Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Considering some of my friends need some humor this holiday season, I'd like to contribute a story from my daddy's red-necked past.
My daddy's mom was the meekest person I have ever known on the face of the planet. Had I not known grandma I would not know what meek meant. How she remained meek while raising 3 knot-headed, red-necked, trouble-making boys, I'll never know. My grandma was vertically challenged and portly, maybe even fluffy, but she was always so neat and clean. Daddy was a skinny, gangly runt with his dark hair slicked back.
Now when my daddy was in high school his daddy gave him an old, Nash Rambler. Nothing like the one pictured here. Because by old, I mean a rust-bucket that would back-fire. As a matter of fact, the brakes had to be pumped over and over, and he had to pray they would stop in time. It was old when daddy got it, but it didn't get any better. In order to open the door to this jewel, daddy had to put his foot on the car to yank open the door. When the person was seated, he would have to rare back and slam it shut, but that didn't mean it stayed shut. (Must not have had duct tape back then.)
One day when daddy was a junior or senior in high school, he went to pick up grandma from her sister's house. He yanked the door open, got grandma settled and slammed the door. Once in the driver's position, he told grandma whatever she did "DON'T LEAN ON THE DOOR." With that being said, he backed out of the driveway and began driving home. He made a right turn off the street which was perfectly fine because his elbow was hooked on the arm rest, so it wouldn't fly open. Then he made a left turn. After completing the turn, he looked over at grandma and SHE WAS GONE! Her feet were hooked under the dash and her torso was hanging out of the car. He pulled over and laughing he helped her up reminding her not to lean on the door. Her rolled hair and make-up nicely applied was a mere memory for the brief spin had sense waves of wind through her freshly curled hair. She did not see the humor in any of it whatsoever, but of course, daddy did. To hear him tell it you would have tears running down your face.
I don't know about you, but this season, I've been holding on by my toes. I didn't plan anything extra. I turned things down, and yet life still about ran me over. The unpredictable happens. The predictable happens. Life happens. I challenge you to find the humor. Sometimes it's harder than others, but search for those pearls. Maybe you need to make a phone call to a friend you haven't seen in a long time and start telling about the funny things you did in your youth or maybe it's calling a storyteller who you know will get you to laughing in no time. I find when I laugh it relieves the weight on my shoulders even if it is momentary.
Grandma is in heaven this Christmas. If she doesn't get sainthood (and we aren't Catholic), then I don't know who qualifies!
I wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
My son is 5 years old, and during this holiday season, I wonder when Mary was raising Jesus and she would look into His face, what did she wonder? What did she think? She didn't know what He was there to do. She didn't know the kind of end He would come to. She just knew that He was her baby boy. When He went into gales of laughter, she didn't see His purpose in life. She saw her baby boy. When He had nightmares or skinned His knee, she didn't see a Savior. She saw her boy. When she had to discipline Him, did she keep in mind He was God's son or did she just know He had to be brought into line…or did she have to discipline Him at all? The children she had after Him – would she compare them to Him? Mary was his momma.
Mary was a mom. If you are a mom, you know what that means. You know what it's like to hold that baby, to kiss those sweet cheeks. She was a momma responsible for raising a Savior. We think we have a daunting job raising God-loving kids today? Think about raising the Son of God. Ya'll, she was a young mom loving her baby not knowing she was raising a sacrifice, our sacrifice. I'm sorry, ya'll, but if I thought for one minute I would have to sacrifice my son or my daughter I would go on the run. You would see a side of me that you would consider dangerous. But God was gracious to Mary. He gave her what she needed when she needed it. The Bible said she pondered things in her heart. That was that momma's intuition. God was giving her glimpses to prepare her. He gives us what we need when we need it. He is gracious to us as we raise our children. He gives us glimpses and that momma's intuition to prepare us when we need it.
God knows what we can handle when we can handle it. He knew what Mary could manage and what would be too much. God is gracious that way. I don't know what my son or my daughter will go through in their lives. I don't know the struggles or difficulties they will have. I don't know who they will marry or if they will marry. If I knew what was around the corner, I would do my best to protect them and prevent them from ever being harmed or hurt, I would move heaven and earth to keep them safe. I am fierce about my kids. But by knowing what is ahead and protecting them from it, I would prevent them from growing and would limit their depth. Sometimes we have to place our children safely into the hands of the Almighty knowing that He loves them more and wants only the best for them. I feared putting my firstborn Erin into God's hand for fear that He would take her home to be with Him. But then I realized He would do whatever He needed to do, and I couldn't stop Him. By choosing to put her into God's hands, I chose to trust Him, and I acknowledge that He could take care of her better than I could. He could love her better than I could. Not only does He want the best, but He knows what is best even if it means that we or our children have to go through the hard and difficult times.
Just like we can't see what is going to happen in our own lives or the lives of our children, we have to choose to savor every minute we have with those we love. Mary just had to love and cherish the baby she held. She kissed those sweet cheeks and held Him to her. She held the Savior of the world in her arms and in her heart which is where we need to carry Him every day. It is so easy to love a sweet baby. Remember this season, that our salvation, the road to our redemption began with the birth of a baby to a momma named Mary. Put yourself in her shoes. Look at your children through her eyes the way she looked at her baby boy. Then remember the sacrifice her baby boy grew up to accomplish. My guess is Mary may have thought she couldn't handle seeing her baby boy now grown man hanging on a cross. The grief, the overwhelming grief she must have experienced, but God did not abandon that momma. He was with her every step of the way. There are some mommas who are grieving this season for a child who is lost, for a child who has died. My heart goes out to you. May the God of peace comfort you.
I know this seems as if I'm rambling, but I'm just writing down what comes to my heart and mind. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart – not then and not now. Cherish every day. Ponder things in your heart. Seek Christ first. Trust God with your loves. Merry Christmas.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Shopping for Christmas presents, picking up the children from school, going to events after school, and then there are the parties for school, church and work. To top it all off, I've received a new computer program that does some link analysis that I'll be doing for my whole unit; I'm working my desk and a coworker's desk; plus I've been handed a project that is going on three decades involving three different families that are now converging into one. I have practiced using the word "no." AND I didn't schedule a lot of parties. As a matter of fact, I backed out of some, but it doesn't seem to matter – more things are getting dumped in my lap at the end of this year. How does that happen?
The good thing is my time is in God's hands. My footsteps have been ordained if I will just walk in them. My focus remains clear. I just need to stay focused. It is okay if some things don't get done. People won't die. My friends won't disown me. Mass hysteria will not ensue. Riots will not take over on every front. Life will go on, and I will live to face another shopping season. BUT what impression have I left on people for this season. Have I shown them I know who is important that I know whose I am? Have I used gracious speech and exercise loving kindness? When someone assists me, did I acknowledge them and looked them in the face? Was I patient realizing the person behind the counter was another one of God's children? Because when all is said and done, what happens to me in this temporal moment doesn't compare to how I have treated others especially during this season when I should be reflecting my Father's disposition the most.
