Wednesday, April 30, 2014

God has nothing left for me

There are things that I know and there are times when these things that I know hit me in such a profound way that it changes me completely. I sing songs like "In Christ Alone" where I belt out the lyric "The wrath of God was satisfied." I read the Word of God which says "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" I rejoice because my faith lies in the resurrection and the truth that Jesus died for my sins and rose that I might live with Him eternally. That's good stuff.

But, this past Sunday when the Pastor was preaching he said these words "If Jesus took the punishment of the world and received the FULL wrath of God at Calvary, Is there any wrath left for my sin?' The answer is NO, there is nothing left for me. So, now when I sing these words... "Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin on Him was laid; Here in the death of Christ I live." ...I sing them reminded of the depth of His love and the completeness of Christ's Gospel. God has no wrath left for me for I am in Christ Jesus!

There is a special joy in being part of a Sunday church worship team, especially when you do multiple services. We open up the service with music, we worship, we get to listen to the Pastor preach and then we get to do it all over again, but the second time, we lead the worship from a place of having been preached the Word of God and the words we sing take on a new meaning!

This past Sunday when I sand the song "Man of Sorrows" in the second service, my heart fluttered and my eyes welled as I sang the truth of God's wrath being fulfilled with a deeper understanding and renewed passion. If it were up to me, we would have done five more services, listened his sermon five more times and sang the songs with a new passion every time.

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh,could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:1-11

*In Christ Alone by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty
The importance of realizing that God's wrath has been satisfied in light of this song LINK

Friday, April 25, 2014

Our First College Graduate

Today, my husband and I were able to witness our firstborn walk the stage and receive His diploma. From the heart of this college drop-out, I have to say I stand in admiration of my son, Chris, for this accomplishment and all the hard work he did to make it to this day.

As parents who have not adopted the practice of paying for our children's college (mostly because we simply can't) seeing how he worked diligently to save his money, put himself through two years of Community college debt free and go on to the University for another three years, work hard to earn as many scholarships as possible and not have to take out massive loans is pretty impressive to this Mom & Dad.

So I stand in admiration not only for the excellence he showed in his studies, but everything it took for him to be able to thrive, succeed and finish his education as a Magna Cum Laude honored graduate.  Just so proud of my baby boy!

And I am very thankful for a place like Grand Canyon University that not only educated and trained him to be a leader in secondary education, but nurtured him in his faith and walk with Christ. Seeing his relationship with the Lord bloom over these past few years has by far been the most rewarding treasure in my heart.

Today was a good day, and seeing him walk the stage blessed my heart.

As a side note, he wasn't planning to walk, but when he was online trying to pay graduation fees, he couldn't navigate off the page to pay for fees without purchasing a cap and gown. Since he didn't have time to figure it out, he just decided to buy the cap and gown and walk. So for that internet navigation error, I am thankful! Thanks internet glitch, you made my day!

Proud Parents

                   Our Babies Aaron, Chris, Miriam          

 Glad someone brought flowers
Chris and his friend Tracie

Commencement Address ~ Maj. Dan Rooney, USAF (Ret,)

                                                              Dinner at Spinato's

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Backroom Prayers- "You See Me Through"

Oftentimes, I sit in my backroom with my piano and make up songs, not to record or sell, but simply as a way to worship my Lord. This is how my music ministry started (sitting at the piano singing prayers to my Savior) and this is what will never change. My songs are prayers to my Lord..... Imperfect, flawed, not completely structured, but simply what comes out as I sit and worship. This is what I prayed today. 

Welcome to my "Backroom Prayers"

"You See Me Through" by Mia Koehne c.2014

You are My savior and I need You every hour.
You part the waters of my sorrow and my doubt.

You see me through
You see me through
You see me through
And I will worship You

Trials and temptations come all common to this world
But God your faithful giving strength to do Your will

You see me through
You see me through
You see me through
And I will worship You

Though I may wander, I may fall
Your grace sufficient for it all
My sin so calloused and so mean
Your mercy flowing like the stream of life
Now I'm alive!

You are My Savior and I need You every hour.
You part the waters of my sorrow and my doubt.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fossil Creek Adventure

Easter Monday!
My husband, nephew and daughter (aka, the Principal, the Biology teacher and the student) all had the day off. So, we spent it being led by one of our favorite staff members, Joe, as he gathered a group of high school students to head to Fossil Creek near Strawberry, AZ.

