters were sparse because he was always moving, and there were no real phone conversations.  Well, at least this time I can write to him.  I know right where he is.  I can visit, and I know that he is safe, eating, and able to take care of himself physically and spiritually.  These are assurances I didn’t really have before.

Resurgence of Hope:  There is an appeal process that starts immediately.  But better than that, I know that my God is a God of justice and of truth.  My husband did nothing wrong.  And he would not take a plea saying that he did something he didn’t do, even if it meant that he would get to spend more time with us.  That was not just his decision.  It was mine too.  In fact, I told him not to dare say he did something he didn’t do.  The person who accused my husband is a disturbed individual.  Much help is needed for this person and my prayer is that the help will come.  What I do know is that there will be no real healing for this person or for this person’s family until the truth comes out.  So, my hope is that God will allow the appeal to go through and that he would move in the heart of the individual who accused my husband so that the urge to tell the truth could not be avoided.  AND, news of our ordeal has circumnavigated the globe.  There are people from here in Maryland all the way around the globe and back again to Virginia praying for us and for this individual.  God will not leave that many prayers unanswered (where 2 or more are gathered…).

Awareness of my Continual Presence:  Well, as if these devotionals weren’t enough, God has shown up in the form of people offering to help with packing and moving.  People respond to my posts on Facebook when they see that I’ve left an update about my husband.  People have called out of the blue to tell me that they found a scripture verse for me.  Men have stepped up to take our youngest son under their wings while my husband is gone, as have women who want to spend time with our teenage daughter.

If what God wants is my utter dependence upon Him, He’s got it.  There is nothing else I can do right now but that.  But it has been good.  While I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone, I really believe that this is going to be the best thing that has ever happened to both my and my husband’s walks with the Lord.  And isn’t that what He’s been after this whole time?

My First Post

Wow…where to begin.  Well, here we go!

March has been a banner month for us in the Hinojos household.

For the first week, my husband was on trial for, convicted of and sentenced to 7 years and a dishonorable discharge for a crime he did not commit!  That was March 4-8.

The next week I did nothing but plan for last week and this week.

Last week and this week, I have been packing up the house to get ready to move by the end of the week.

I had begun a cooking project in February, but needless to say, I have not been working on it this month, which means that I will have about 12 recipes to add to the months remaining in the year.  Never fear though.  The recipe box is in a box I have set aside to bring with me.  All this means is that I have gained another person on which to test my recipes.  And in July, that number could potentially increase by 2.  Woohoo!  That means:  if a recipe stinks, the love will be shared among more people, which means fewer left overs.

But, back to my news of the first of the month.  I have always liked the proverb:  “Bloom Where You’re Planted.” Perhaps it’s because I have been married to a man in the Navy for the last almost-20 years.  We move so often that I have had to learn how to make the best of the situations and places we are in.  All of us have.  So…why should this time be any different?

The trial was the end of a 22-month long ordeal that is now, finally & thankfully, over.

There have been so many things I have learned along the way, I don’t know that there will be time enough left in my life for me to even be able to grasp the depths to which this thing has reached, but, with your indulgence, I would like to share some of them here.

First, God means to have ALL of you!

I was raised in church.  I’ve been saved since I was 8 years old.  And in 30 years time I have never really, ever had to rely totally upon God for anything.  I’m not saying He hasn’t provided WELL for me in that time.  I’m just saying that I have never totally laid my entire life on the line for Him.  Oh sure, I have said as much.  I have prayed as much.  But, I have never done it.  I don’t know that I can recall a time when I’ve ever felt like I was being asked to.  Not until this last 22 months.

Over the last 22 months, what God was asking of me scared the daylights out of me.  Will you still love me if the trial does not give you the results you want?  Will you still love me if your husband goes away?  Will you still love me if I don’t intervene to keep him out of jail?

I wanted to be able to say, unwaveringly, unquestioningly, YES!

I wanted to.  But I couldn’t.

The only honest answer I could come up with was:  “I don’t know.”

To be a 38-year-old, raised in church, saved for 30 years, Christian and to have no better answer than “I don’t know” was:  enlightening, shameful, humbling, you name it.

I prayed for 22 months for God to let me keep my husband, for God to keep my husband out of jail.  And I wasn’t the only one.  We had tons of people praying for my husband not to go to jail.  And when that is not the answer I got, part of me began to wonder:  “What’s the point of praying if God’s just going to do what He’s going to do?”  “Why bother?”

