Friday, December 24, 2010

Has a Christmas Confession and a Funny Story


 

Growing up in my family – well, what I used to think was "normal" behavior, isn't. I thought my parents were normal. HA! I thought everyone's daddy had redneck ancestry, and everyone's mother looked like Mary Tyler Moore and appeared to have it all together. (She might have had it all together if she weren't married to an ADHD redneck along with two daughters with warped senses of humor.) I thought everyone's Christmases were filled with family and food and laughter and wrapping paper fights, but now I know that's not true, and it makes me appreciate what I had growing up.

Christmas was and is still HUGE at the Timmons' house. Santa Claus came up until the day Lori and I moved out. One year when Lori and I were in upper elementary, I decided to set my alarm, so she and I could wake up about 2 AM and see what Santa brought. We were notorious for waking up very early and then waking up our parents who had probably just gone to bed. Unbeknownst to me or Lori, mom had come into our rooms and unplugged our clocks. I never even heard her do it! But, mom failed to factor in Lori. Did I mention that we had warped senses of humor? Along with that comes some out of the box thinking as well – we like to call it creativity! Before going to bed that night, Lori managed to down four large glasses of water. "WHY?" you ask. Because Lori knew that if she drank that much water she would HAVE to get up in the middle of the night. Yep, the clocks were unplugged, but Lori wasn't. After going to the restroom, she came and woke me up, and we went to discover what Santa Claus brought.

There was one year my mom had done this elaborate hide and seek with Santa's gifts. We started with our stockings and found a poem that contained a clue to the next gift. She had us going into the backyard, out the front door, into the garage – all for the sake of finding the gifts. If someone would have driven by they would have seen two flashlights running throughout the house following the clues -- that moms a clever one.

As Patrick and I get ready for our children this Christmas, I wonder what will they remember. What traditions of ours will they continue? Will they remember the fun times and funny times? Will they remember hearing Santa setting up the toys? (Erin did two years ago and was petrified!) Will they remember finding a torn scrap of Santa's red clothing on our fire grate? Will they remember the time we spend with family? Will they remember the Christmas Eve services?

But most importantly, I wonder what will you do "all for the sake of finding THE GIFT?" This Christmas is special because it is the first year that both of my children will have asked Jesus into their hearts. So when we put baby Jesus into the Nativity in the morning, sing Happy Birthday and we read the Christmas story, I will know that they have the best gift of all. My prayer is that you will too. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

...ponders first words

It was no wonder that my daughter's first word was "daddy." To this day, her daddy is her rock star. It is also no surprise now that she started talking in full sentences at 18 months with her first sentence being, "Mommy, I see you." (Were we shocked then? ABSOLUTELY!)

When our son was able to get a word in edge-wise, I had hoped it would be, "mommy," but no, it was "daddy."

Those sweet little voices. We waited 18 months for Erin to speak clearly and around two years to hear Pearce's voice in speech. It would take a little longer to hear their personalities and temperaments, but they came.

Have you ever looked forward to hearing someone's voice? I think of wives of soldiers who are abroad. The voice of her spouse is enough to bring her to tears.

Now what about God's voice. Have you ever gone any period of time without hearing his voice? For me, it was stressful and depressing. What if 400 plus years went by and NO ONE heard from God? In my last entry, I wondered what God's last words were before the Dark Ages. Now, I'm curious what the first words were when God spoke through his messenger for the very first time in 400 plus years. Do you know what they were?

Luke 1:13, "Do not be afraid."

"Do not be afraid." God doesn't speak in 400 plus years; he decides it's time; he sends an angel and says, "Do not be afraid." I'm sorry, but if an angel physically showed up during my time of meditation or prayer, I might need something a little more than "Do not be afraid." I'd need recussitating and at the very least possibly a change of britches!

I love this. His first words are calming words, words of consoling, and words showing he sees to the heart of a person.

I love this story. Zechariah was a priest who had been chosen by the casting of lots to go in and offer incense and sacrifice to God. Some priest lived their whole lives never getting this opportunity, and once a priest received this honor, he would never receive the opportunity again. This was Zechariah's once in a life-time opportunity...once in a life-time.

Can you believe that the priests would cast lots for this opportunity? Can you believe they didn't have some ritual for the selection of the next person to serve in this manner? Do you know what the priests believed? They believed God controlled the lots. They believed no matter how the lot was cast or thrown that God was in control. Proverbs 16:33, "The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord." God does not leave anything to chance. He is in control.

He knew that Zechariah and Elizabeth were old and barren. God had chosen not to bless them in their youth with children because he knew this day was coming. 

God doesn't stop his message at "do not be afraid." His messenger gives Zechariah a message and prophesies about the child Elizabeth was going to deliver. Then Zechariah...doubts (vs 18). God doesn't speak in 400 plus years; he chooses to speak to Zechariah, and he chokes. He doubts.

Isn't that just like us? When we are living in God's will and he is orchestrating our life creating opportunities for growth and opportunities unfathomable to us, and we say, "Really? Really, God?"

As a result of his doubt, Zechariah was struck dumb, and some believe deaf as well because later they had to signal to Zechariah about the name of the baby. We don't know if Elizabeth could read. We don't know if Zechariah was able to communicate what the angel had said to Elizabeth or not. We assume so because Elizabeth knew the name the angel gave Zechariah, but I don't know that for sure.

Elizabeth's response was (vs25), "The Lord has done this for me." Oh that I may be like Elizabeth! You see Zechariah had started using logic, his finite knowledge, his humanness in order to define God and his ability. Zechariah was putting God into a box. Elizabeth said, "What box?" 

When God speaks to you, when God leads you, do you have the faith it takes to trust him and follow him wherever he leads? It isn't by chance or by accident that he has chosen you. The gifted writer, speaker and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries Lysa TerKeurst says we are responsible for being obedient: God is responsible for the results. Are you willing to be used by limitless God? Are you expecting a limitless God to show up, to use you and to do extraordinary things in your life? If not, why not? Luke 1:37, For nothing is impossible with God."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

“I Brought You into This World, I Can Take You Out

Have you ever asked God to show you something new or to breathe new life into a story you thought you knew? I am back in the saddle of teaching my all women's small group on Sunday morning after having sat and soaked up others as they taught while I was in seminary.

But here we are at Christmas. We have done our "Mary Christmas in a Martha Month Tea," and I'm blogging a devotional on that once a week through December about "Taking Jesus Out of the Manger." So I had worked that material over rather finely, and now I was asking for something else from him. Another Word.

Did you know that between Malachi and the Gospels was when Cleopatra and Marc Antony lived? I had no idea! What got me digging was thinking about the Dark Period between Malachi and Matthew and what was God's last words to Israel before going silent for 400 plus years. People tend to remember last words, don't you know.

Have you ever read Malachi? I hadn't until last week. Anytime we have been directed to look at Malachi it's been because someone was preaching on tithing and quoted Malachi 3:10, but the rest of the book gives a good picture of God's mental state and level of tolerance with the children of Israel before silence. Another interesting thing about Malachi is that it is full of questions and answers. Those people were foolish enough to ask God questions, and then had to deal with his answers. Every good attorney knows you don't ask a question in trial unless you already know what the answer is going to be. These people were SOOO dense!

Malachi is the "Come to God" meeting the Israelites had comin', and by doing so, God walked all over my toes last week. Here is what he led me to:

  1. God points out how we honor our earthly fathers and respect our employers, and then asks where is the honor and respect due him? We get up and go to work daily being sure to be prompt and reliable, but are we that way with our relationship with God?
  2. His children were bringing blind and lame sacrifices. God asks what would happen if they gave that to their earthly leader. What would happen if you decided to only show up at work three days of the week to work and then took a two-hour lunch, what would your boss do? Will your boss accept it?
  3. Then God proceeds to tell them just who he is. If you're a momma, have you ever been pushed to the limit by your child to the point where you lose your ever-lovin' mind and say, "I am your mother. I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!" That is where I see God coming from. He had reached his maximum level of tolerance. He had had all he was going to take.

God went so far as to say that if you don't bring me your best and what is due me then don't bring anything because it's an abomination. He'd rather close the doors of the temple than desecrate it with our less than whole sacrifices. Do I give him 100% of what is due him? Do I give him my best sacrifice?
It's only in obedience that we are to test him. We aren't to test God when we give part of our tithe, part of our sacrifice.