It was a nice drive up north. A nice drive, that is, until the last 15 miles of bumpy dirt road that we maxed out at 15 miles per hour. About half way in we saw that our first van had stopped and the kids appeared to be looking over the cliff.

Obviously we were curious, so we got out to join them. So began our first lesson in driving on bumpy roads with no rails and steep cliffs. 
Lesson 1: Don't drive over the cliff.

Old fallen car

The Girls

The Boys

After an hour drive on the road to the creek, we quickly realized, it was all worth it. Every bump!

I think what blows my mind is how in the midst of the desert, if you follow just the right path, you end up in what seems to be a tropical paradise. The water was clear as glass, with electrifying shades of blue and green. I forgot that I was in Arizona and for a moment though I was back on the sandy shores of Haiti. 

Upstream. (The trail we would take)
Mr. G (the Biology teacher/my nephew)

 Downstream                                       Upstream   

At this point we began hiking. I had heard rumors of hiking adventures with Mr. Richter (our trip leader), most of which can be summarized by the fact that even if there is no path, the land can still be hiked.
Lesson 2: You don't need a path when you can see the top of the mountain. Make you own path!

So the first group went ahead followed by my group which included my husband and two other young men. We quickly figured out that the only way (that we could see) was straight up the river as we saw no path and much of the ground was thick with bush (and bugs). I am thankful that there isn't (much) video footage of me trying to make my way upstream. Trying to get my footing on slippery rocks, sudden depth changes and a strong current make for an interesting trek. Here is the first current that I tread through safely. However, this same current on my way back actually picked me up and pushed me against the rocks and down the little fall. I gained a new appreciation for water, rapids and currents. Very powerful!
Lesson 3: Respect the power of water

The rapid that got the best of me!

Venturing on to our second destination was a favorite for the students as they enjoyed the water, the view and the jumps!

 It was a great day. Fun to be with the students, fun to be with my husband, daughter & nephew, fun to experience a bit of paradise in the desert with the people that I love and respect.

Hubby, Bob & me
Kendra & My daughter, Miriam

Today was worth every bump and bruise. 
At this point, I have to over share, so I am giving you warning to turn back now if you want to leave this story on a high note.

As with every adventure and journey there are always a few mishaps. We had a bunch, as this is what happens when you hike the untrodden trail and make your way up stream and downstream grabbing on to branches and anything else that will keep you from going under. ENJOY!

The Ouchie Segment
(All in a days adventure)

Lesson 5: “How you climb a mountain 
is more important than reaching the top.” Yvon Chouinard

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter 2014

Jesus Has Risen-The Good News-The Gospel-Our Salvation

Matthew 28:1-10

"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them,“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Gospel saves. John 3:16 
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday 2014

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not Gonna Feel Guilty Anymore-Heaven IS For Real

I am writing today, not to stir up controversy, to argue with you if it is really true or not, but more as a comfort to those, who like me, may be feeling a little hidden guilt and shame. I write because I read a blog that encouraged me not to feel guilty and so if I can do that for someone else, I count it as a blessing.

I have friends who are very excited and I am watching my Facebook and other social media feeds that show great excitement about the new movie "Heaven is For Real."  I have been encouraged to read the book and I have been encouraged to watch the movie. I sometimes express a little pessimism, which is quickly corrected by friends who hold to the fact that this story is true and this boy truly ascended into heaven and descended back to earth. So then, I shrink back and say "ok" feeling ashamed for doubting this precious little boy. Or I simply ignore all the talking and scroll past the advertisements in my social media feed.

Either way, I do both of these things because at the root of it, I feel guilty for not believing the story. Does that make me a non-believer, a doubting Thomas, a cynic and a pessimist against Christianity? NO, It does not!

We are all entitled to our opinions (as evidenced so clearly in America) and at the end of the day what I believe about this is just that, my opinion, but I pray that it's an opinion based on the truth of God's Word and my seeking to understand. So with that I just want to extend a little comfort for others like me who are struggling with doubting this child who shows such child-like faith and declares the joy of Jesus. I also want to encourage you who are struggling like me, to please open the Bible and then look, seek, pray and discern for yourselves above anything that I have to say.

