Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wants to Thank the Women of Calvary -- this last day in November

Since starting the Women IN Ministry in Fall of 2009, the women of Calvary did amazing things. We were doing the things our pastor was preaching…we were being the church outside the church. I want to take this time to thank the women of Calvary for the following:

• Thank you to the women who attended the very first get-together in the old fellowship hall. The ladies changed tables and answered questions about themselves and met new women at each one. We concluded with a time of corporate prayer, and it was powerful. It was amazing to see how God put a newly young widow at the same table as an established young widow – they had never met before that night. Another woman was led to prophesy to another about the promises of God for her life and the future of her husband in medicine – God is faithful.

• Thank you to the women who came and learned to knit during our Lost Arts nights. We knitted scarves for the Romanian orphans. The scarves actually looked really good. NOTHING like the first one I did.

• Thank you to the women who knitted baby blankets and made the flannel baby blankets that were donated to the Crisis Pregnancy Center. I can’t remember how many they were, but they filled a long table stacked 5-6 high.

• Thank you to the women who donated other baby items to the Crisis Pregnancy Center at the Christmas Tea. Three tables were filled with wonderful things for the CPC.

• Thanks to the women who secured the items for the silent auction at the Christmas Tea that raised over $700 for the CPC.

• Thank you for the women of Calvary who began volunteering at the CPC because of their exposure to it during this semester.

• Thank you to the women who hosted the tables at the Christmas Tea. They were so diverse and wonderful.

• I’m thankful for those of you who invited your family, friends and co-workers to the Christmas Tea.

• Thank you to the women who opened their homes, who taught how to decorate cupcakes and cakes during our Sweet Stars. Those cakes and cupcakes were sold and raised over $600 for the Heart of Hope Maternity Home.

• Thank you to the women who brought their unchurched friends to the Sweet Stars, and thank you to the women who ventured out into these small groups for the first time in an effort to get connected at Calvary.

• Thank you to the women who donated baby diapers for the young mom who found herself pregnant with triplets after having a 5 year old and 9 month old. This young mom had written off church, but as a result of your caring and your love she and her whole family became active until they moved out of Shreveport.

• Thank you to all the women who were the church outside the church and went to Heart of Hope Maternity Home to stock, to clean and to decorate. So thankful you were able to be the feet of Jesus.

• Thanks to all the women who donated pantry items and groceries to the Heart of Hope Maternity Home.

• For all the women who came to the Mother’s Day breakfast, thank you. There was at least 500 + women.

• For the women who participated in Hearts and Feet – this group of women ministered to women in our church who had cancer. They would pray for them, show up at the hospital for a treatment, send them cards and gifts. They were the heart and feet of Jesus. Thank you.

• Thanks to my young’uns. I loved discipling y’all. You are an amazing group of young women -- all of whom are now engaged or married. You all know how to reach me. Thank you for allowing me that honor of investing in your lives.

• Thanks to the ten to twelve prayer warriors that I’ve called since the beginning of this ministry. I’ve connected prayer warriors with women in crisis whether it was a health issues, marital, financial, or other. The warriors were so faithful to pray for those struggling. Thank you.

• For the ladies who started the library of books. We were building a library for women to have access to. With the economy the way it is, we realized that books may be a luxury item for some, and we were offering that as an option.

• Thank you to the ladies who helped fill goody bags to bless the nursery workers and the children Sunday school teachers.

• Thanks to Mrs. Lavahn who was always in the WIM office on Sunday morning in case a woman needed encouragement or prayer.