I encourage you to limit your coming and goings as much as possible. It's okay to say "No, thank you. We can't." I encourage you to breathe in through your nose and out with your mouth in big, deep breaths and see, acknowledge those around you. I encourage you to remember this is temporary -- the stress and fatigue you are feeling, but your witness may be what affects someone's life the most.
Keep your chin up. Keep your tiara in its place remembering your represent your Father.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Proverbs 25:2 "God delights in concealing things; scientists delight in discovering things." (The Message) Don't you just love this verse? It's like He play "Hide and Go Seek" with His children knowing what joy they will have when they discover what He has hidden especially for them. The key is we have to seek. What are you searching for? What are you wanting God to reveal to you?
We will be starting "The Elf on the Shelf" tradition this year in our home. During the holidays an elf shows up to keep a list of all the good or naughty things children do and reports to Santa every night. In the morning, he returns to another location in the house, and the children have to search for him. It should be interesting. But as adults, we think sometimes that we've outgrown the Hide-And-Go-Seek game, but in reality we should never outgrow it because it gives our Lord and Savior such joy when He reveals to us or allows us to uncover and discover a truth that He had hidden.
I enjoy journaling even though I don't do it as much as I use to because of the blogging, but I enjoy going back reading what has happened in my life or in the lives of those I love. Because I can see a fuller picture of the events because of hind-sight, I can see how God has hidden things throughout my journey only to be revealed at the proper time. Have you ever had someone in your life for a season, and when the season was over, so was the person? It's not magical. God knew you were going to have a need; He prepared for the need and when you look back to discover how He did it. It reminds me of the time when my sister decided to make a throw quilt with the pictures of our children on it to give to my mom her first day of chemotherapy. My sister had never made a quilt and didn't even really know how to begin. At the time she was working at a nursing home, and one of the residents had family in. A family member heard Lori was going to try to make a quilt and came to check it out. This lady's hobby was quilt making, and she was in tending to the critical care of her loved one. She walked Lori through each step of the process, and when Lori was done, so was the lady's visit.
God's word is living and breathing. It can breathe new life into a stale Christian. Have you ever read a verse several times over the years, and then when in a crisis or in need that verse is suddenly so applicable it's as if He meant it for you for such a time as this? We have to seek.
Sometimes we have to seek something for which to be thankful. Not everyone will have a good Thanksgiving. They are bearing through it with people they don't enjoy. They are dealing with grief over someone who is not there. Hurt feelings. Hurt hearts. That is when it is imperative that we seek because when we find what God has hidden there is joy for us as well.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God…sound familiar? God wants to provide. He wants to give to you because it gives Him great joy, but You have to seek.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Have you ever awakened in the morning with your teeth clinched, and you could just feel a bad attitude crawling up your back resting on your shoulders making knots out of your muscles raising your shoulders to where your earlobes normally are? Snarling and biting your tongue the best you can because the least little thing is jumping on your last nerve? Oh, how I hate it, and I woke up like that for the past two mornings. Anybody going where I'm driving?
Sunday morning Satan was all over me, and I felt overwhelmed, raw, and on edge – And that was the good side of me. One of the greeters at church who is also on my women in ministry team asked me how I was doing. I was honest. I said, "I'm making it." It is just all over my heart. I have nothing nice to say to or about much, and that is just not me nor do I like it.
I went on my way setting things up, and I headed to my office. There she was again. "Kristy, I sense your joy is gone. I know this because I feed off your joy, and it's not there this morning. What's going on?"
I had just blogged on our Women IN Ministry's blog at www.connectinghearts---onewomanatatime.blogspot.com about choosing joy, and here Satan was all over me robbing me of my joy. I've been fighting him ever since. (I really hate it when something I've said or something I've written comes back to bite me on the backside.)
I began that I had awoken in a funk, and I was tired of single-parenting. I felt like I wasn't being a good mom because everything was rubbing a raw nerve. I knew I wasn't much fun to be around either. How could I possibly encourage anyone today? How could I possibly be used of God?
Last night my family and I went to our church's Thanksgiving meal, and I have to say the fellowship went a long ways in encouraging me and lifting my spirits. But the next morning, here I was back down in the dregs with knots on top of knots. I keep telling myself, "I'll have 24 hours by myself once Patrick and the kids leave for Mississippi tomorrow morning. I'll use that time to get refocused before joining them."
I then turned to my quiet time because if I ever needed one it was today. I was reading My Utmost for His Highest, and as if he were speaking directly to me these are the things that stood out:
- "What we must beware of is not damage to our belief in God but damage to our Christian disposition or state of mind. 'Take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.' Malachi 2:16. Our state of mind is powerful in its effects. It can be the enemy that penetrates right into our soul and distracts our mind from God…Until we get back into a quiet mood before Him, our faith is of no value, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is what rules our lives." I NEED QUIET ALONE TIME WITH GOD WITHOUT INTERRUPTION OR DISTRACTIONS.
- "Another thing that distracts us is our passion for vindication. St. Augustine prayed, 'O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.' Such a need for constant vindication destroys our soul's faith in God." YES, LORD, HELP ME TO SUBMIT AND RELEASE.
- "When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede."
My encourager did it right. She took me aside, raised my eyes to focus on what is important in life without criticizing once, but ultimately, it's up to me to keep my eyes focused in the right location. Sooner or later, Satan will leave me alone, and this weight on my shoulders, this heaviness of spirit will be lifted. There is always hope.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Blue is my son's highly-treasured, blue elephant that he has had since he was born. Of all the little critters given to my son, he instinctively chose Blue to be his cherished love. And Blue has been well-loved. When Pearce needs to calm himself, he uses the tip of Blue's trunk to rub against the palm of his hand or under his nose. The stuffing behind Blue's shoulders was non-existent because Pearce had carried Blue under his arm for years. If you take Blue down the nursery wing of our church or school or go in the preschool area, people recognize Blue as belonging to Pearce. And while many people recognize Blue and have held him it's only Pearce's love that gives Blue any value, any worth on this earth. Blue's value is priceless.
Something tragic happened November 9th weekend. Pearce found a hole in a seam where Blue's mouth would be if Blue had been made with a mouth. When he discovered it, Pearce was gravely concerned. There was no other alternative, but to allow Blue to spend the night somewhere else in order to be repaired. As a matter of fact, we thought Blue was going to be gone a week! Sunday morning, Pearce bravely handed Blue over to Mrs. Jackie who lovingly took Blue into her hands, cradled it, looked at the hole, and said, "I can fix this." Then in her inspection of Blue, she realized that some of Blue's stuffing was gone. "Do you want me to put more stuffing into Blue?" She asked me. I told her if she could do it, please.
That afternoon I received a phone call from Mrs. Jackie saying she had added some stuffing and stitched Blue up good as new. That night was a little stressful for Pearce without his Blue in his bed, in his arms, but he knew that Blue was in good hands. Tears were still shed.
Monday morning could not get here fast enough. Patrick took the kids to school, and they headed straight to Mrs. Sunni's desk where Blue would be waiting. When Patrick handed Blue to Pearce, Pearce exclaimed, "He's heavier. He ate!" What a joyful, peace-giving moment to have Blue returned to the one who loves him immeasurably. Patrick asked Pearce if we could retire Blue since he was full, fixed and returned in good condition. Pearce said, "Yeah, that's not going to happen."