But we serve a good God, a gracious God. Not everyone at that time was neglecting their relationship with him. In 3:16, he lets them know everything is being written down for those who honor his name. He sees you working faithfully behind the scene. He sees you serving him by serving others. He sees you and will claim you as his treasured possession.

He also gives hope. There is prophecy about a messenger (John) and about Jesus. He keeps his promise to the house of David. He just chooses to step away from them.

But can you imagine not hearing from God, not feeling him in your life? I have, and I hated it. I misinterpreted his lack of movement in my life as being a neglectful Father. I became angry and depressed until I was directed back to him in quiet time. There are different reasons we may go through a Dark Period in our lives, but He always gives hope, and He is always good.

If you are in a dark place right now, ask God to search you, try you, and purify you. If you are where you are supposed to be, then dig in the Word. During the Dark Ages there were believers digging through prophecies trying to determine when the Messiah would come. They were looking for God to show up. They were looking for Messiah. Are you expecting God to show up? Are you looking for the Messiah in your situation?

Ladies, Hope was born on Christmas night. Hope in the form of a baby. A baby that was born to be sacrificed for us. Out of the Dark Ages came a great light, a star that wise men sought out. There is a Light in the darkness whatever darkness you are in, and his name is Jesus.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wonders Who Would You Be if He Stripped You Down to Brass Metal

Okay, so God has me awake and has had me awake for some time now, but at 4:29 AM I'm just now getting out of the bed to write it down. Not sure why he has me writing about this now, but he knows best, and I want to be obedient.

On occasion I have to travel for work. I know there are some women who do not like being away from their families, but for me, on the rare occasion I get to spend the night in a hotel by myself…well, it's pure mental-health time for me. I walk into my hotel room, drop my bags and relax. I do things I don't get to do at home because there is always one more load to wash, one more game to attend, one more lesson to go to. You know, things like a facial, manicure and pedicure. I take care of my physical body and my mental body. I rarely will turn the television on, but when I do, I assure you it isn't to the Disney channel or the cartoon network!

I also take my Bible because God can show up anywhere and anytime, and I like to be prepared.

One trip I took to Arkansas for a business meeting I stayed overnight in a hotel. My colleagues were going out to eat, but I opted out to stay by myself in my hotel room. AAAHHHH!!!!! Little by little, the knots in my shoulders begin to unkink, and I start breathing deeper. I pull out my toiletry items and begin pampering. When I'm through pampering, I decide to turn in early. Click – light's off. I lay in bed exhausted looking forward to a good night's rest, and my eyes pop open. Don't you just hate that? Bing. I try to close them, but they won't stay closed. So I sit up in my bed, and say, "Okay, God, what is it?" Now, I know better than to ask God a question that I really don't want to know the answer to, but I truly thought this one was rather benign. I WAS WRONG!

He began convicting me of where I get my value. By day, I investigate insurance fraud. I've done it for almost 14 years, and I love it. You don't stick around in this job unless it fits, and God has blessed me in this position, but that night he began convicting me about my getting my value from what I do for a living. I have to admit I enjoy seeing people's faces when they see what I look like, and I tell them stories from my work. They typically think it's funny. God convicted me that I was getting more pleasure from wearing the title of fraud investigator than I did of being his daughter. He said, "I gave you those abilities and that job. I can take them away. Then who would you be?" OUCH!

After he dealt with me about my label of fraud investigator then he started in on the other labels I wear because let's face it, as women we wear A LOT OF HATS! Wife, daughter, mother, friend, employee, mentor, mentee, cook, referee, teacher, laundress, chauffeur, and the list keeps going. He took the biggest roles/labels in my life and tore them down to bare metal. "Kristy, I gave you your marriage. I can take it away. Then who would you be?" "I blessed you with children. I can take them away. Then who would you be?" "You're a daughter, I can take that away. Then who would you be?" Slowly, one by one he stripped me down to where I had no labels, no titles, no prestige, no honor, nothing and asked me, "Now, who are you?"

God can do this with our possessions. "I blessed you with your home. I can take it away. Then who would you be?" "I have blessed you with an income. I can take it away. Then who would you be?" OR "I have blessed you with _____________. I can take it away. Then who would you be?"

He can do the same thing with our health. "I gave you your hair. I can take it away. Then who would you be?" "I made you woman. I can take your womanly parts. Then who would you be?" "I put the teeth in your head. I can take them away. Then who would you be?"

God wasn't being mean. He doesn't work that way. What he was doing was stripping me down. He was removing the things in my life that distracted me from knowing who he had created me to be. So, as I laid there crying in my bed feeling as if I were nothing, he gently started rebuilding me. "You are my beloved. I have known you from before creation. I knitted you in your mother's womb. You are a one-of-a-kind, priceless work-of-art. You are precious."

My son has had Blue (a baby blue elephant) since the day he was born. He has carried that elephant to church, daycare, nurseries, and grocery stores and on trips. To this day, six years later he still sleeps with it at night. We've even had to have it restuffed. If I were to put Blue in a garage sale (which would be downright silly), but if I were, I probably would get maybe 50 cents. Is that Blue's true worth, his true value? To the person who bought it maybe, but not to Pearce, not to me. You see, I love that animal because my son loves him, and it's a special memory I have of Pearce from babyhood until now. But for Pearce, Blue is priceless. Blue's value comes from the one who loves him, cherishes him. Are you making the connection? You are precious because God loves you. Your value comes from God because HE loves you. His love for you NEVER CHANGES! It doesn't depend on your mood, your behavior, and your choices. His love for you NEVER CHANGES. He was willing to die and did die just to have a relationship with you. He can't love you any more than he did the day he created you because he already knew all the good and bad things you were going to do in your life, and he still chose to create you anyway because he loves you so much.

Women and girls are walking around the earth beaten up emotionally because they are people pleasers, and ya'll, there are just some people who can't be pleased. And if their love is contingent on your pleasing them, then you will live your whole life never having the loving relationship you want from them. If this is the kind of relationship you base your value on, then you are doomed to a life of depression, anger, low self-esteem, and exhaustion.

There are girls and women walking around this earth so confident in who they are because of their status, knowing where they are going and how they are going to get there that when tragedy hits, devastation strikes and destitution and loss are the words of the day -- they fall apart. They are broken into little, bitty pieces feeling like they can't be put back together again.

Those are the two extremes, but there are plenty that are in the middle.

When our value comes from our Creator, the Lover of our souls, our heavenly Father who loves us as we are when we stand before him naked withholding nothing, then we are sure to have a stable Foundation. Our relationship with others will change because we are not relying on another flawed human being to give us our value…we are relying on God.

So, who are you? If God takes it away, then who are you?

Me? I stand redeemed. I stand loved wholly and completely as I am even in my imperfectness. I am precious because he says so. Who are you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bacon and Cupcakes

On Monday mornings I have been writing a devotional for my church's women's ministry blog at www.connectinghearts---onewomanatatime.blogspot.com, so this one hasn't been getting as much attention as normal. (For that I apologize)

Bacon and cupcakes – odd title, isn't it? But when it came to my mind I thought, "I've gotta use it!" What may not seem to go together at all on the surface do actually fit sometimes with a little friction and force, but they fit.

If you were to lay out a buffet before my children, these are the two things they would immediately gravitate towards. Erin would make a straight line to the cupcakes because like her momma, we like the sweet stuff. Pearce, on the other hand, cannot get enough bacon. We have breakfast for supper once a week or every other week with scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit, and yogurt. It's one of our favorites, and it's easy to make since I am still without a kitchen (Yes, we are approaching the 2 year mark, but we don't talk about it.) When we have breakfast, I can count on Pearce eating most of it, and if we don't get to it first, we won't get any…and definitely no leftovers.

No matter how odd the combination may seem God has put us together. Our tastes, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, gifts and talents – He orchestrated and put this family together and for that I am truly thankful and blessed. There are days that I wonder, "What is the world were you thinking, God?" But I know he knows best, and I trust him.

This holiday season I am thankful for all of my family – my husband, kids and extended family. Life is too short to take them for granted. Be sure to tell them you love them because we aren't promised tomorrow.


 

Friday, November 26, 2010

If…You Hide-and-Go-Seek

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs"...


 

If you ever took English from my mom or had a good English professor, you might remember this opening line to Rudyard Kiplin's poem, If. For some reason this phrase came to my mind this morning. I have so much to get done today...laundry, finish reading a couple of books, submit my last seminary paper, start decorating the house for Christmas, and spending time with the only other person in my house (Erin).

