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, 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.