Pearce will continue to love on his beloved Blue. He will continue to sling him around by his trunk. He will continue to take Blue everywhere he goes. And he will continue to love on Blue daily meaning Blue will need more repairs in the future.
You know, even though Pearce loves Blue with all his heart and he would mourn and grieve for him, Pearce had no clue as to how to fix Blue. He had to hand Blue over to a master seamstress who not only recognize Blue's tear but also saw a need that Pearce hadn't. Blue needed to be fixed on the inside -- restuffed.
Who of you have loved someone but couldn't fix them? Who of you have loved someone that has been your comforter but when they were hurt or something was wrong you didn't know how to repair or mend them? Who of you have been in a relationship that is strained or difficult at best? Do what Pearce did. Take them to the Master and leave them.
The Master not only sees the obvious things you do, but He sees the internal things that need healing and fixing that you cannot. It may grieve your soul to leave that person in the hands of the Master because that means relinquishing what you considered as "control" over the situation. It's also scary to leave that person because you don't want them to think you've turned your back or abandoned them. It's scary because you don't know what is going to happen to them. What if that person is you? Are you afraid of what the Master may do?
You may be the only one who loves your Beloved as deeply as you and you may find your Beloved as precious and priceless as Pearce does Blue, but it is the Master who died for your Beloved. And there is no greater love than this that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Here is the bottom line, the Master isn't called "The Master" for nothing. Our God and Savour knows all that has been and all that will be. He wants to work it all out for the good of those who love Him. It is called TRUST! Trust Him with the one who is hurt. Trust that He not only sees what you see but things you aren't even aware of that needs healing. Place your Beloved on the altar. Step back and keep your hands off and wait. Pray for a healing. Trust for a healing. Pray for a return to you. The Father who was so eager to have the prodigal son return in the Bible is also the Father who wants you to trust Him with your Beloved. Will you?
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Today, Erin said something rather profound for an 8 ½ year-old, little girl while she and her brother were playing super heroes. She came up and told me, "There is nothing great about being a normal kid." The conversation she was having with me was about being labeled "normal" really isn't a sign of greatness. Can I tell you how that pleased me? I could be wrong in my train of thought, but bear with me for a moment.
Being "normal" by today's societal standards are not the standards that Christ set out for us to follow. Children disrespecting parents and authority in general. Children ruling the home.
I don't want my daughter to feel like she has to fit in, in order to be confident in who God created her to be. I don't want my daughter to receive her value from her peers. I want it to come from her family who loves her and from her relationship with Christ Jesus.
Then the other aspect, why be ordinary when God has made you to be extraordinary? It was a quick glimpse she received, but tonight when I lay down with her, I plan on hitting on this subject more and encourage her in her thinking.
God doesn't make us cookie-cutter style. You are an original.
God doesn't make want you to be anyone else. He has a special purpose designed that you are to fill.
God wants you to be the extraordinary person that He knows you are because that is how He made you.
God uses His children in extraordinary way for His glory and His purpose and to our benefit. Is that awesome or what?
Thank you, God, for an awesome kid.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
God's timing is perfect. It is not necessarily my preferred timing. As a matter of fact, I think it was in a Beth Moore Bible study she quoted a woman who said, "God's timing is perfect, but He misses a few great times to be early." I'm not always the most patient when it comes to God's timing even though I know it is perfect. Case in point, I'm sitting at work wanting to be working on Women IN Ministry, but God's timing hasn't allowed me to quit my day job to be employed full time at the church ministering to women and working towards another degree in women's ministry.
Today during my quiet time, I was reading from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and it reminded me of a few things I'd like to share.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
A few weeks ago, I took my son to buy shoes, and his feet were clearly different sizes as well. The salesman looked up at me and asked if I had the same problem. I laughed, and I said, "I sure do."
When God adopts us as His children, He wants us to walk in His footsteps, in His likeness. We are to be known as His child, by His name, as Christians.
He knows we aren't perfect. He doesn't expect us to be. Otherwise, He wouldn't have had to send His only Son to die for us. It doesn't matter that we aren't biologically His. He still wants us to behave in such a manner that reflects Him.
Whatever it is that you are doing in your life, is it pleasing to your Heavenly Father? If someone sees you doing a thing or acting in such a manner, will they know you are different and belong to Him? Do you reflect your Heavenly Father?
Society has blurred Christians' vision as to what is acceptable. Society has their standard and Christ has His. It's not okay to live with a guy before you are married. It's not okay to have sex outside of marriage. It's not okay to have affairs even if it is only over the computer. It is not okay to over-indulge. It's not okay to gossip. It's not okay to cast judgment on someone else. It is not okay. Sin is sin, and we need to face it head on.
I am not here to judge because I am not worthy of being a judge because I have sinned. I just want you to hold the mirror up for yourself. It's not pleasant. It's not easy, but redemption and forgiveness are free gifts. We have to turn from our sinful ways. We can't expect God to keep blessing us if we keep living in the sin, can we?
Then there are those who have repented, who have turned from their sinful ways but are still dealing with the guilt. When God forgives He forgives for good. He chooses not to return to the matter. But there are those of us who still pick up the burden of guilt every day. Let me encourage you to lay it down just as soon as you pick it up. Life is much sweeter without the extra weight.
It's time we acted as daughters of the King. We should follow in His footsteps being gracious, forgiving and in-line with His will. This is my goal.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Occasionally, I wonder what my kids would think if I broke away from all the safety precautions we observe today. When my family went to Hot Springs a couple of weekends ago, we put the kids in the back of Honey's (my mom) minivan. It didn't have any seats in it, so they were sitting on the floor as we drove through the park from our cabin to Honey's travel trailer. There was another time we through caution to the wind and held our hands up as we went down a hill....to which my melancholy niece said, "This is not safe!" (She probably wouldn't have appreciated "red-neck snow skiing" either -- see prior log for details.)
My son looks forward to when we get home being able to unbuckle, so he can stand in the floorboard of the car and ride down the driveway. Sometimes, I even dare to have the sunroof back and allow him to pop up through the roof to feel the air on his face. Erin also enjoys the short-lived thrill.
There are a lot of people that get caught up in the way things use to be. Some refer to them as "the good ole days." Some refuse, baulk even resist change when the truth is "the good ole days" can never be duplicated. They can be imitated, but not duplicated. It's fun to give our children a taste of days gone by, but the truth of the matter is today is their "good ole days."
Do we want to be part of the current generation? Do we want to instill our fun memories by telling stories of our past that they will appreciate, learn something from or even find humor in today? Or do we want to be staunch and rigid refusing to enjoy their "good ole days" with them? How will they remember us in their storytelling later in life? How will they describe our outlook on life?
I dance with my kids. I dance with them at home, in public, in a store, or anywhere they hear a beat...even if it is the one in their own heads. We crank up the music in the car especially if it is Mandisa or Nicole C. Mullins. I want their "good ole days" to be their's because truth be known, these are my "good ole days" with them. I want their memories to be as sweet and as fun as mine are to me.