Part of the reason this phrase came to my mind was because this is Friday and people can act CRAZY...even more CRAZY than normal (which is an odd thing to think about – if Crazy is normal...) I digress. The other reason is part of the new Journey of Faith I am on.

When a company decides to close some of its offices, the employees become concerned and understandably so. Rumors start running amuck, and it is hard to determine fact from fiction at times. When I am with my co-workers, they immediately start talking about the possible office closings and all the speculations. Some automatically think they are safe. Some know they are going to have to relocate. Some throw out so many different possibilities you can't tell which way they are leaning. Truth is no one knows what is exactly going to happen. Truth is we all have a choice to make – look for a job now or wait. Truth is worrying won't change one thing. So when people start to speculate, most of the time I walk off...it that is possible.

Instead I am choosing to TRUST. Totally Relying Upon my Savior's Thoughts. Jeremiah 29:11 – 14 a, "For I know the plans/thoughts I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you." Declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity"...

TRUST is a two-way street. TRUST requires and demands a relationship...a personal, intimate relationship. TRUST requires that the relationship be a healthy one – God wants the best for us, His best. TRUST requires something from us. Trust demands action from us. "You WILL CALL...COME...PRAY." I will be seeking my heavenly Father. I will go to Him and lay down my concerns, worries, problems, etc., and I will pray. He PROMISES to Listen. For my part, I will SEEK HIM WITH ALL MY HEART, and like any Father who plays hide-and-go-seek with His daughter, He lets me find Him. He picks up me and carries me out of anything that binds me, restrains me.

I'm really liking that. Hide and go seek with my Father. Picture it in your head. I remember Patrick playing hide and go seek with Erin. He would choose to hide in the same place over and over again. Know why? That is the first place that he knew Erin would look! She would toddle around the end of the sofa and find her daddy and break out into this big grin and giggle. She didn't even know there was someplace else to look! When it was his turn to count, Erin would go to the end of the sofa and squat. Patrick would count and start "looking." Teasingly, He would say things like, "I have no idea where Erin went," or "Have you seen Erin?" All the while, we could hear Erin laughing. "Here I am, daddy. Here I am!" Her daddy knew where she was. Her daddy didn't have to look for her, but the reunion at the end of each hide and seek was the same – joy and laughter.

I will seek my Father...not that He is hiding from me, but because I have things I need to tell Him. He is where He always is. He is where He is when He waits on me. He smiles when I "find" Him. "He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17). He picks you up and twirls you around, and He walks hand-in-hand with you his princess daughter...you.

(Boy, this blog went in a totally different direction than I thought it would go. I love having expectations of God, but I love it even more when He makes Himself so real that He takes you where He wants to lead you knowing it is a much sweeter place. Thank you, Jesus!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is Waiting – Expecting (NOT THAT KIND OF EXPECTING). Just Expecting

Blog before last, I reviewed the verse God gave me when He called me to ministry – Isaiah 42:16. I think He gave it to me because I felt completely inept and inadequate for the job He has called me to, but what I've found is that He works better in me when I'm not in "control."

I concluded with writing that I would wait.

    Psalms 5:3, "In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I my request before you and wait expectantly."

    Psalms 27:4, "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

    Psalms 33:20, "We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield."

    Psalms 37:7, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes."

I have had difficulty with the concept of waiting, especially patiently waiting. On the things I want badly, it's like waiting for Christmas morning. I can barely stand myself. I can become downright obnoxious. I'd like to think I've matured in this area, but truth is I struggle with it on occasion. I am wise enough now to realize that God is protecting me from some things or some people by not giving me everything I want.

So, any time I become anxious or dwell too much on what may or may not happen in the spring, I will talk to God first thing. In 5:3, it reads "in the morning" – that's the beginning of the day, so therefore, I will talk to God at the beginning of my concerns, and then I will go back into the position of waiting…expectantly. I'm so glad they added that word. Expectantly in the "Word Study" found at www.mystudyBible.com reads "properly to lean forward, to peer into the distance,…wait for." I love that – leaning forward in my prayers to God knowing He will answer. That is where I will be.

In 33:20, says we wait in HOPE. We have hope because we know His heart is for us. He is my help. He is my shield.

In 37:7, I have to be still…wait patiently. I will not fret.

Are you waiting on God for something? How will you wait?

Last week I was in New Orleans on a business trip, and the subject of office closures came up. There are a lot of speculations. Many are worried about what is going to happen because they are close to retirement but can't afford to retire. Many are concerned because they can't relocate. I can tell you one thing though, we are all waiting. The difference is some are worrying as they wait. Some are waiting in dread and fear. I am choosing to wait expectantly…you may have to remind me of this the closer the date comes, but for now, I wait expectantly to see how God is going to use this.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

…Pearce Is to Be Sacrificed

This past Monday night at the dinner table, the kids and I were eating supper, and there was a lull in the conversation. Let's just say that rarely happens with my daughter at the table. But during that brief moment, Pearce piped up and asked, "Mom, when can I be sacrificed?"

(In that split moment, my mind flashed back to Sunday morning. I had been running all of the church selling tickets for the Christmas tea, lovin' on women of all ages, and as I headed to my small group I see my husband propped up against the wall with THE look on his face. I walk past my class to my husband who points across the hall to THE BOY. Patrick said, "He's all yours." Pearce had gone too far and had pushed more buttons than his daddy could handle. Pearce with his red-rimmed eyes bowed his head. Both of them had been through the wringer.)

So when Pearce asked the question the answer that immediately popped in my mind was, "Boy, you came an inch from being sacrificed on Sunday!" Fortunately, I refrained, and I asked if he meant baptized. Yes, that was the word. I was going to glaze over it and wait for his daddy to get home, so we could both talk to him about it, but Erin charged on in. "Have you heard of the sinner's prayer?" she asked. "Yes." "Well, you're a sinner, and you have to ask Jesus into your heart in the sinner's prayer." "I know I'm a sinner. I guess I'll pray tonight at bedtime," Pearce responded. "There is no need to wait," Erin replied. "You can say it right now." I jumped into the conversation at this point and asked some questions to lead him through and to make sure he understood what he was doing and why. He prayed and asked Jesus into his heart right then and there. We called his daddy, and it was a great evening.

I started blogging about my new journey of faith. Waiting on God to reveal the next thing to happen in my life regarding the ministry He has me to do and the career I've done for so long. A journey of faith can be one that grows your faith deeper. It can be one that stretches what you already know. It can be one that takes you places you've never been before. I have a mentor that says, "Not once has God ever taken me someplace that I thought, 'Yeah, this is where I wanted to go'." Meaning God's plans for us are higher than our plans and His ways higher than ours (Isaiah 55), but no matter where He leads us it is typically not the exact location where we had intended on going, but it is exactly the place where we want to be. I was wondering how to fit this blog into this new series of my faith journey, and I think it fits perfectly.

I've been thinking about Pearce's question this week. "When can I be sacrificed?" As Christians we have to die to self, our selfish desires, and our egos daily (sometimes more frequent than that). By sacrificing our wills and ourselves to His will and His way is to truly live the overcoming life of a Christian, isn't it? The answer to Pearce's question is "anytime we feel that we have the RIGHT to be in 'CONTROL', anytime our selfish desires exceed the need to be in His presence, or anytime we make ourselves more important than our Creator" is when we need to sacrifice self. I am sacrificing what I think is a good gig, a job I've enjoyed for many years and have attained awards and recognition for, for what He wants for me. For what He wants for me is HIS BEST! What I want would be less than best for not only me, but my family.

So, as Pearce begins his new life as a Christian and I start my journey to see where God will lead me career-wise, we are both beginning a journey of faith. God's timing is perfect, and I am so blessed.

I am so blessed to have both of my children come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior at an early age. I've prayed for this since before they were born. My prayers will continue now that they will love God with all their hearts and every day of their lives serving Him faithfully. God is so good.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Waiting…just waiting

In my last post, I wrote there is a possibility that I may lose my job after the first quarter of 2011 when the office I am working in may close. The company that employs me is looking to reduce cost and buildings cost money. There are only three places in my zone that are not being considered for closure which means they could possibly ask me to relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma; Columbia, Missouri; or Baton Rouge, Louisiana – all of which are too long to commute too!

I also wrote that I am clinging to the verse God gave me shortly after He called me into women's ministry – Isaiah 42:16. I decided I wanted to study this verse more, since I would once again come to rely on it and claim it.