• And last but not least, I want to thank the wonderful women of the WIM team. There was never one argument. Our focus was on God first and seeking where He would have us go and what He’d have us do. Thank you Debbie for being the calm, consistent force keeping me on task. Thank you Donna for being the powerhouse God has created you to be. It has been so neat to watch you grow and bloom. Mrs. Lavahn, you have made me laugh and smile too often to count. You are a constant source of encouragement. Mrs. Jean, thank you for being so congenial and willing to help. Mrs. Kathy, thank you for your energy and passion that you brought to the team. Deann, thank you for bringing your sweetness and your heart and willingness to serve. Traci, ummm – just kidding. Traci, I love ya. I was really looking forward to working with you on teaching women how to talk to other women about Christ. I’m so glad God had our paths cross. You challenge me. Sunni, thank you for your creativeness and your heart for young moms. I’m so glad you are now that stay-at-home mom. Sally Gaspard, you are an amazing, powerful woman, and it was a pleasure to serve alongside you. Kelly Johnson was also on the team in the beginning lending her passion for the Word of God. Julie Choate with her experience in women’s ministry was on the first team as well and has cultivated and mentored myself as well as others in the church. Love you. Mom, thank you for being willing to follow and give advice and not feel threatened. Thank you for teaching my group of women on Sunday mornings when I needed you to do so. Your wisdom, experience and insight has been immeasurable.

I have so much for which to be thankful. A lot of women’s lives were touched as we were Jesus’ hands and feet, and I have learned so much from you all.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pearce said, "I regret bringing you here."

Pearce and I reached the peak of a 1.5 mile hike up a mountain. I had begged him half way for us to turn around. “Pearce, would it hurt your feelings too badly if we turned around and headed back?” “Come on, mom. Put your faith into it. You can do it.” Great! He’s questioning my faith. We finally made it to the top which was a bit lack-luster or anti-climatic. Pearce was bent over and breathing heavy and said, “Mom, I regret bringing you up here. Shoot! I regret making myself come up here.” That kid cracks me up. But once again, it wasn't about reaching the mountaintop. It was about the journey.

This hike was in Bandelier National Monument, and Pops (Patrick’s dad) had graciously agreed to take Pearce and myself to see where the cliff dwellers once lived. Part of the Bandelier Park is a 1.5 mile hike. It wasn’t nearly as treacherous as the hike we completed the day before, and while I wasn’t sore from yesterday’s adventure (miracle beyond miracles), it was still rather steep in places. I treasure having one-on-one time with my kids. Out of Erin and Pearce, Pearce is probably the most like myself, while Erin and Patrick are two peas in a pod. This second hike had amazing views, and the conversations were wonderful.

On the 1.5 mile hike down the mountain, Pearce said, “You know, I think we need to pray on the way down.” Wanting to encourage his leadership in this area, I agreed and encouraged him to begin. I wasn’t sure if he was praying that we would make it down safely or what, so listening to his prayer peaked my interest. Pearce prayed for his daddy who had altitude sickness and for his sister who had chosen to stay back with Patrick and Dodie. Afterward he said, “Isn’t it amazing how creative and crafty God is?” He had stopped and was taking in the view while drinking some water. I just love times like these. Pearce challenges me physically to do more than anyone else.

Part of Bandelier allows people to climb up ladders into little cave in the side of the mountain where Native American’s called “Cliff Dwellers” used to live. He climbed every ladder, and I climbed a few. We saw paintings on the side of the mountain that had faded over the years of sunlight burning into the surface of the mountain. We heard the stream down below, and we wondered how these people lived so minimally.

I am so thankful to have had time away with my family. I am so blessed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I Learned Headed to the Mountain-Top...

On our second day of hiking in Santa Fe, I was questioning my sanity and the strength of my own legs as they were beginning to feel like rubber bands. The first day we hiked 1.3 miles up the side of a mountain at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Patrick, his dad and his wife went half way up while Erin, Pearce and I hiked to the summit of these amazing hills and mountains. Patrick was suffering from altitude sickness, so the kids and I wandered the paths, climbed over rocks and boulders, squeezed through tight places and climbed to heights we had never reached before. I have to admit I wasn’t all that excited about reaching the top…atypical for a type-A person.

My family had not had a vacation since I started seminary, and we were in dire need of some time away. Personally, when I go on vacations to relax I like to curl up with a good book and listen to the waves pound the sand, but this wasn’t that kind of vacation…obviously. Believe it or not when I am on vacation and trying to relax, I’m a lot calmer and even quiet. I know that may surprise some of you, but I really am.