That also goes for church. There isn't just one way to have church. Some get upset when we don't sing hymns, and some get upset when we sing hymns but don't sing all of the verses. Truth is most of the choruses and praise and worship music that is being sung by our kids is based more on scripture than the blessed hymns. My kids know more verses due to the songs they learn in praise and worship than I ever did singing hymns...that is powerful and awesome. When Pearce was three I heard him singing, "I Am a Friend of God," and it melted my heart.
Don't get me wrong, I love hymns, and I sing them around my home so my kids will hear them, but if they get more out of praise and worship by singing choruses based on scripture, then I am all over that. I will be right there with them worshipping and praising God during their "good ole days."
So, I encourage you to bust a move with your kids and grandkids. I encourage you to let go, look at your kids in the face when they talk to you, hear what they are saying. Sometimes I miss out on how funny Erin truly can be. Sometimes I miss out on the cute facial expressions Pearce uses. All because I'm too busy or because I'm just not thinking.
Cherish your own memories while living today in the days that will be your own children and grandchildren's memories some day.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Erin and I both had twin beds to sleep on, and Pearce was on a pallet of blankets beside me in his sleeping bag. But at the first large, collapse of thunder and peal of lightning I found myself "sharing" my twin bed with Pearce. About 1:45 AM, Erin started coughing, and I gave her the medicine I brought, but apparently, it's not working because she is still coughing...hence why I am blogging at 2:33 AM in the morning. She won't be going to school tomorrow.
As I laid on my 1/3rd of the twin bed I started thinking about all the things I need to do as a single parent this weekend and wondering how in the world would I get it all done. Pick some things up from my office at church. Pick "Blue" up at church (Pearce left him Wednesday night). Get Erin's seatwork and homework for today. Go to Brookshires and get more medicine and a few groceries. Call Erin's doctor -- maybe they'll call in a prescription for me of something stronger. I was going to hang the stuff on my newly, painted walls in my church office, but that won't happen. I was also suppose to go see Mammaw today because it is her birthday.
Then I started thinking about Saturday. Pearce's buddy has a birthday party. Erin is suppose to go with a friend to their Fall Family Festival -- their costumes go together to make a heart that says "Best Friends." Then I am suppose to take the girls and Pearce to our Family Fall Festival.
Sunday, I have duties I need to take care of too.
Then I realize how tired I am from not getting enough sleep tonight and then anticipating how tired I will be from being a single parent for the next week. That's when the verse, "When I am weak, then He is strong," pops into my head. You know it doesn't specify as to the weakness -- physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. Why? Because whatever state we are in He can meet us. Not only does He meet us where we are to deal with us and our "issues," but it's when we are the most usable because we can't do it on our own strength.
So, God, I'm expecting you to do great things through me because I don't have the power, the ability on my own to do anything well.
Let me encourage you. No matter what you are going through, stay true to God. Stay obedient to His will, His word, His way, and then in your weakness and brokeness expect Him to do GREAT things. For it is in the expectation of something great or Someone Great that we have our hope.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Lord, who am I? Look at all these amazing women, and yet You laid it on my heart to lead this ministry. You could have chosen anyone of these fantastic women of faith, but you chose me. You chose the one who works in a male-oriented field. You chose one who had chosen not to get too close to women because they could be so mean and hurtful. You chose one without any training. You chose someone who doesn't have the depth of knowledge that some of those women in this room have. Lord, who am I that you are mindful of me? I am but the least of these. Of all those who have been and all those who have yet to come, you chose me to serve you at this time, in this way. So while I may not understand why you would choose me, I choose to trust your decisioin, and I choose to follow you and serve.
There are women who are more elegant in their speech. There are women who are more compassionate. There are women who have steady growth. There are women have such rich knowledge of the Bible. Thank you, Lord, for surrounding me with these women. Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to serve them and You.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
My sister and I's favorite sandwich was peanut butter and jelly. How hard is it to make a PB&J, right? With daddy, nothing was simple or done without great fanfare...afterall, we were a captive audience. So, daddy would sit us at the table, and he would begin pulling out all the necessary ingredients plus some and all the required equipment. Sometimes he would be humming a song as he did it, but of course, it wasn't the usual humming. Every note of whatever song he was humming or making up was emphasized with a "dee," so "Jingle Bells" would go something like, "de,de,deee,de,de,dee...de,de,de,de,dee." (Now that you've done that in your head, do it again in your goofiest Donald Duck voice, and you'd have daddy.)
He would lay out the napkins. Place the bread on the napkins, and then pull something out of the cabnet that didn't fit. Most of the time he made our PB&J using a coffee cup...yes, a coffee cup. He would put a glob of peanut butter and a glob of jelly in it and would whisk it until it looked like something you wouldn't want to eat. While Lori and I would be protesting that this is not the way it is done, after all momma's way is the way it was done...nice, neat and in order, daddy would be slicing bananas and putting on one of the slices of bread. Then starting another song to which he wouldn't know all the words but would teach Lori and I the few words he knew then make up the rest he would grab something else unusual to add to his concoction in the cup...sometimes honey, sometimes chocolate chip morsels. You get the idea. After adding it to the cup, he would begin to spread this nasty-looking stuff onto the other slice of bread and then put the two slices together. Then he would cut out funny shapes that most of the time we couldn't recognize or he would make some goofy mark on top of the bread before presenting it to us for consumption. We were always hesitant to eat his creations, but most of the time they were quite tasty. Mom could never really understand why we were so pumped up with energy when she would return home. Can we say sugar high?
Life with daddy could be quite entertaining to say the least. It's amazing I'm so "normal." (Ha!)
As Christians how often do we go to church to be entertained or to see the show/service? With all the fanfare and music, the presentation of the sermon, visiting with friends...what is it that makes for a good worship or a good Sunday morning experience for you? For me, it starts with how many fights I've had to referee, how many socks and shoes couldn't I find, how many reminders I've had to issue -- the fewer I have had to deal with, the better I can worship. Ladies, are you feeling me? Have you been there? Walked in my heels? Then we get to church, and I am suppose to get something out of small group time, out of worship, out of the sermon. When in truth, the events of Sunday morning may be only the chip of the iceberg of what is going on underneath.
Please pray with me about something God has put on my heart. We are considering opening my office at the church during Sunday school time for women who need to unload, be encouraged and be prayed for. I have asked a wise and godly lady to pray about being the one who stays in there to meet with these women. Because ladies, the Bible says we are not to eat Bread alone regardless of whether or not we have PB&J on it or not. We are suppose to be growing Christians and maturing to the meat of the matter, but sometimes we need that personal connection with someone wise to help us get out of the hole or mess we are in. Sometimes that personal connection (mentor) can give guidance and encouragement we need in order for us to clear our heads, give our problems over to God, so we can enter a time of worship, so we can go for the meat of the word and not just the PB&J.
It's not up to the pastors to provide us a good show. It's not up to them to grow us in our faith. We have to be responsible. It takes more than just showing up on Sunday morning. We have to be actively seeking Him and His will and be actively in the Word searching for every morsel of truth we can glean. SO, let me encourage you this week to prepare your heart and mind before going to church Sunday. Spend some time with your Heavenly Father. He'd love to hear from you.