(By the way, if you haven't discovered www.mystudyBible.com in your study of the Bible, I highly recommend it. It has a dictionary, concordance, commentary, footnotes, word study and Bible study notes just by simply clicking on the word.)

"I will lead the blind." The dictionary says, "Absence of light is used in both physical and figurative senses in both the OT and NT." It also says, "Darkness does not hide one from God (Ps 139:11-12, Dan 2:22)." Darkness can also symbolize ignorance – that would be where I am. "God's deliverance (either from ignorance or hostile powers) is described as lighting the darkness (Is 9:2, 29:18," etc). I admit I am ignorant in the way He would have me go, and I have to trust Him completely because He is showing me "by a way they did not know."

"I will guide them on paths they have not known." In the dictionary, guide means to lead, tread down, and walk. Some of you may have been down a similar road with the downturn in the economy over the past several years, but I have not. This is definitely a path I have not known.

"I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground." God is the light, and He is going before me (in front of me) to make the rough places smooth and level (that is God working it out for my good – Romans 8:28). He is the one who TURNS – meaning change, cast in, determines, and ordains – the rough to smooth. So I have a choice, do I allow Him to guide and lead me so as to follow a more level path, or do I do it myself? DUH. Does this mean I won't have difficulties and problems – no. That is not what this is saying. What it is saying is when we trust God to handle it we can know that He is working it out for our good, AND He will not forsake us.

"This is what I will do for them, and I will not forsake them." Forsake means, "to loosen, i.e. relinquish" and "refuse." He won't loosen His grip on me and my family. He won't relinquish His protection, His thoughts, His plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11), or His grip on me. He won't refuse to hear me when I call, to acknowledge me as His daughter, or to work it out for my good.

So, there you go, and here I am. I am waiting…that's the next blog.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Begins a New Journey into Faith

In my small group on Sunday mornings, in my mentoring groups on Wednesday night and when I mentor one-on-one, I always, always, always tell me ladies no matter their age to journal. Journal what is going on in your life because when you are in the middle of a difficult situation sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees…meaning, when you are in the middle of a struggle often times you don't see all the ways that God's hand is moving to work it out for your good. It's also a good release…just to get things out. I journal privately things I cannot and will not post on line because my life affects more than my own, and I value privacy and the trust of others in my life. But there are also things I do journal online in my blog, and this is where I've chosen to journal the next leg of my faith journey.

I know that I know that God has called me to full-time women's ministry as a vocation. I know this because this IS NOT something I would have chosen for myself, and yet He has placed this desire and burden on my heart. He has yet to reveal to me where and when this will take place, but in the meantime, I'm preparing – as Angela Thomas says, "A Righteous Wait." Sometimes I think I'm ready to do it now, but He hasn't provided or opened that door, so He continues to groom me. And I wait…sometimes patiently and thankfully, and sometimes not so much.

My career as a fraud investigating claim representative for an insurance company has been established in 14 years of experience. I know without a doubt that God called me to it as well. He gave me the temperament, the personality, the gifts and ability to do this job naturally. When I started in this career, I was one of very few women, and I was by far the youngest. I had to find my way into and through the "good ole boys club," and I did. I've dealt with all kinds of people – gang bangers, crooked chiros, chop shop owners, arsonist and people who made a poor decision. I think He was using all of that to prepare me for women's ministry which by nature seems totally opposite, but really it isn't. Women's ministry isn't just for those in the church body. It is equipping them to mature and make good decisions helping them to accept people of different backgrounds, and motivating women to reach out into the community to serve others. That's just one of the ways I see how my career has prepared me for ministry.

You might be wondering what I was referring to as the next leg of my faith journey. Well, here it is. There is a very good chance that the company I work for will be closing the only office here after the first quarter of next year. I could lose my job especially since I am not mobile (willing or able to relocate). My husband is a co-owner of several businesses that are not mobile. My pay is the stability of our financial existence, provides health benefits and affords us the ability to send our children to a Christian school. See where my faith might have potential for growth? I thought you might.

I choose not to be a worrier. I choose to leave it in God's hands and trust He will provide, but occasionally, I slip and worry a little. In December of 2011, I will have my Basic and Advanced Women's Certificate in Women's Ministry. I started this past summer on it, and those hours will apply to my M.A.C.E. (Master in Arts in Christian Education) with a focus in Women's Ministry. I will have 54 more hours to earn my M.A.C.E. So, I wonder when God is going to provide this opportunity for me. Currently, I lead women's ministry at my church on a volunteer basis, and I don't see them adding it as a paid position any time soon, so I wonder when God is going to start opening doors.

I know God's timing is perfect. He's never late, but I'd love it if He were early occasionally…like this time. But in the meantime, I'll do the righteous wait and prepare for when He finally says, "Kristy, you're up!" And during the wait, I will cling to Isaiah 42:16 which has been my verse since He called me to full-time ministry. "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is Bedazzled AND Precious


I'm not sure why, but when I tell women that I'm precious they snicker. I tell my husband that I'm precious, and he just nods and walks off. Sometimes I'm way too precious. You know for things like sweating outside, getting messy (unless it's my idea, of course). Sometimes I show just how precious I am by wearing something bedazzled. (Ya'll remember that? The BEDAZZLER!) Really, I might just wear something with a little bling and sparkly. As a matter of fact, should I become a grandparent some day, I think I want to be called "Precious." Some ladies I meet may laugh when I tell them I'm precious, but then they decide they want to be precious too, so I call them "P.I.T." – Precious in Training. If someone isn't treating you the way you think you should be treated, just say, "Brother, you better back up. Don't make me show you just how precious I am!"

 Now, if you know me at all, you know I'm grinning when I tell people that I'm precious. When things get tense, I whip it out too. You know, just to lighten the mood. My P.I.T.s also don't take themselves too seriously either.

 But in truth, ladies, if you've read any of my blogs about letter from your father, you know that your Creator knows you. He thinks you are precious. If you read my blog in August titled "Has a Lesson on Encouragement," "Has More Words from Your Father," and "Has a Love Letter from Your Father" you know just how precious you really are. God's Word is full of love letters to you, His precious daughter. Don't you just love, love letters? I do. When was the last time you picked up His love letter to you? When was the last time He spoke to you through His Word? Well, it's been too long.

 Cozy up with this good Book, breathe deep, and ask your Daddy what He wants to tell you today. He's just waiting on you, Precious. Don't keep Him waiting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Does It and So Does Everyone I Know…at some time in their lives

My daughter did it a few times, but my son did it more frequently and with more vitality than I ever knew was possible. Nothing had prepared me for it. None of the children I had ever babysat for ever did this, and I was totally caught unaware as a parent. My son's hit early. My daughter's was delayed. I am fortunate that Erin came first and chose to do her times pretty much at home. Pearce was equal opportunity. The time, location and number of people around mattered not to him. Some refer to these outer-body experiences as temper tantrums, the "terrible twos" or the "trying threes."

I remember when Erin hit one of those temper tantrums full-blown. I looked down at my affable, easy-going beautiful little girl and thought the Exorcist had taken possession of her. When she decided to abandon all self-control again, I did something that I continued to use with Pearce. I put her in "the hold." When I was in middle school and high school I worked with a girl at church who had cerebral palsy. In order for her to get on the floor with her peers, I would take her out of her wheelchair and sit her in my lap. I placed her feet between my legs as I sat like an Indian, and I pulled her left arm across her to hold it with my right, and did the opposite for her left. We looked like an intertwined pretzel. With the girl I could help navigate her arms while she attempted to manage direction, but when Erin was in the thralls of a thrashing tantrum, her arms were not allowed to flail. She would fight against me all the while I would be calmly saying, "Erin, when you calm down I'll let go of your hands, but the harder you struggle the tighter it will feel." It was tighter not because I was tightening my grip but because she was pulling away. Eventually, Erin would get it all out of her system and begin to release control of her anger and would settle against me exhausted. It was then I could actually parent her. Like I said Erin did her tantrums at home. Pearce…not so much. I remember one time specifically at the Fall Family Fun Festival. He was a little over three years old, and he was a cowboy. So stinkin' cute! His daddy was working one of the booths which meant he had to stay with me as we went to find my friend who had Erin. This did not please Pearce at all. He began thrashing, yelling and acting like a raving lunatic. What was I to do. I had to show him his momma was the same at home as I was in public, so I sat down and put him in the hold. Had there been a more private place for me to do it, I would have, but this was in an open field in the middle of God and everybody. Yes, GOD AND EVERYBODY!