So, as the children and I were trekking upward and onward, I was taking my time, and what I learned was this – Sometimes we are so geared for that mountain-top experience that we negate the experience from the climb, and we overlook the beauty in the journey.

A tree standing between rocks straining for the sun in striking contrast to the rocks surrounding it against the bluest of blue skies.

Rocks that must have been honed by God’s own hand just to entertain the angels and humans who would discover these tent-shaped rocks. (Loved that conversation with my kids)

Swirls of different colored layers of stone crawling overhead and along each wall.

Children playing in the twisted and gnarled roots of a tree that refuses to die.

Places so tight along the path and so treacherous that not everyone who attempted would be allowed to pass.

Boulders balancing precariously atop of tent-shaped mounts.

I saw my children tackling their fears and asserting leadership.
And once we were almost to the top, we saw the tent-shaped mounts from a different perspective.

I saw works of art that I would have missed had I just been set on reaching the mountain-top experience.

God uses everything along whatever journey you are on. It is okay to observe your surroundings as you journey towards the mountain summit. I encourage you. By doing so, you will see that you are actually living life and experiencing life not overlooking the least of God’s blessings along the way.

And when you have to come down from the mountain top, as we all must, remember the view is different, so take your time. Enjoy the view. Learn what you can, and encourage those who are going up to the top to not stop and those who are headed down to keep their footing sure and their eyes open for the miracles that can happen if we are just aware. Because if we travelled 1.3 miles up, then we travelled 1.3 miles down.

What an amazing trek with my kids. Great conversations. Awesome experience. Time well-spent.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The End of Women's Ministry at Calvary

I have written this blog at least a dozen different ways in my mind since I found out two weeks ago that Pastor Rick was going to close the women’s ministry in Calvary. I have to admit I was the most ill-equipped women’s ministry leader at the beginning of this journey. The first time our church did the Daniel’s fast in January of 2009, God revealed so much to me. He laid out what missions He wanted His daughters to focus on until December 2011. I assumed that after that point He would reveal to me what He wanted His daughters to do in ministry. During that first fast He laid it heavy on my heart that I needed to become equipped. Investigating insurance fraud doesn’t prepare a woman for ministering to women, in case you wondered. And as much as I did not want to go to seminary, this is where He led, so I followed. In June of 2009, I entered seminary taking Master level courses in women’s ministry. This December I will graduate with two certificates (Basic and Advanced) with a 4.0. WOOOHOOOO!!!

I have to tell you being a wife and mom, working a full-time job, leading a ministry, and going to seminary seemed very daunting and overwhelming, but I knew this is where God was leading me. This 2011 year has been a particularly difficult year for my family. My family sacrificed for me to go to seminary. I would go for a week at a time only to return with two 15 page papers, two final exams and four books to read in four weeks…this didn’t include the work I had to do for my online classes. Plus my family began this year not knowing if I would have a job with benefits. We had to wait until August to find out that God had answered our prayers. I would get to keep my job and benefits, and I would be starting to work from home in 2012 – WOOHOO! At the end of March, Patrick began working out of town. I was single-parenting from March until the beginning of August. For all you ladies you prayed, supported and encouraged me during this time – thank you, thank you, thank you. Then at the end of July, Patrick’s mom became deathly ill, and we began trekking 5 ½ hours to see her while Patrick would go every few days. Gynelle passed away at the beginning of September. Two weeks later, Patrick’s 47 year-old cousin was found dead (Gynelle’s niece). The mother of this cousin was admitted to a hospital where she remains. Then this Thanksgiving week, Poppa Bob (Patrick’s step-dad) fell off a ladder and suffered a severe concussion and bruised ribs. He doesn’t remember that Gynelle died. He was flown to Jackson, Mississippi, because of the three bleeders in his brain.

I tell you all of that to say this. I do not believe for one moment that God would have my family go through such hardship to tell me to stop ministering to women. Calvary may not have a ministry for women, but I know this is a calling God has put on my life (often times, much to my chagrin). So what now? I’m not a quitter. I will continue to follow where God leads. I don’t have to defend the work that He led us to do these past 2 ½ years because I can honestly say that everything that was done was prayed over by a godly group of women, and we didn’t move unless we as a team in unison believed this was where God was leading. So, now I’m waiting on God to see why He wanted me to become equipped to do women’s ministry. I wait to see what doors He opens, and I anticipate the adventure that lies beyond because a growing Christian’s life is never dull.