Please know, I have not read the book, "Heaven is For Real"...none of it. I don't plan to see the movie, so my opinion may very well be unfounded. The most I have done is listened to a radio interview with the boy the other day on local radio, seen a few snippets of the trailer and that's about it. So, please keep that in mind.

In my journey to understand the fascination of this story, there are two pieces that have been most helpful to me. I'm only putting out two of the many I have read. I  want to keep it short and also encourage you to seek for yourself.

First is from Tim Challis and his Book Review of "Heaven is for Real" where I found great comfort in his closing words "So reject this book. Do not read it. Do not believe it. And do not feel guilty doing so."

The second is a snippet from David Platt author of "Radical" where he is discussing "Heaven Is For Real"

And most powerfully are a couple verses from the Bible which everything else flows out of.

Proverbs 30:4-6
"Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar."

John 3:13
"No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

Now, I don't claim to be some amazing Bible scholar, all I have is the Word of God and I seek to be discerning. I miss the mark on many things. What I do know is that God does not want me to operate in guilt, so I will say the hard things and comfort others that may be struggling as I did.

Yes, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL! No doubt about that, but not gonna feel guilty anymore for not seeing the movie, reading the book or questioning the story. 

The Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ saves!

John 3:16 
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Heaven is for Real, Heaven Is For Real, Heaven Is For Real and so is HELL.


Just as a tag.....after I posted this, I got a comment from a women I greatly respect. I really don't know her views on the movie, the book or any of it, which is great, because it's irrelevant. I like what she said, so I want to share it.

"The Bible says to guard our heart because out of it spring the issues of life. No one, Christian or not, should ever be criticized for guarding their heart in the manner they are taught or lead to do so. I think whether you agree or don't agree with the author and his work is not the point here, at all. The point is your (our) freedom to express our thoughts and feelings, which is a precious gift from God. And so are you -- a precious gift from God!" ~Kathy H. K.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spirit Of Cotton Award 2014-Bob Koehne

I was debating about writing this today. I have had a horrible migraine all day, the nausea from it has not subsided, the pain is horrible even as I write and my vision is so-so. I am battling a bit of depression and I am easily moved to outbursts of tears for no reason. At the moment, I don't feel much emotion about anything. I just want to crawl up in bed and do nothing. So, why on earth would I choose to write now about the man I love the most and an event that meant the world to me?

I choose to write it now for all those very reasons. It’s easy to write when I am up, have butterflies in my stomach and I am on cloud nine, but today I writing the things I know to be true regardless of emotions.

First of all: Thank you Kelly, Kate, Cindy, Pastor Jeff & Joyce, Jimmy, Jim, Drew, Tom, Glen & Deb, Bob & Linda, Josh & Alison, Matt, Paulie, our children Chris, Aaron & Miriam for seeing in Bob the light of Christ and surrounding our family on a night that, to us and hopefully for you, was a big deal in the Koehne household.

Last night, my family and several people that are dear to my husband and I were treated by The Phoenix Suns to come to the last home basketball game to witness my husband, Bob, receive the Spirit of Cotton award. It’s a big deal. Why? Because there are a lot of awards a coach can receive that reflect on their stats, wins and documented success. This award, however, acknowledges something beyond wins (this was his 2nd losing season in 20 years. go figure!)

“The Spirit of Cotton Award, named in memory of former Suns’ head coach, Cotton Fitzsimmons, who passed away in July 2004, honors a high school coach in Arizona who consistently demonstrates the best qualities of a coach, educator, mentor and community leader.”

This award came because his players and students believed him to be a man that carried those exceptional qualities and shared that with the Suns Charities organization.

As the women that has been married to Bob Koehne for over 20 years, I know firsthand how deserving he is of this award. As a wife it is encouraging when others see what you already know to be true.