Now Pearce add a twist to his flailing and thrashing. Once I would put him into the hold, he would start throwing his head backward into my chest or head, so I started leaning forward to prevent him from the behavior. I was praying the blood of the cross from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. When he calmed down enough for me to manage him, we went to the car. It didn't end there. Let's just say it was a LONG RIDE HOME for him and me.

Have you ever wanted to lose your control? Have you lost your control as an adult? Embarrassingly I admit I have. My sister says that motherhood sometimes feels like you're being pecked to death by a duck. I have on occasion snapped, lost my ever-lovin' mind and exploded. My children's jaws hit the floor. I remember my jaw hitting the floor when my mom would get to the point where we would make her say her cuss word – "Dang it." (Snicker all you want, but when Lori and I heard those words come out of Momma's mouth we knew we had not only crossed the line but were broaching where angels fear to tread!)

Sorry, I chased a rabbit.

But self-control doesn't just mean your temper. It means your mouth – do you have control over your tongue? It means your mind – do you control your thoughts or do they run amuck? Do you have control over your eating, or do you eat when you are not hungry or do you over-indulge? (Trust me, I'm talking to myself as I sit down here in New Orleans where the food is WONDERFUL!) Do you control yourself in your spending? Do you control where you go and what you do so you reflect your Father's interest? Are you exhibiting self-control? It's one of the fruits of the Spirit. If you are struggling with this, seek Him and His wisdom. This isn't something you or I do alone.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Can Be Surprised by a 6 year-old boy but not a convict


 

My son. The boy.

I'm not easily surprised. If you don't know, I investigate insurance fraud for a living for an insurance company. I've been told more lies than I can count. There aren't many things in my line of work that surprises me. I've interviewed arsonists, gang-bangers, murderers, and the like. I've taken statements in maximum security prisons. I've interviewed a man whose nervous tick was PICKING HIS NOSE when he would lie about some fact regarding his claim. I've been threatened. I've been cursed at and called all kind of names, and I'm able to smile because I know I'm pushing the right buttons. That may be why my boss says I'm mean as a snake, but I just think it's because I'm effective in my job. But for some reason, I am caught off guard by one little six year old in my house – my son.

There are things I never had to tell my daughter that apparently I should have told my son.

  1. We don't eat "mud" from the backyard where the dog is.
  2. Don't eat the dog's food.
  3. Do not put things up your nose.
  4. Do not jump off the sofa onto a pillow that is on a hardwood floor.
  5. Don't climb the twelve-foot ladder that is just propped up against the fence.
  6. Don't pick on someone who is bigger than you.

The most recent instruction I failed to tell my son was, "Do not put paper towels down the toilet;" "Don't encourage your friends to do that either;" and "Whatever you do at school, I will find out."

I didn't look in Pearce's folder one day last week because he told me he had an A. When I opened it up the next morning to clear the papers and stick the folder back into his Cars backpack, I noticed there was a note from his teacher attached to the folder. Apparently, Pearce and a couple of his friends flooded the boy's bathroom at school. I called Pearce to come to me, and I asked him what happened yesterday that sent him to see the DISCIPLINARIAN of the elementary. (I'm still perplexed how he got an "A" in conduct and still flooded the bathroom.) He then went into this spill that his friend Asa had put some paper towels in the toilet, and Pearce and another boy were laughing because it started bobbing up and down in the toilet. I'm assuming it bobbed up and down every single time they flushed the potty. Then he said, "My friends told Ms Lewis that I said, 'flush it, flush it, flush it!" I said, "Pearce, I have Ms Lewis's phone number, if I call her, will she be giving me the exact same story?" He dropped his head and said, "Okay, so I told him to flush it."

I don't care what psychologists may say. Boys are so completely different from girls and at an early age too. Pearce was barely sitting up when he took two baby dolls rammed them together making car noises. Had been taught that? NO!!! Boys are wired so completely different than girls. Body humor and body functions are intriguing to them, and they aren't afraid to get their hands dirty in Lord knows what. They want to know how things work, so they take it apart but can't get it put back together again. At one point in time, we had ten incomplete flashlights in this house. How do I know that, you ask? Because a storm hit and when we went looking for all of them none of them were still in one workable unit.

I'm sure there are other rules that I'll have to instruct him on after the fact. He definitely keeps life interesting. (And what's more, is he is the typical younger brother and prankster! He loves slapstick!) He wears me out, but sometimes I have to quickly go to my room to snicker.

I tell him all the time when he says his prayers at night that he needs to thank God over and over that He made Pearce so stinkin' cute; otherwise, he might not make it to see the next morning!


 

Gotta love boys.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wants to Know if You Swagger, Lope or Power Walk

I love watching people. One of the best places is at the airport. Talk about a regular menagerie of folks! I observe their appearances, what they are doing and how they walk. Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of walks there are? There are some women out there that wear stilettos like they are Nike's – IMPRESSIVE! Then there is the Power Walker – women who have the look of determination on their face just daring some small child to dart into their path. Then there are the Wanderers -- those who are wandering aimlessly and clueless and who somehow miraculously avoid being plowed over by the Power Walkers. Of course, you can't forget the Mom – she acts more like a herder. She has one child in a leash contraption, one in a stroller, and one just beyond her reach. She has diaper bags, toy bags, and somewhere in there is her much needed Tylenol. There are also the Suits – they're the ones who not only turn on their phone before the light goes off in the plane, but they are talking on it pulling their laptop carry-on bag as they weave in and out of the rest of the world.

But you don't have to go to the airport to see different kinds of walks. There's the swagger. There's the loper. I tease my daughter because we say she has one speed – idle. My sister says when Erin runs it looks like she is forever running up hill, and it just fits Erin's personality. I can't imagine her any other way. My son's walk changes depending on who he is with. If he is with my husband and some of his work crew, Pearce, my six-year-old has his own SWAGGER! He's six! It cracks me up. Other times he runs circles around Erin, and I wait for him to come back around so I can trip him and catch him. Getting older means I have to play smarter. My days of running in high heels have come and gone.

All of this got me thinking about my spiritual walk. Each one's spiritual walk is unique. Does your faith, your walk show a bit of a swagger and confidence when things are going good and in you are where you are supposed to be? What happens when your life hits the skids – because reality happens to Christians too. We are not exempt from pain. As a matter of fact, the Bible says, "In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33)." What happens to you then? Do you lose hope? Do you threaten to give up and throw in the towel? I write this with the love of Christ, if you lose hope you need to check to see what you are focusing on or who you are focusing on!

I've had a particularly hard and difficult week personally. Nothing I can get into on my blog, but just know, that my nerves in my shoulders are in knots the size of golf balls, and my jaws are so tight from my clinching them that they ache. I might need a jack to separate them. It's what I get for holding my tongue. My grandmother use to say that it is better to say nothing at all than have to go back and apologize for something that escaped in the heat of the moment.

But my hope is in Christ. His mercies are new every morning – THANK YOU, LORD! I know that no matter what he or she says or does, what breaks downs and needs to be replaced, or what issue may arise that my Creator, my Redeemer has me in the palm of His hand. He holds my future. He knows how everything is going to work out for my good because I'm a daddy's girl, and I love Him. I know that when life gets too tough to take, and I want to fight in the flesh that with Him anything is possible. Otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep my trap closed! I know that He has been working on a solution before I even knew there was a problem. So, I'm going to choose to put my big girl panties on, and let Him deal with it. I hope you will too.

Daddy's girl,

Kristy

Monday, September 27, 2010

Can Be Easily Distracted


If you have read any of my prior blogs, you know that I am ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive). I was diagnosed in the seventh grade before it was the "in" diagnosis. (I think the signs were just so blatantly obvious and couldn't be ignored and that's why the doctor so easily diagnosed me.) Many believe this is a hereditary type disorder. I would tend to agree. (Have you met my father? Read my prior posts on Red-Neck Snow Skiing!) Throughout my growing up years, my parents worked diligently with me to overcome and compensate. We also utilized medication from time to time. So, to say that I get distracted would be a minor understatement. Last Christmas we bought my daddy a t-shirt that says, "They say I'm ADD, but I'm really not…Hey, look at that chicken!" I just think that is hilarious because that is so how we think.