Monday, October 19, 2009
We try our best to keep people in his life that are hispanic. They may not all be Mexican, but they are bilingual, hard-working people whom we love and who loves our family. There isn't a huge Hispanic population here, so we do things with our Spanish Mission Church. I want him to at least know about his culture. Most of the time he embraces it. This is only the second time he has claimed not to be Mexican.
We are proud of his nationality, his biological culture, but there are times when he doesn't want to be different, and truthfully, we don't focus on it. He's just such a good-looking kid, and that has sometimes been his saving grace which allowed him to live to the next day. (You mommas know what I'm talking about)
How often do we just want to blend in and be like everyone else? Mediocrity? And I'm not just talking about being Christian in a non-Christian environment. I'm talking about being a growing Christian versus a stagnant, close-minded Christian. I'm talking about being satisfied with just going to church once maybe twice a week and never open your Bible during the week unless you're in crisis mode. I'm talking about being luke-warm versus on fire and having a passion to serve and to love on others as Christ demands and gave us examples to be and do. What if when Jesus was washing the disciples' feet, He looked up at them and said, "That will be .25 cents"?
It's time Christians get off their big, backsides and served as our Lord served on their hands and knees, touching those who are sick, walking with the unlovely. It's time we loved on people and got beyond prideful selves because there will come a day when we all will have to answer the question, "What have you done with my Son?" And there won't be anyone standing besides our mediocre behinds to blame things on. We have to take ownership of our faith and our relationship with God. Get out of our comfort zones. Get out of our comfortable seats. I promise you, women's ministry is not my comfort zone. Teaching an all women's Bible study Sunday school class is NOT in my comfort zone -- do you know we haven't had one Sunday where one of the ladies doesn't end up needing a tissue? (Do you remember I work in a primarily male-oriented field in fraud investigations? These guys don't cry.) I'm not saying this to pat myself on the back. What I'm saying is that if I can do this following God's lead, then by the grace of God SO CAN YOU!
Don't blend in. Be dynamic. Be the original God made you to be. Be the growing, godly woman He desires you to be. PUT YO' BIG GIRL PANTIES ON! We are to be as a city set on a hill, a beacon in the night, salt of the Earth. We are to be set apart, different so that others may be drawn to the Lord Almighty. So, GET OUT THERE! SERVE!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The first Thanksgiving that Patrick and I were dating, he killed two does. I met him at his parents' house where we were to have dinner, and he was running late. He wanted me, the one who has tried so hard to deny her redneck heritage, to help him gut those deer. He wanted me to climb all up in that deer and clean it out. It was then that I laid down the rule of hunting as I saw it. If he kills it, he has to clean it and cook it, and I may or may not eat it. Now, his momma, she went out there and helped him clean both of those deer, but that was her decision and more power to her.
Now, it's that time of year again. I am a hunting widow. I look forward to the day when Pearce is old enough to go with his daddy for all these little outtings, and Erin and I can stay home, watch movies, eat Bonbons, do our nails and do facials. That is also a benefit of being a hunting widow. Before kids, I scrapbooked, and I still may get back to it, but now, my time is with my kids.
You know the first time I ever shot a gun I was probably 9 years old, and I saw my guy cousins shooting a gun. I insisted I wanted to shoot it and that I could shoot it. My daddy showed me how to place the gun to my shoulder, close my eye, aim and then...I pulled the trigger. One thing I had failed to ask and one thing they had failed to mention was the fact that the gun was an antique. It had been my grandfather's, father's gun. When I pulled the trigger, there was an explosion in my right ear that set off ringing. The kick of the gun forced me violently backwards to the point that I landed on my behind and on the way back one of my cousins grabbed the gun...see where the concern was? Actually, they were all laughing too hard to move fast enough to catch me and my tiny hiney before it hit the ground. My daddy had tears rolling down his eyes as they all examined the shiner on my shoulder where the butt of the gun had kicked it.
I know there are women who hunt. It's just not me, and to be honest, Patrick needs his time away like I need mine occasionally.
I am so thankful that God makes us all different. I'm glad God has a sense of humor and that He has given us a sense of humor if we don't take ourselves too seriously. I'm thankful for the changing of the seasons. I'm thankful for Thanksgiving and time with family. I'm thankful that my being a hunter wasn't a requirement of my husband's in order for me to date him because it is a rare man who can live with a strong-willed, ADHD woman. Thank you, God, for Patrick.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
It's easy for us to say, "How can he think he was going to get away with that?" "Why didn't he just take responsibility?" It just seems obvious to us, but how obvious is it when the sin is in our own lives? The Bible says we should take the plank out of our own eye before removing the splinter in someone else's. We are so keen and observant to see what's wrong with someone else's life, but how well do we turn the magnifying glass on our own hearts, minds, actions, and beliefs?
Sometimes we have to rely on the Holy Spirit's conviction because the sin has taken root in our lives to where we don't recognize it as sin. It's at that time we have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's correction. There are times when we ignore the Spirit's warnings, and we have to learn the hard way. I did that often when I was young because I was quite obstinant, but as I've gotten older, I've seen the error in that. I'd really rather NOT learn the hard way. Listening to the Holy Spirit is the way I'd prefer to learn. The Bible says we can ask the Lord to search us to see if there is anything in us that is unholy. Are you that bold? Can you say that and then release whatever sin you are holding on to? For some that is hard to do. I have to say mine is speeding. I do it EVERY DAY. I'm working on it. I truly am, believe it or not.
He is faithful to complete the work He has started in us if we will just allow Him.
His Work in Progress,
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
If you've read any of my blog you know that my mom was the stability in my world, and my daddy was the color in my world and when I say color, I'm not talking about the normal green, brown, blue and red. I'm talking fuschia, turquois, neon green, etc.
I didn't know we were poor even though I had thought we might be on occasion. I thought it was normal and that everyone used the "Little People" school buses for skates, that three channels in black and white was all there was, and that having a glass full of milk and crackers after evening worship was a staple of life.
We didn't watch much television at all. As a matter of fact, during the summer as soon as we would eat breakfast mom would send us outside to play until lunch. We used our imaginations, and we were forced to play with each other because we lived our in the country and not in a subdivision.
Mine and Lori's favorite meal was fish sticks, tater tots and Ranch Style beans...I still enjoy it for nostalgia sake. We ate every meal at the table as a family. We went to church as a family. Lori and I were at church every time the doors were open whether we thought we needed it or not, and we actually had fun once we were there.
I wonder what my kids will say about their upbringing, about their parents, about life as they know it. I wonder.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
We are personal to God. As Christians, we are His, His children. We are irreplacable. Of all the people He has created, He only makes one of you. He doesn't make us because He needs us. He makes us because He wants us. He wants a relationship with us, His priceless creations. We get our value from Him.
When we focus on me, myself, and I...meaning my friends, my family, my kids, we take our focus off God. We fail to serve Him as we should. We start thinking our value comes from our friends and what other's think about us, rather than meditating on the Word, the Truth. When we take things personally, get hurt easily, we are focusing and making the issue about ourselves. What if we all lifted our hurt immediately to God and asked Him to make it work out for our good as opposed to holding onto the hurt, thinking about it, trying to hurt back...this world would be a much different place.