I see more and more women starting ministries outside the church, and the ones I’ve spoken to regarding their ministries, I now understand their choices and reasoning. I don’t know if God will lead me to start a ministry outside the church or work with one that is already established. I just know that women have the same calling to serve and minister in the body of Christ, and I can’t wait to see how God will use me next.

Ladies of Calvary, I love you and I thank you for your involvement, your excitement and your passion to serve and minister. I’m still available for lunch or to meet for coffee if you want to talk. You can still reach me on FB, e-mail, text or phone if you need someone to pray for you, pray over you, or pray with you, please don’t hesitate to call me. You are amazing women, daughters of the Most High God.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

INDULGENCE -- Lesson 1

At the beginning of this fast, I have to admit I didn’t think anything about spiritual warfare. Hadn’t even crossed my mind. But on the third day, my accountability partner was verbally attacked on the local news where the public was given a forum to give their opinions based on their limited, one-sided knowledge. If you will pray a hedge of protection around her and her family, I’d greatly appreciate it. Then on the third day, I went to withdraw the Christmas Fund money to begin buying presents. The money and my driver’s license were in the envelope. I believe I put it in my purse, but it could have been in my lap. I went to Lifeway to look for a book for seminary, and when I got out of the truck, something hit the ground. I looked to see if my water bottle had fallen, and I saw nothing. So, I went on my way. It wasn’t until 5:30 PM that I began looking for the money and realized it was NOT in my bag. Patrick came home, so I could go back to Lifeway. On the drive all the way back to town, I was crying and praying because it was a lot of money. I rested in the fact that God knew exactly where it was, and if He so desired, He would restore me…one way or another. It still grieved me to no end.

It was then that I remembered the word that God had kept putting the word indulgence in my heart and mind. To be quite frank, I had never really thought about that word. It’s not one I use on a regular occasion. It isn’t part of my normal vernacular, so being the investigator that I am, I began to dig.

According to indulgence means the gratification of desire. In length the definition given is, “a pleasure, habit, etc, indulged in; extravagance” or “liberal or tolerant treatment,” “something granted as a favour or privilege.” In commerce indulgence is “an extension of time granted as a favour for payment of a debt or as fulfillment of some obligation.”

So, what is my desire? Last night, it was definitely to find that envelope. My desire is to have direction for women’s ministry. I’d like to have my house completely remodeled, so we can move into town. But most importantly, I want to be in God’s will, and I want to be in-line with the leadership He has given me. This reminds me of James 1:17 - 18, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through all the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created”(NIV). He wants to bless us. He wants to indulge us as His children. Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”(NIV). Does this mean God gives us everything we want?NO. He doesn’t want to spoil us. Do you like being around a spoiled child? Plus, these desires come after we delight in Him. If we are spending time with Him and communing with Him, then He is speaking to our hearts. He is putting those desires in our hearts, and then blessing us with providing it.

As Paul Harvey says, “Here’s the rest of the story.” I got up and ran a couple of errands after having gone to work this morning. I had to run home because we had forgotten to send Pearce’s snacks with him to school, so I ran all the way home to get them. When I returned to the truck, I noticed I had a missed call. It was a number I didn’t recognize, and there was a voice mail. A husband and wife had found my driver’s license in the parking lot at Lifeway. Would I please call her back? I immediately called her back with tears brimming on the edges of my eyes. I introduced myself and asked if she had found my driver’s license in an envelope full of money. Apparently, they had found my house phone number and had been trying to reach me but couldn’t because we use that line for a fax machine for Patrick’s business. Then her brother suggested googling my name. My name pulled up references to my leading women’s ministry at Calvary. She called Calvary, and they gave her my number.