Last week, Patrick was out of town; Erin had a doctor's appointment and I had to take Pearce; and I had a case in federal court on the criminal side. This doesn't even include the normal weekly activities of helping the kids study for school, grocery shopping, doing laundry, cooking supper, mentoring on Wednesday nights, and going to soccer practice. During these types of weeks, I have learned to say "no." "No, I can't meet with you." "No, I can't add that to my list." "No, I can't pick your child up." These are also the kind of weeks that I tend to get easily distracted and side-tracked. I'm just proud that I got the kids to school every day having had breakfast and had lunch with them. I'm proud I remembered to pick them up, and so are they! Hahaha.

With all the tension of testifying in court because you never know what the defendants' attorneys will throw at you, my muscles were knots on top of knots. So, I knitted to try to relax. Fortunately, I finished a scarf for my niece (do not tell her).With everything that was going on in my life last week, why is it that I can't get distracted to have a quiet time? I can get distracted by a woman trying to get the marshals to allow her to bring her little dachshund into the federal building, but why is it that I can't be distracted or be reminded to spend time in prayer? And there are times when I am working on praying or having my quiet time, and I get distracted by something going on outside, by the buzzer on the dryer, by the boy being too quiet, or by anything or nothing at all. Why is that? Yes, I get frustrated with myself.

Have you ever been on the phone with someone, and they start a conversation with someone else that is there where they are? When that happens, I think they are being rude or they are lacking in attention as well. I am so thankful He doesn't lack in His attention for me. I am so thankful that when I come to Him I have His devoted attention and time. I am so thankful that He wants a relationship with me and that is why He doesn't wave His arms or throw a tantrum when I fail to spend that time with Him. His relationship is based on perfect love, and as we know from the Bible, perfect love casts out fear. Since I know He has perfect love for me, I don't have to fear entering into His presence. I don't have to fear reprimand or vengeance because I was otherwise distracted, but isn't it nice to know that when I realize how I've missed that time that I can grab His Word, crawl up in His warmth and spend time with Him. I am so thankful.

P.S. The two guys in federal court were found guilty on my case and will be sentenced in January of 2011.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wants to Know, “Are you ready to be a Mentor or Mentee?”

Do you know what makes a good mentor great?

  • Being authentic – Be real. Be the woman God created you to be. Be willing to share your flaws and how God is working in your life. Be willing to share how God's grace pulled you out of a similar situation. When a young woman comes to her, shares her heart, and you have a similar story and you fail to share it – SHAME ON YOU! God is sending this young woman to you in order for you to give the glory to God, and here you are holding in the glory meant for Him because of your vanity and pride or fear. Shame, shame. Mentors are not perfect: they are forgiven. One more thing – when we are willing to share our vulnerabilities with another woman, she is more likely to open up and share more with you because this is how trust is formed. By sharing the ugliness that God has redeemed, that young woman realizes you won't be judging her for where she stands now. AND ISN'T THAT WHAT YOU WANT?


     

  • Being filled with the Holy Spirit. In Luke 2 the Bible said Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. There is no better way to encourage another woman than by being filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking the words that He gives you to speak into the life of that young woman. When we operate out of our own ability the results are humanly attainable, but when we operated inside God's ability and guidance, then anything is possible. Luke 2 says, "For nothing is impossible with God."


 

  • Being humble. Elizabeth asked Mary why she had chosen her to be the one to receive the honor of her visit. When the world around Mary probably didn't believe her story, when her fiancĂ© wanted to put her away, when Mary needed a mentor, she went to Elizabeth who was humble and accepting. How do you receive others? Do they feel or see God's love in you?


 

  • Being encouragers. Elizabeth encouraged Mary in her faith in verse 45. Being the person in a woman's life to say, "God is going to get you through this. You can make it"-- instead of condemning as many might.


 

  • Being approachable. Do women feel they can come to you and not be judged? Or are you all business? Are you cynical and harsh? Are things black and white, right and wrong without any room for compassion? Ladies, we need to get over ourselves and ask God to allow us to see others through His eyes. Thank goodness He doesn't see me through the harsh lens of right versus wrong, but rather He sees me through the blood of His only Son standing as His redeemed daughter.

Do you know what can prevent a woman from being a mentor?

    Divorce? No.

    Affair? Nope.

    Addiction? Not hardly.

    Abortion? No, ma'am.

    

    The answers are:

  1. Unrepented sin – It is important that mentors have dealt with their "stuff" -- whether the stuff is sin or other issues -- before they begin to mentor another woman. I encourage every woman to journal because sometimes we don't see God's hand moving in our lives until we have moved through the difficult time and look back. It also allows us to see how there are natural consequences to our sin, especially unrepented sin.


     

    Sin puts a wall between us and God. Remember we needed the cross to break down that wall and receive redemption that's eternal, but we can still be outside of God's will as Christians.


     

  2. Unforgiveness – Unforgiveness means we don't have a contrite heart because we are choosing to make ourselves more important than obeying and submitting our fleshly wills to God's instruction.


     

    When we forgive, we grow in depth in our spiritual relationship by leaps and bounds.


     

    There are a few quotes from Spiritual Mothering that I really like. "Protection is a fruit of forgiveness." We are protected because we are submitting our will to God, and we are under His protection.


     

    "A woman who has not dealt with her hurts in her life and forgiven those who have offended her will have roots of bitterness and anger that will render her ineffective in entering into a nurturing relationship with a younger woman to encourage and equip her to live for God's glory."


     

    "Refusal to forgive puts us under the domination of the person who has offended us, and that enslavement robs us of the freedom to have healthy relationships."


     

    And my favorite is, "Forgiveness is a life-style of grace." A life-style of grace – oh that I might live a life-style full of grace.


 

Unforgiveness is something you choose to pick up every morning when you get out of bed along with any other sin or problem like guilt or worry.

    So, where do you stand? Are you ready to mentor or be mentored? Have you dealt with your stuff? Do you need encouragement to get through your stuff? Are you ready for an authentic, real relationship with a godly growing woman? Let me know.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Has a Heart for Mentoring 101 – Lesson 1

As many of you know, I'm working on my Master's at seminary, and this semester my online class is "Women Mentoring Women." There are other women in the class, but as a part of the Master's curriculum, I have additional reading or assignments. The additional reading for this class is Spiritual Mothering by Susan Hunt. OOOOH! It was so good. I loved reading it and soaking in it and learning from it. I highly recommend this book to those interested in mentoring.

My lesson this morning was on mentoring. I know this is something God has been leading me to for some time for the women at Calvary to participate in, but He hasn't been in any real great rush…ya know what I mean?

Part of my assignment this past week was to come up with some advice considering 1 Timothy and the way Jesus mentored the disciples, and this was my answer:

We must be an example and a reflection of our Father. We must have an intimate, growing relationship with Him in order to be an example to others in...

  • how we speak  -- the words we choose and the tone in which we say them choosing to admonish in love and compassion (After all, Jesus admonished Peter in love when they were away from everyone asking Him three times if Peter loved Him.)
  • how we live -- sharing our lives transparently and spending time with those we mentor (this includes admitting our failures and what we learned from them)
  • how we love -- our husband, our children and others
  • how we believe in our faith -- teaching the mentee lessons we have learned and are currently learning being sure to ask questions of the mentee to prompt them to participate and grow as well
  • how we maintain purity -- by showing mentees how to have time alone with God and how to cultivate that intimate relationship with Him.

Are we perfect people? If we were, we wouldn't be dying in need of the cross. But to mentor means we allow other women into our lives, live transparently before them and show them God's grace in our lives.

If you had a sixteen year-old daughter who came to you and said she was pregnant, what would you do? I have not had that experience. My daughter is only 9, and I don't dare say that I won't ever be face with this because she hasn't made it to adulthood. OR what if your teenage son said his girlfriend was pregnant? I can only begin to imagine the stress and tension in the relationship and in the home. Now what if you lived in a country where girls her age could be stoned or put away for getting pregnant out of wedlock. There are places that is happens. Now ladies, what if your daughter told you the Holy Spirit had come upon her and that is how she became pregnant. Think about the strain and stress that would happen in the household.

Mary was young, unwed and pregnant. She was living in a time where abortion was not an option. She was living in a time where she could be put away or severally punished. Her reputation was obviously at stake. We don't know what happened in her home with her mom. We don't know if her mom believed her. We know Joseph didn't. We don't know if she was ridiculed or if she even told anyone, but what we are told is she went to see Elizabeth. In Luke 2, Elizabeth who was and barren and beyond age-bearing years was now pregnant. She was six months pregnant when Mary made her presence known. The Bible said the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaped and then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth as a mentor was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then next words out of her mouth are, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!" (Vs 42). Do you think those words were like a balm to Mary's heart? Elizabeth is encouraging Mary. She is believing and knowing that God has worked a wonder in Mary's life. How did she know? Because she was filled with the Holy Spirit!