Max Lucado wrote a book "You Are Special." It's a story about a town of wooden toys called Wimmicks. All day the Wimmicks would give gold, star stickers to the beautiful, strong, smart Wimmicks. The untalented, ugly Wimmicks who had chipped paint or rough wood would receive gray dots. The ones with gray dots felt horrible about themselves. There was one girl who had no stickers. A gray-dotted Wimmick admired her, and she told him he needed to go see the Maker. She said she would spend the day with Him, so the little toy decides to visit the Maker. The Maker said it doesn't matter what the others think because it only matters what He thinks because the little toy was His. The Maker tells the little toy that the stickers only stick if the toy wants them to, and until the toy could understand, he was to visit the Maker every day to be reminded of how special he was and that the Maker doesn't make any mistakes.
We are personal to God. We are priceless to God. We have value because He loves us. These are the things we need to remember. We need to be spending time with our Maker, allowing Him to remove the harmful, the hurtful things in our lives, and then at some point, we mature to a depth that we realize that whatever happens to us isn't really about us, and that God is going to work it all out for our good. When we learn to trust that, when we believe that, when we live that -- that's when we'll begin to live a victorious life, an abundant life.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I wanted. I wanted the next best thing. Then when I got it, I wanted the NEXT best thing. And when I got that, I wanted the NEXT best thing until I realized the best thing was what I started off with -- taylor-made-to-fit clothes. I'm afraid our society has become more and more like that, and we are facilitating that logic and feeding that desire in our children. We don't think they should go without. Our children lack for nothing. Our children work for nothing. What are we teaching our children by doing this to them? It's okay to live in excess and outside your capability to have the next best thing? We are setting them up for financial failure, as if we aren't seeing the results in this financial market of feeding our own longings.
Just for the record -- this train of thought is NOT Biblical. I'm teaching a Sunday school, Bible study on the book "Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free." One of the lies we believe is "I Should Not Have to Live with Unfulfilled Longings." It's true. If we do not have unfufilled longings, we have nothing to work for, nothing to work towards, and our children need to learn the value of working to attain. Not only that, but as Christians, all of our longings should not be filled here on Earth. We shouldn't look for all of our longings to be filled here on Earth either.
The Bible says, "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus," Philippians 4:19. "Needs" are completely different, and the way He defines "needs" is probably completely different than how we define "needs."
When we look to fill voids with things or expect a person to fill longings, we are setting ourselves up to be hurt, disappointed at best. Psalms 73:25 says, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Where are your eyes focused? On what your neighbor has? On a person you want to love you? Where should you be focused? On the one who created you and me.
If our children go without, you think they might learn to rely on God more and learn that reliance at an earlier age? If we forgo the earthly stuff that can burn like hay and stubble and live within our means, you think maybe we would have a closer walk with God? Life without distraction of earthly things...hmmm. Living life without being financially yolked to the NEXT BEST THING...I want it. I want to have unfulfilled longings that can only be filled when I see my Savior face-to-face in the most beautiful place of all, heaven. I want unfulfilled longings. Please God, create that hunger in me. Create it in me.
Just something to think about this Friday morning.
Have a great day.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Right now, I'm sitting and enjoying a honey spot. You know, occasionally we are blessed to spend a moment or two in a really sweet spot. My kids are doing great in school. We are playing soccer and loving our coaches and the time we get to spend together exercising. My marriage is in a sweet place, and life is going well with only minor bumps along the way this week. I am so thankful when God chooses to bless me with times like these. I don't want to take them for granted. I want to sit and savor. I want to enjoy each moment in the sweet times because I know they don't last just like the other times don't last.
When I picked Pearce up from Awanas this week the ladies told me they had a discussion as to the nutritioinal merit of marshmellows...talk about nothing but sweetness. One of the ladies thought they would classify marshmellows as a protein. Pearce, listening to their conversation, chose this time to correct his teacher. He told her that marshmellows were definitely not a protein. She took the bag and sure enough it wasn't. Surprised by his knowledge in this area, she asked me how he knew that. You see, Erin has been studying nutrition in school, and Pearce is a sponge. When I quiz Erin at home about nutrition he's there. He's listening and learning third grade nutrition and history, and he chose to pass along his knowledge to his teacher. Marshmellows are definitely not proteins. They are all sugar.
Have you noticed that sweet things have their own sweet smell? Cakes, cookies, fresh-baked bread. YUM! You know when someone has been baking as soon as you step into their home. Just like Erin's learning of nutrition spilled over to Pearce and Pearce to his teacher, so should our sweetness. When I'm in a sweet spot, when you are in a sweet spot, we shouldn't hord it and keep it all to ourselves. We should let it overflow to those around us. We should allow the sweetness of God permeate the air around because He is sweet, and He's sweet on you. II Corinthians 2:14 -- 15 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."
The aroma of Christ...go and be the aroma of Christ today.
Monday, September 21, 2009
This coming Sunday is the kick-off for women's ministry, and I am to address the women of my church. I'm not nervous about speaking in front of that many women. I just want to speak in confidence that the words given to me are from the Lord, and that is my prayer as I work on the power point.
I can't wait to see what God has in store. He is so faithful for which I am very grateful.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I know I am suppose to be doing this without a doubt, and I know what God has given me is from Him because He confirms it every chance He gets, but it is still a scary thing to step into not only leadership, but the leadership of a ministry. There will be a lot that I will be held accountable for in the days and years to come, and a lot I will have to answer to the Lord for, so I want to make sure that when I speak, it is He who is speaking through me. When I move forward towards a plan or a purpose, that it is He who has put that plan or purpose in my heart. I want to be led. Is that odd for a leader to say? Especially a natural born leader as I was described today by someone who didn't even know me. Maybe, but that has to be a God-thing too.
I know He has been preparing me. I see it in what He has me studying. I see it in whom He has exposed me to. I see it in the limited training I've received and the books I've read. He has blessed me already in the women He has chosen as the Women in Ministry team. He has blessed me with a sense of humor and the ability to see His hand working. He has blessed me with knowledge and wisdom that can only have come from Him because apart from Him I am nothing. If I open my mouth and say anything of value, it is Him. Otherwise I am as a tinkling symble like Paul wrote. If I have understanding and guidance it is because He gave it to me. Apart from Him, I would fall on my face as well as this ministry. And with Him, I fall on my face but not in failure, but in awe reverence and appreciation for His willingness to use someone like me. Make me an instrument, O Lord. Make me a conduit. You are the Potter. I am the clay. Clay isn't rigid. It's moldable and flexible to the Master's hands and plans.
I love you, Lord.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Did I intend for my attitude to tank? NO.
Did I intend on going from thriving to surviving -- with that in question too? NO
Did I want to have to exert so much energy on discipline? No, why can't we all just get along.
Regardless of why or when it happened, it happened. My home is in a constant state of remodeling. There's loads of laundry after loads. And you know, I just didn't get loved on much today
Do you ever have days like that? It's like static...just annoying. So what do I do? Do I just sit and stew in it? What do you do?