From the heart of his son "My dad has been an absolutely amazing coach, mentor, educator, and example to me all my life and I'm so glad he is receiving this award. I can't think of a more deserving man."-Aaron Koehne

With that said. The greatest thing about this award is the way in which my husband received it … “It is a privilege to be able to coach young men each year and teach not only the game of basketball, but more importantly, life lessons. Oftentimes, success in sports is measured in wins and losses, but the longer I coach the more I recognize true success in high school athletics is measured in the development and maturity of the young men I have the opportunity to coach and mentor.”-Bob Koehne

For Bob, this award was not given to him, but to the team and to the school as a testimony to the opportunity and platform that the Lord has given him and so many others to witness and train up the next generation.

Bob is an honorable man, full of integrity, forgiven and forgiving. He has dedicated his life to serve the Lord, to me his wife, to our children, to Christian education and coaching basketball (as evidenced on the night of our middle child’s birth, which I will now publicly admit, that I sent him off to coach the game with my blessing.)

If I seem to be bragging a bit about my husband, it is true. And even if I wanted to, I don’t even have the energy today to exaggerate, simply stating the facts. Even though awards, trophies and accolades will fade the heart of what is true will remain forever. Bob is a forgiven man who loves the Lord and serves those God puts in front of him. He takes his forgiveness and forgives others. He pours into the lives of so many so that they can pour into the lives of others. He is a wonderful man. That is true no matter if I am up or down, on the high side of being bi-polar or the low side. Facts are facts. And for this wife, remembering that in my ups and downs is crucial.

Our reality is that we have nothing to boast in except Jesus Christ and it is because of Him that I boast in what God has done through this man, my husband, your colleague, your coach, your child's coach, your friend, your brother in Christ... Bob Koehne.

Enjoy some more photos from the night. Well done Bob Koehne! Well done Valley Lutheran High School. Soli Deo Gloria

Phoenix Suns Charities Link

Friends that came out (They got to sit in the fun section!)
Friends who came out!
A BIG hug from Joanne Fitzsimmons

Receiving $10,000 to the Valley Lutheran Athletic Dept

Picture of the Ring Bling

Thanks Deb G. for all the pics from the night!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time Out!!! I'm Not Ready

Feeling kinda down tonight. Part of it is that I am literally very tired. Part of it is my natural body rhythm after I have been on the road and I begin to decompress. Most of it, however,  is the new reality that I am walking into.....#PreEmptyNestSyndrome

Spent the evening sending my daughter, my last of three, my baby-girl off to her senior prom. I am not a highly emotional person when it comes to milestones, but this one got me. Prom seems to be one of the first of the many last events as the school year comes to a close.

I know that time goes fast, but I'm just not ready for it to go this fast. I look at my friends who are the same age or older than me chasing after toddlers longing to get past the diaper stage. My words of "Cherish every moment, they will be gone in the blink of an eye" seem pointless and un-reassuring. Yet, here I stand, just barely in my 40's with a son graduating college next week, a daughter about to enter college and a middle son in the midst of it. How did this happen?

Even more amazing of "How did this happen?".... Is how did these kids happen to turn out so amazing? When people ask me about my kids, I tend to say "They are NOTHING like me when I was their age!" That is a huge compliment. My children love the Lord, love each other (more now than when they were younger) and respect their parents. They are active in school activities, Bible study, serving others in need....They don't drink, they don't smoke and they don't do drugs. See they are nothing like me when I was their age.

And honestly I don't know how that happened....not sure how I didn't completely screw them up. Kudos to their Dad and his constant presence in their lives. The other thing I know is that for reasons beyond what I can imagine, the Lord had and continues to have His hand of protection on them. There really is no other explanation. Basically, He protected them from me when I couldn't.

Back to the point....I'm down, I'm a bit depressed, but still I rejoice at the gifts my babies are and always will be as they grow, walk out their calling in life and begin to impact the next generation. I have to constantly trust that God loves them more than I do, so His hands are truly the safest place for them to be. But it's still hard to see my baby girl grow up.

Most days, I just want them to curl back up and crawl up on my lap and cuddle with their Mama. But instead I get to send baby-girl off to prom  (glad that she went with friends and no date...totally not ready for that!)

To my Miriam Evangel: I love you and I am so proud off you. Walking you off to your last Prom was pure joy and such an honor. My heart is full and in awe of the young women that you are and the women that you will become in Christ!

Love the bright colors this year!

There She Goes!

Trusting God for the future.
The past..treasured  in my heart forever. 

Blink of an eye!
Love of the Brother!