Something else I want you to consider is in verse 38. When Mary was told by the angel all that was going to happen, she said, "I am the Lord's servant." She took the control of the reigns and any possible desire to possess this moment, this baby and placed it squarely at her Lord's feet. She knew she didn't have possession of this event. She knew she wasn't in control. She knew this was God's baby to rock. Ladies, when we release our need to control and our need to possess what occurs in our lives and in our relationship and place it all squarely at the feet of Jesus, there is liberation and freedom like you have never known. Things and people who would normally hurt you, you simply pass on to God allowing you to be able to continue to serve God, honor God and love God's children as He instructed. Lord, May I be so bold as to say, I am your servant.

In the book Spiritual Mothering, Mrs. Hunt makes the point that mature women "must be willing to allow a younger woman to look into her life and learn from it." Does this mean you have to be perfect? PLEASE! What it means that you have to be willing to open your life up to another person for them to see how God's grace has affected you. We have to be real. As one of my friends said "authentic." As mentors, we must throw away our fear of being judged, fear of being found incompetent, or fear of being rejected. If God brings a young woman into our lives who shares a heavy burden with us and we don't share that we have been there too and show them how God's grace worked it out in our lives then SHAME ON US! Satan is using your fear to impede the work God wants to do in your life as well as in the lives of the women around you. SHAME ON YOU! God did not give us the gift of timidity or fear. Time to get your big girl panties on, slap fear in the head, and show that young woman what it's like to live a victorious life because of God's grace. Ladies, if God brings a woman to you for you to share your story, THERE IS A REASON, and if you will just be obedient, that young woman will find you to be sincere and authentic, and she is more likely to come to you again and again with her burdens. And isn't that what we want as mentors?

Will there be times when the person we are mentoring rejects the words we have spoken? Good chance, but is that your problem? Nope. It's God's. That's why every time before you meet with your mentee you need to be meeting God, seeking His face, reading His Word because you don't know what situation or problem the young lady is going to bring up, and there is simply no way to prepare. BUT, if the Holy Spirit is upon you, He will give you the words to say. We are not to try to control the relationship or the outcome for those are from the Lord.

I did not EVEN begin to cover the subject adequately, but I'm totally okay with that because we had some great discussion and some wonderful time encouraging one another.

Over the next few weeks, I'll blog the rest of my lesson. Can you tell I'm passionate about this? We have missed a whole generation of women who are now in high school and college and starting careers – these women need "truth sayers" in their lives. The world is giving them version of the truth, and they hear it loud and clear. We need to be obeying our Father and speaking His Truth into their lives. Now is better than never.


 

His Daughter,


 

Kristy

Monday, September 6, 2010

Has a Confession


Confession is good for the soul. James 5:15-16 reads, "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Confession brings healing in many forms, so this blog is my confession.

As some of you know, I am in seminary. I know that I know that I know that I am supposed to be in women's ministry full-time. God has not revealed the where, then when or the how, but I know He will when His time is perfected. So, what am I doing in the meantime? I'm preparing. I completed three hours towards my Master's in the summer, and I am working on four hours for this fall. (I'm eager to get done.)One of my courses this semester is an online class on mentoring, and being the only Master's student in the class, I have additional, required reading that I have to blog about on the seminary's website. The book on which I blog is Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women. God has put a calling in my heart for women mentoring women, and He is now equipping me and putting women into my life with that same heart and passion, so I know that a mentoring "program" of sorts is on His horizon for our girls and women. This excites me a lot. I love the definition the author of this book uses as to women mentoring women – "When a woman possessing faith and spiritual maturity enters into a relationship with a younger woman in order to encourage and equip her to live for God's glory." I just love that.

At any rate, my confession has to do with chapter two. It hits me between the eyes. It hits me in what I'm sitting in. I have wrestled with the issue of control. (Anyone else out there with the same issue?) I have learned over the years that I don't have control and that control is an illusion. When I couldn't even control my own body in order to become pregnant, when we received the call the mom had stage 3 cancer – I realized I do not have control…never did. I found there is comfort and freedom in not having control because I trust the One who knows my yesterdays and holds my tomorrows to guide me and protect me. On occasion, I have to revisit this lesson.My current issue has to do with possessiveness. My ministry, my calling, my "self." Mary when the Lord spoke to her identified herself as a servant and relinquished control of all rights to her "self" to God. She could do this because she had God's favor, His grace. "Neither her good works nor her outstanding abilities had prepared her for the mission of being the mother of the Messiah, but God's undeserved grace bestowed upon her was the power-source within her" (pg 28). Truth is this is not "my" ministry: it's His. Truth is this is not "my" calling: it's His calling on the life He has given me. When I realize it isn't about my "self" and understand He will do what He wills when He wills it, then I can breathe, not take things personally when it may feel as if I'm under attack. I can put it squarely on the One who is responsible for the ministry and the call. There is freedom and liberation by taking my "self" out of ownership of the office, the title, the ministry and the call because I know it is He who will work it all out. What am I supposed to do? Simple. I am to obey. "When a woman is absorbed with God's glory, she will interpret her life according to His truth" (pg 33) and not by what "self" requires to be validated – this would eliminate a lot of hurt in the body of Christ if we could operate in this frame of mind and heart. (Am I feeling convicted? You betcha because my purpose is to glorify God while I'm on this earth, and if I'm worried about "self" then I'm obviously not worried about being absorbed in His glory, am I?)

Psalms 86:11-12 "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever."If you struggle with the issues of control, possessiveness, "self," vanity, or ego, or if you get your feelings hurt easily, I'd like to challenge you to complete this assignment today (This is in the book on page 35). "Write the statement 'I am the Lord's servant' at the top of a piece of paper.
  1. Under that statement, list any hurts, expectations, disappointments, etc. that you are struggling with
  2. Now ask God to enable you to interpret everything on your list in light of His will for you. Ask Him to show you how each person, circumstance, or event is your platform to reflect the glory of His grace that has been poured into you.

  3. Ask the Father to help you discover the treasure He has for you in your" life where you live.
    His Repentant Daughter,


                                                                                                    Kristy Mullins

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Has a Love Letter from Your Father

The Lord has been sending sweet verses my way lately. I write them down on 3*5 cards that are spiral bound, and I keep them in my purse. I can pull it out and meditate when I have a moment, and some of these verses are the ones that came together for this letter. I do not quote the verse verbatim, but I try to convey the heart of the verse and how He speaks it to my heart. Hope it blesses yours too.


 

Dear Sweet Daughter of Mine,

    You are and forever will be my baby girl no matter your age or size, no matter your stage in life. You are mine. You are forever in my hands, in my arms (John 10:28). I won't fall asleep holding you: I will keep the sun off your face: I will keep the moon at bay so you can sleep. I will protect your very life. I am fierce when it comes to protecting and guarding you (Psalms 121:1-8). When you are anxious, I will hold you and quiet you down with my love, and I'll sing over you much like a new mother sings a lullaby to her baby. --Do you hear me singing over you? If not, stop a moment and listen. -- I take great delight in you and in doing for you because I am your God, your Father (Zephaniah 3:17). When you lie down, you don't have any reason to fear. Your sleep will be sweet (Proverbs 3:24). When you are troubled, I will surround you with my songs of deliverance (Psalms 32:7), can you hear them?    

Sweet girl, these things you are going through are temporary, and I promise you will get so much more out of these trials than you can ever imagine (Romans 8:18). What you see with your eyes is not what I see with mine. I see the growth that will come and has come through your life as a result of rain from heaven (Is 55:8-11). And when it seems more than you can bear, remember, I'm still here (Deuteronomy 31:6).

I am here to fix your broken heart. It isn't damaged beyond repair. I promise. You don't have to keep yourself bound to the pain any longer than is necessary if you will allow me to have it and to do with it as I see fit. You can be free of it today, just give it to your Daddy to handle. Will you? I'm ready to produce in you beauty for the ashes in your life and gladness to replace your mourning and sadness (Is 61:1-3). Is it no wonder that laughter is to follow weeping and dancing after mourning (Eccl 3:4)? I created you to have an abundant life (Jn 10:10), so arise, my love, feel my breath I give to you freely (John 20:22).