I have to admit sometimes I like to eat my comfort food -- bacon cheeseburger from Sonic, tater tots and a LARGE Coke, or any kind of chocolate ice cream. But I've noticed a bulge around my middle so that's out. I'm in a serious funk and need to snap out of it.
Then I open the Word of God to the verse me and my ladies are learning this week. Philippians 4:8, "...Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
I hate it when something I teach kicks me in the rear-end, but there is no denying this verse. "Fix" -- three letters, small word, big action. Don't take my mind off of the good things. When I want to head South, direct my thoughts back and keep doing it until I'm able to keep my ADHD mind on it. Pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise -- The silence at the end of this day is lovely. The men who cut my lawn -- admirable hard workers. My husband who is still working to provide for his family -- worthy of praise. The last hug and kiss of the night from a little boy who just got out of bed -- lovely.
I am blessed, and tomorrow is another day.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
During the winter of one of my junior high years, we actually got some snow and a lot of ice. At that time, my daddy drove a Ford Festiva...aka Sardine Can. Unbeknownst to us, he had thrown in two sets of rubber boots, two sets of work gloves and a rope. He told my mom he was going to take us for a ride to see all the snow and ice...he obviously hadn't told her his plans either.
Lori and I bundled up and jumped in the car. Daddy drove us further into our hilly and curvey subdivision and told us to get out of the car. We were giggling because we just never knew what creative and fun thing daddy would come up with...by the way, this was before the trip to North Carolina in the bed of a pickup truck (see prior blog).
Daddy had Lori and I put on the boots and the gloves. Then he wrapped the rope around the back bumper, and he said he was going to teach us how to snow ski (obviously redneck style). So, Lori held onto one end of the rope as I held on the other. For a while we were happy going up and down the hills. We laughed while our noses froze, eyes watered from the cold, and fingers and toes became numb. Then without any warning, daddy makes a sharp right turn. Did I mention that Lori and I were wearing men's, large, rubber boots, squatting behind a Ford Festiva, holding onto a rope, "skiing" red-neck style?
Daddy in the Ford Festiva made a quick whip to the right, and Lori and I went flying off toward the left and landed in the ditch. At this point, daddy is laughing hysterically. Lori and I are stunned and are trying to climb out of the ditch that is coated with snow and ice, but shortly realize the humor in it and the fun in it.
You've no doubt heard the phrase, "hit the ditch," but I bet you didn't know it originated during the red-neck, snow skiing competition in the Red-Neck Olympics. Daddy slungs us around every curve and every corner in the neighborhood. If there was a ditch we missed, I would be surprised.
We spent the rest of the time being flung from one ditch to the other. Then one of our neighbor friends saw and wanted to join in on the fun. It's really amazing we didn't kill each other or get seriously mamed.
I'm not really sure when we told momma about that adventure...if it was that evening when we were so sore we could barely walk or if it was when we were in our 20s. You see, when we were with daddy if he told us our switch was off it meant we were not to breathe a word of what took place, so there were things momma didn't find out until we were in our 20s. I told daddy that he has to teach my kids about the switch. I survived daddy's crazy ideas and antics, and I figure they will too, but I'd like to live without knowing all the details.
I'm teaching a lady's Sunday school class, and we're going through the book Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Demoss. In it one of the lies we believe about God is that God is just like our earthly fathers.
In case you haven't noticed, I am a daddy's girl, but not everyone has a good daddy, so comparing God to the likes of our earthly father is devastating to them. We also have to realize that by putting God in the box with our earthly fathers, we are restricting and confining and limiting His ability to work in and through us.
There is a book called The Shack by William Young, and some people wouldn't read it because He put God outside of the box. He allowed God to become what the main character needed in order to meet the character where he was in his life. It really made me think. We apply our limited, finite knowledge based on our human exposure and experience to a God with whom we can barely wrap our mind around. A God who is omniscient, omnipresent, who has no beginning or end, who is the Alpha and Omega, who is so many things and has so many unknown attributes that He can't possibly fit in a box. I think we need to destroy the box and allow God the freedom to communicate to us the way He chooses, to love on us the best way which His way alone, to fix and heal us as He wills.
My prayer is that God will remove the scales from our eyes, our hearts and our minds and that we will start looking to see how God is moving in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I pray that we choose to open our eyes, ears, heart, and mind expecting God to show up, expecting to hear a word from Him, expecting to see Him working in everything. Everything including when we screw things up because He's that good -- He can take whatever I mess up and work it out for my good. Is that not an awesome God we serve?
I love my daddy, but I'm glad my Heavenly Father is not like my daddy because I already have a daddy. What I need is my God.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I don't know about you, but I can so easily get distracted by the most bizzare things, irrelevant things, superficial things at times. I do know people though who are so tightly wound that their "drawers get in a wad" when these small things don't go the way they planned or the way they thought it should go. To these people I say, "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it. Life is too short." I'm also reminded of this today being 9/11 for a couple of reasons. One is for the obvious, and the other is because of what happened on 9/11/2001. (The obvious is that it's my birthday -- HELLO!)
I bet somewhere in the world there is a woman who wished her husband had come home, a child wishing she could know her mom, someone still mourning the loss of their best friend, and then there is the person so wrapped up in their own lives that the smallest things causes them to go into a tailspin.
After 2001, when people use to hear it was my birthday, they would tilt their heads and nod. You know the look, and it use to annoy me. But over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to celebrate life on my birthday...after all today is my BIRTHday. I use this opportunity to tell those who wish me well and to wish me a Happy Birthday how much I love them and appreciate them because what I learned in 2001 is that they can be gone in the blink of an eye. I don't get to tell everyone who wishes me well that, but I make my rounds. On September 11, 2001, we learned the meaning of life. It should be celebrated and cherished.
Love on those who mean something to you.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Tonight, we were at my in-laws home, and the kids were playing in the backyard. Pearce was about to attempt the zipline. I talked him through sitting on the edge of the platform that was well above my head and holding onto the bar. I began pulling the dropline, and he leaned forward and held on for dear life as he zipped across the spacial yard to the connecting tree. He was still a good three feet off the ground, so I put my arms around his waist and lowered him to the ground. His adrenalyn was pumping. He was ready to do it again.
Erin was now on the platform, and she has done this several times with her male cousins, but tonight she was hesitant. So, I talked her through the same steps as I did with Pearce. She sat on the edge of the platform, held onto the bar above her head, stood on the steps and leaned forward. She glided all of two feet when the line bounced because it had felt the weight of her body. When the line bounced, Erin's hands slipped.
Everything moved in slow motion. I was standing a foot away, and I could see her falling, but I was still thinking she would land on her feet and then roll. And in a split second I realized Erin was NOT going to land on her feet because she was falling with her body parallel to the ground. How in the world she managed that I do not know, but she landed flat on her face and stomach, legs extended. I got her up and held her to me unsure of what if any damage had been done. It was really hard to say because she was crying so loudly. I think it scared her more than it hurt her.
I ordered her daddy to go get a wet washcloth because he was standing on the back patio watching everything. I raised her face up, so I could see if I needed to be moving her towards a vehicle to go to the emergency room. The gums around her upper teeth were bleeding a little, but I didn't see any further damage. An emergency room visit had been averted.
