Wednesday, November 25, 2009

…is thankful for hide and go seek

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

…Is in a Snarly Funk

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 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

Putting Someone You Love into the Hands of the Master – Blue has surgery

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

Is pondering Super Heroes

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

Will Bloom Where I Am Planted

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.

"After sanctification it is difficult to state what YOUR aim in life is, because God has taken you up into His purpose by the Holy Ghost; He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation." WOW! Am I living like He's using me for His purpose?

"As long as you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set ambition, you cannot get through into identification with God's interests. You can only get there by losing for ever any idea of yourself and by letting God take you right into His purpose for the world, and because your goings are of the Lord, you can never understand your ways." That is scriptural – dying to self (Col 3:9-10, Rms 6:6, II Cor 5:17). We have to put our desires away and search for God's will in it all. So if I am to stay where I am, then I need to be serving Him where I am, setting a good example, being a good employee, being who God designed me to be.

"I have to learn that the aim in life is God's, not mine. God is using me from His great personal standpoint, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him, and never say – Lord, this gives me such heart-ache. To talk in that way makes me a clog. When I stop telling God what I want, He can catch me up for what He wants without let or hindrance. He can crumple me up or exalt me, He can do anything He chooses. He simply asks me to have implicit faith in Himself and in His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, if I go off on that line I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. I have 'a world within the world' in which I live, and God will never be able to get me outside it because I am afraid of being frost-bitten." Once again, WOW! "He can crumple me up or exalt me" – How flexible am I? How willing am I to allow His hands to mold and make me? Sometimes I find it easier to submit myself than I am to place my children there when in reality and in God's truth, His hands are the safest place to put my children.

Whatever God is wanting to do in your life, are you permitting it? Are you doing your best even though you may not be where YOU want to be? There is some reason God is leaving us where we are…to crumple or exalt, which is it? We need to learn to bloom where we are planted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wants to Be in my Father's Footsteps

I hated shoes as a child. Still not the greatest of fan. At a very early age, my mom had me wearing Stride Rite shoes. Great shoes. Great product. As I got older and my feet grew, my feet did a weird thing. They grew unevenly! And they are STILL uneven. I grew up with a 6 1/2 AAA for a left foot and a 7 AAAA for a right foot. My shoes from Naturalizer cost a small fortune.

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

Reflects on Today, Tomorrow and Days Gone By (The Good Ole Days)

When you were a child, did you ever ride in the bed of a pickup truck feeling the air moving past your whipping your hair into your face and taking your breath away? Did you ever ride standing up on the back floorboard of the car holding onto the seat in front of you?

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 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.