    My beautiful daughter, I want to see you dance! When I restore you (Psalms 23:3) I want to see you twirling around, moving and swaying with the song I've given you to sing (Psalms 30:11-12). I want to hear you sing. I want to hear you sing the new song I've given to you (Psalms 40:3). I want you to fill you with joy (Psalms 4:7), and I want to give you every good and perfect thing (James 1:17) for I am


 

                                Forever Your Father

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Says, “You Have Something on Your Face”

My beautiful, smart, strong-willed son met the disciplinarian of elementary school on his second full day of school. Yes, the SECOND DAY OF SCHOOL! He did not get taken into her office though. She told him he wouldn't like going into her office, but she lectured him in the hall. Hopefully enough to make a good impression on a certain kindergartner. I tell you this because as part of his punishment at home, he lost his electrical privileges – no TV and no CD player for most of the weekend. On Saturday, he was outside playing when I called him into supper. Pearce made a bead line straight to the bathroom – BTW, THIS IS NOT THE NORM. I met him coming out of the bathroom. He had changed clothes trying to hide the evidence, but it was still splattered all over his face and hair and smeared on his arms and legs.

"Pearce, what were you doing outside?"

"Nuffin. Just playin."

"Why did you change clothes?"

"I was hot and sweaty."

"Pearce, did you get into some paint?"

Pause. "Yes, ma'am."

"What did you paint?"

Another pause as if wondering what to confess to. "The gate."

We went and ate supper, but he barely ate a thing. I put him in the tub and scrubbed and scrubbed, but the paint just wasn't coming off.

My husband lay down in the bed with Pearce that night and started asking questions about his "paint job." "Son, did you paint my four wheeler?"

Surprised and shocked, Pearce said, "No, sir. I wouldn't do that." And then he confessed to another item he painted. Come to find out Pearce had also painted some of the driveway, the house, and a few other things.

"Pearce, did you use the paint in the white can or the black?"

"Black." Patrick looked up at me and said, "That one's oil-based." (For those of you who don't paint, the oil-based paint does not come off.) Pearce wore his paint to school for the next week.

He is so clever. I know he's just being all boy, but as I was thinking about this whole incident it paralleled sin in a Christian's life. Our sin starts with one thing like Pearce's conversation with the disciplinarian, but often leads to another which can sometimes seem totally unrelated like Pearce's paint job.

Then we try to change or "fix it," so we don't get caught, but God always sees. We are wearing the flakes of sin all over our face but our clothes look fine. We think what we are showing the world is nice clean clothes, but people in the world aren't stupid. They know. They see. They see us wearing our sin and trying to hide it. How are we any different than they are? Instead of trying to conceal our sin, why don't we confess it and be honest. Got a problem with honesty? Got a problem with eating? Got a problem with spending too much? Got a problem with keeping someone's trust? Got a problem with being critical? Got a problem with being exclusive and judging others? Trust me, everybody else knows. It's all over your face. If you don't think so, look at your girlfriend, can you see her sin on her face? Living a life that is pleasing to God, living a life that is transparent showing "warts and all," and learning how to receive forgiveness and overcome – now that's what the world needs to see more of. That's what our government needs more of. That's what our churches need more of. Let it begin with me.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Has More Words from your Father

This past week, I've had to deal with some things, and some of it involved my pride. I tripped on it.

Spending time with God in the quiet seems to be more and more difficult to find which means I need it more now than before. He is always so faithful to stay, to love, to be by my side. These are the words He spoke to me, and the words I read to the ladies of Calvary's Women IN Ministry. Apparently, some of them were dealing with their own stuff and needed a word like I did.

Dear Daughter of Mine,

    You are my precious daughter, and you are the apple of my eye (Ps 17:8). Everything you are going through or dealing with I know about because I have hemmed you in from the front and the back (Ps 139:5). That thing you carry in your heart, that problem, that burden, that situation – do you not realize I can do more, immeasurably more than you ask (Eph 3:20)? And no matter what is happening, I want you to behave as I would (Phil 1:27). You need to imitate me, your Father (Eph 5:1). It's easy to get hurt or be hurt, but if you are doing my will, sweet child of mine, then it's not about you, it's about me, and I can handle it because you aren't fighting against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12). Girl, this battle isn't yours. It's mine (2 Chron. 20:15).

    Just keep your focus on me, sweetheart. It's not easy being the daughter of the Almighty King. I understand. It requires you to look after the needs of others and serve with humility (Phil 2:4) and not complain (Phil 2:14). I want to hear you building others up, being compassionate, and forgiving (Eph 4:28, 32). You need to trust that the reward is great; after all, you are an heiress (Rms 8:17) to me, Your Father, who has cattle on a thousand hills (Ps 50:10) – that means I'm loaded. I can meet your needs (Phil 4:19). You need to realize and believe I'm going to work it all out for your good and my glory (Rms 8:28), so don't be anxious for anything just be grateful and talk to me. I want to hear you, to give you peace, and to guard your heart from being hurt (Phil 4:6-7).

    You are my daughter, and even if you don't know where you are going in life or in this ministry, I do. I will lead you and guide you even when you can't see around the next bend, and when things seem dark, I know what is going to happen, and I am preparing the way (Is 42:16). And even if you think you know the plan, trust me, I'm the One who has laid out your footsteps (Prov 16:9). I won't leave you, precious one, or abandon you (Heb 13:5). You mean too much to me.

                                    Your Father

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Has a Confession: I Jiggle When I Giggle

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I could no longer deny my adulthood. I am in full-blown adulthood. I know it must sound odd, but it didn't really strike me or cause me shock until I was introduced as this lady's Sunday school teacher and the director of the women's ministry at Calvary. Doesn't that make me sound…old? That's when it hit me. I've become her. I've become that woman I thought I would never be. I've become a woman who is a wife and a mother and is happy to be both. I've become the woman who has now stepped head-on into leadership. It's my turn.

Even though I'm starting my second year as the leader in women's ministry and as a teacher of women for some reason it just really hit me that I've become her. I've become the mean mom. I've become a mentor, and the one people ask for advice. I've become the woman with soft spots that jiggle when I giggle. (I am thankful I haven't become the woman who tinkles when she giggles…hehehe! I'm sure my day is coming though.) It feels as if I'm just now stepping into my stride, and to top it all off I turn 40 in September. (The number doesn't bother me.) Why is it that I'm just now hitting my stride in life? It isn't because my home is immaculate or that I have all my ducks in a row. What is it?

I realize now it is the rich tapestry of people and events that God has woven into my life that has prepared me for such a time as this. When He was creating me in my mother's womb, He knew He was creating me with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). He knew by creating me with ADHD that I would know I was different as early as third grade, and that I would float from one group of girls to the next searching for a friend that I wouldn't find until late junior high. By allowing me to be ADHD, He knew I would have to learn to get along with girls I didn't exactly care for. He knew by creating me with ADHD, I'd be able to overcome and learn to compensate therefore being able to complete many tasks and complex investigations making me successful in my first career. He knew when He was creating me in my mother's womb that He was creating me to be strong-willed. He knew my parents were capable of knocking off the edges, my husband would round off the edges, and my children would soften the edges. He knew I'd have issues with submission, and He chose my parents knowing my mom would ultimately teach me the most about submission not only to God but to my husband. God knew before the world was created who He was creating me to be at this time in my life. He has been weaving a vibrant tapestry in which I hope He is seen. This tapestry that has now culminated into a calling on my life to minister to women was known to Him before the world was formed. It is truly amazing to see how He taught me how to get along with different people at an early age, how to observe and use my gift of discernment in my career, how to submit to the authority in my life, and how to be a leader using the temperament He gave me. These things and so many more He now wants me to use in the ministry to which He has called me.

The great thing is He does it for every single person on the face of the earth. I unfortunately just figured it out for myself during self-exploration during a leadership class at seminary. I learned seven years ago that God doesn't waste anything in our lives. I just hadn't realized how He is able to weave things that appear to be so disconnected into something I would call my life, my ministry.

What is He preparing you for? What has He created you to be? What are you going to be when you grow up? Ask Him, "Search me and try me, O Lord. For your ways and your thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts." He is faithful.


 

P.S. This is not to say that I have arrived because He has not finished with me yet. This was just one of those ah-ha moments for me to realize how He is using it all for my good and His glory.