How do you fall flat on your face? How does one fall parallel to the ground? Only me or my daughter...I wasn't named Grace for a reason because if there is a way, I could do it without trying just like Erin did tonight.
How often do we try something expecting God to catch us only to find He not only didn't catch us, He didn't even have a safety net under us? Sometimes it's not us trying something. Sometimes it's just life. Sometimes life happens, and we are get knocked down. Have you ever wondered where God is? Why didn't He catch me? Why did He let this happen? How can He say He's a good God when He's not protecting me or answering my prayers? Why did He allow me to get hurt?
Am I alone? I am not of the school that believes you shouldn't ask God questions or His reasoning. He created me. He KNOWS I'm going to ask questions. He knows that if I'm hurt I've got questions. He knows that if I'm not hearing His voice, I'm going to ask, "Where are you, and why aren't you talking to me?"
As a matter of fact in August of 2000, my husband and I had gone through failed fertility treatments and failed privated adoption, and I just didn't feel like God was hearing me. The company I worked for moved me back to Dallas for three or four months to do some training. I would be there during the week without my husband and my friends and my church family. I had already gotten angry with God, so I didn't even pack my Bible.
One night while I was living in the extended stay hotel, I called my mom sobbing because I felt like I was in a pitch black pit standing on the end of a post and being told to move forward. There was no echo, and when I tried to feel for my next step there was nothing there. God was wanting me to move without any guidance as to where to place my foot. He kept reassuring me that when I would put my foot down, He would have the next step there for my sure footing. It was impressed on my if I didn't move forward the post I was standing on would eventually give way and just drop out from beneath me. I had prayed and prayed and told God I would go wherever He wanted me to go, do whatever He wanted me to do in order to find the child He had created for me to adopt. But all I got was silence (or so I thought). No crickets chirping or anything. It was then I called my mom.
I was in the pit of dispair and depression, overwhelming depression that I thought I would suffocate me by its weight. I told my mom how angry I was with God, and she allowed me to rant and rave and get it out of my system. Then, as usual, she calmly said, "Kristy, how's that working for you?"
She really knows how to take the steam out of a situation. She asked, "Kristy, when was the last time you had a quiet time?"
"Didn't you hear me? I'm not talking to God. What kind of God wants me to call Him Father when He won't even speak to me? What kind of Father just lets His daughter feel like this? I'm not talking to God."
"Kristy, a quiet time is when God talks to you." She said, "In the morning, I want you to get up and read your Bible and have a quiet time."
With a smirk I said, "I didn't bring my Bible."
"I'm sure the good Gideon's left a Bible in the drawer by your bed. So in the morning, you're going to get up and read and have a quiet time. You're going to eat a healthy breakfast, take a vitamin, go to work, eat a healthy lunch and after work, you're going to go to the gym and work out. Then the day after that, you're going to get up and do the same. And the day after that. And the day after that."
I agreed because she was my momma, and she told me to do something. I was taught to obey and respect my parents and this has carried over into adulthood. I remember it very clearly. I woke up, broke out the Gideon Bible, and began reading the Proverbs of the day, and I started to laugh.
"That's subtle, God, real subtle." The date was August 29th, and the first verse of Proverbs 29 talks about the stiff-necked fool. It was as if He was saying, "Here's your sign."
Was I still angry? Was I still upset with God? Yes, but day after day, my depression left me as did the anger. You see, I had made it all be about me. My desire to have a baby. My desire to be a mom. My desire to be in God's will. My, my, my... Were they wrong? No, but when we sit in the "my" seat for too long we become consumed, and our focus shifts to ourselves. When we make things be about ourselves the world becomes VERY small.
You see, God hadn't forgotten about me. He was still directing my paths even though I couldn't see Him working or feel Him present. He was still in control. None of that had changed. It's just He was having to work things out for the good of all who love Him. He was having to work in the lives of my daughter's birth parents. He was working things out with the adoption agency we were to use. He was working it out.
I don't know what you are going through. I don't know where you've been or where you are headed, but He does. He's not responsible for giving you a life that you understand or a life without pain. Sometimes we inflict the pain on ourselves by foolish decisions, but even then, God doesn't waste the opportunity to work things out for our good. God is not our safety net. He is there with us on the ziplines of life, and when we fall flat on our face, He's with us. He's there to pick you up, hold you close and then to examine you to work it to your good.
He is a good God. He is. It's just sometimes when we're in the midst of fighting for our existence we can't see Him, feel Him, and we wonder if He's abandoned us. Let me assure you, He hasn't. He has said He will never leave us nor forsake us. You just have to hold on. Hold on and trust. Trust that everything will work out to His glory if you have repented of your sins and asked Jesus into your heart.
There's a song that says, "When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." Meaning when you can't see Him working in your life, when you can't feel Him next to you, you have to trust His heart. His heart loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for you. He loves you so much that He knew before you were created that you were going to screw things up and were going to need redeeming, and yet, He still created you anyway! Thank you, God, for that kind of love.
So the next time you fall on your face or your life is full of pain, remember, He is a good God. He's going to be there even if you get angry with Him, stop talking to Him, or just give up. He is still there working it out, and then if you haven't returned to Him, He'll work that out too because He loves you.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Did I also mention we live in Shreveport, Louisiana?
By the time we arrived in North Carolina, our wind-whipped hair, sweatty bodies and sour dispositions had over-taken us. To add insult to injury, the dog got to ride in the airconditioned cab of the truck. THE DOG! She thought the ride was great.
We did end up having a good time on the trip, and we have laughed and shared precious memories from the events even to this day. But it got me to thinking this week as I prepare to teach Sunday's lesson that sin is a lot like that sells job daddy did...not that I'm comparing daddy to Satan by any stretch of the imagination.
Stay with me and see if you can follow my logic. Satan can make the most malignant things look benign. He can make the simplest sin look like more fun than a barrel of monkeys (Although I've never seen a barrel of monkeys before).
Sometimes he approaches us in our weakest area. Often times we are alone facing our weakness. Sometimes he exaggerates things which is a lie. Sometimes he tells "1/2 truths" or "white lies" which are, by the way, lies. A lie is anything that isn't 100% the truth, and the truth is NOT RELATIVE.
Sometimes we become complacent, and he smiles because he doesn't have to do anything. Sometimes we just get lazy, and he doesn't have to lift a finger.
Before you know it, whipped, beaten down, and defeated you realize almost any other dog is being treated better than yourself. It kind of reminds me of the parable of the Prodigle son. He bought into the lie that the world had more to offer than being under the protection of his father. The son realized once it was too late his trip had taken him to a place where the pigs were treated better than he was. THE PIGS! The son humbles himself and returns home to find his father running to him, putting the ring back on his finger and a coat on his back rejoicing at his return. Oh, how our heavenly Father wants us to return to Him once we realize the error of our ways. Forgiveness -- all we have to do is ask for it.
Hmm, I had no clue where this blog was going, but forgiveness is a great note to end on, don't you think? He wipes the slate clean. He remembers our sin no longer. It's as far as the East is from the West. That is love. That is love.