This led me to another painful realization.  While God wants us to pray to Him and to ask Him for what we want, in accordance with His will, He will not be manipulated by our prayers.  God intends to have all of creation glorify Him.  That includes us.  If the greater glory comes from my husband’s going to jail, if God’s purposes are served even better by that, then He may just allow that pain in our lives for a season.  But that pain will not go untreated.  Jeremiah 29:11 states that He knows the plans He has for us; plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.  Now, in my finite mind, I cannot comprehend how it is for our good that my husband goes to jail.  Surely it cannot be for my good, for my husband’s good, or for our children’s good.  Surely not.  Right?  But the Bible says otherwise.  The thing is:  that good is not necessarily immediate, and it is not necessarily earthly.  But whatever it is, there is no way that God is going to allow us to come out of this thing worse off than when we went in.  He is faithful to those who are faithful to Him, to those who call on His name.

And we have called.  Believe me!  And not just us, but so many others as well.  Did He just neglect all of us?  I don’t think so.

See, for 22 months, while I was praying for this whole thing just to go away, God was sending me scripture verses to comfort me.  And when I was really desperate, He would send people my way who, invariably, gave me those same scriptures as confirmation that I had heard from God.  They would always begin by saying something to the effect of:  “You know, I was reading today and I came across this passage that I made me think of you and I just had to share it.”  And wouldn’t you know, they shared with me the very thing that God had shown me.

And for the last month, my house has been full of people who know our family, people who know the situation and the absurdity of it, who have been here to help us – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – in this time of need.

And that question God posed to me about whether or not I would still love Him if I didn’t get the answer I wanted:  Well, see, God knows me.  I have prayed for years and years that my faith would mean more to me than just getting my ticket on the train to heaven punched.  As far back as high school, I knew there had to be more to being a Christian than saying “Yes” to Jesus and then, just going to church on Sundays and Wednesdays for the rest of my life.  There had to be something deeper.  It had to MEAN SOMETHING.  Back in high school, that was about as deep as I got, but I prayed that God would make that a reality for me.  I had no idea what kind of a prayer that was.  I had no idea that I was offering myself up to God in such a way as to let Him know that He had full permission to make me understand just what I had prayed.  I didn’t, that is, until the last 22 months.

You see, since I was raised in church, and believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, I know that my salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ is ALL I’VE GOT.  It is my only security.  Not my husband.  Not my children.  Not my church.  Not my parents.  Just Jesus.  I knew that.  I believed it.  Well…..to be honest, I think I only thought I knew it.  And I think I only thought I believed it.  It wasn’t until those statements were tested did the reality set it.  And during the testing, I was wondering if I would pass muster.  I was hoping I would pass.  But see, the thing about testing is:  until you have gone through it, you don’t really know what your faith is like.  You don’t know how strong a teabag is until you put it in hot water, right?!

And here I am on the back side of this, kinda.  And on the front side of something else.  But still, it feels like we are on the back side.  And where do I stand?  What is my answer to that question now?  Will I still love God if I don’t get my way?

Now, I can say, with my head held high, YES!  I do still love Him.

I did not get the answer I wanted, but I have had every need met.  My children have had every need met.  Yes, it’s still early.  Yes, there’s still money in the bank and nobody has gotten sick yet.  No, the appeal has not started yet, so there is still hope that we can win it.  But, I am blooming where I am planted.  I am not banking on the appeal.  I am praying that it goes through, but trusting God regardless.  See, I prayed for 22 months for something I didn’t get, and I thought I would be devastated if I didn’t get my way.  But now, when I pray about the appeal, the idea of not getting my way doesn’t bother me.  Now, 7 years is 7 years, and I know God will make something good out of this time my husband is away whether the appeal goes through or not, whether my husband is gone for 7 years or not.  Everything comes to an end; good stuff and bad stuff alike.  So this will not last.  This, too, shall past.  And once it has, we will be even better off than before!  Why?  Because we have Jesus.  Because we know the story.  We know who wins in the end, and it ain’t Satan.  So, really, we have already won.

Thank you all so much for your time.  I hope that this has been encouraging to you.  I will write more later.

Blessed & then some,
Patty