God’s restoration is perfect. It’s like Pastor Rick said, God doesn’t use duct tape. His restoration is perfect. So today at three, I picked up my driver’s license and the envelope with all the Christmas money in it.

He indulged me with His favor to give me the desire of my heart. He got my attention.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Where do I begin? How about the end and work backwards? I lost an envelope that contained a large sum of money and my driver’s license. It was my Christmas fund.

Now to the beginning…last week I met with one of the women on my team for brunch and discussed part of what God had laid on my heart. I asked her to teach a Bible study on a subject, and we purchased the book together. During our conversation, she said she was going to fast in order to detox and to pray about leading this class. We started the Daniel’s fast on Monday. Today is the third day, Wednesday, and she is going to be verbally attacked on our local news, and the money I withdrew to by Christmas presents is missing. I’ve also been sick this week while trying to get my seminary work turned in by next week. So far, I’m wondering, “Why did I agree to do this fast?” Apparently, we have stirred up a hornet’s nest.

Since starting this fast, there is one word that keeps coming into my mind and heart – Indulgence. This word has nothing to do with the subject for which we are praying. I have a feeling this is God’s revelation to me.

I know that God knows where the money and my driver’s license is, and I know that He is more than able to return all of it to me…if that is in His will.

I know that whatever happens on the news tonight or whatever happens with the Christmas money that God is going to work it out. I just have to have faith and trust. Will you please pray with me that whatever happens that God will receive the glory? Will you pray with me that God will use these things that Satan meant for harm us that God will turn it around for our good? He is more than able. He is more than capable. Will you also pray for God’s protection over us and our families? I don’t think the adversary likes what God has placed in my heart.

Spiritual warfare is very real. I’m looking to God to do great things in this fast. I’m expecting Him to give us guidance and wisdom.

I’ll let you know where He leads me regarding INDULGENCE, and how things turn out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Has Been Bullied...And Here's the Rest of the Story

I wadded up my fist, reared back as I walked over to my bully, and let an upper cut fly.

It was my senior year in high school. I was 5 foot 6 ½” and maybe 105 pounds on a good day, and I had reached my maximum capacity of bullying. I don’t think I had recognized it as such, but now that I look back I think it qualifies. I had to go to a competitor’s school my senior year, and one of the football players had been throwing rocks at me as I would walk across the quad to different classes. This had gone on for weeks. Thing is I liked him as a person, but he had gotten on my last nerve, and I had had enough. ENOUGH.

So, I wadded up my fist, reared back as I walked over to my bully, and let an upper cut fly. When his head came back down to where he looked down into my eyes, I said, “Cut. It. Out.” I turned around and walked off as the other football players were laughing.

Had I thought my actions through? PLEASE! No, I hadn’t. Was there a better way to have handled the situation? Maybe. Was my way effective? (I’m smiling.) Yes, yes it was. Later he would come to me and tell me to let him know if anyone ever bothered me, he would take care of it. I told him I could take care of myself.

My daddy had taught me to fight when I was in elementary school after my first fight with a boy. Could I have held my own with the football player? Are you kidding me? He was about twice my size. But the element of surprise was on my side.

I didn’t think about that scene until recently. During small group on Sunday morning, one of the ladies in my class referred to meeting her high school bully. She referred to the other woman as “my bully.” Then I heard of a girl this week hitting a boy at school who had been bullying her, and then his mother all of the sudden had a problem with it.

Let me go ahead and tell you, my children are not perfect, but if I ever find out one of mine has bullied another person there will be a serious come-to-Jesus meeting in the Mullins’ house. Truthfully, I only have concerns regarding one of them. The other one just gushes mercy…they don’t tend to be bullies (hahaha).

It’s about respect. We are learning about respect in my house these days. Respect for what God says in His word. Respect for parents and authorities. Respect for others. Respect for ourselves. Respect in the way we talk to others. Respect in the way we behave. It all goes towards the showing the world the type of character we have.

I’ve told my kids I want them to do three things, and if they do these three things, they will be doing great. 1) Be Respectful 2) Be Obedient 3) Be Kind. Respect goes a long way. If a young lady respects herself, she isn’t going to allow some boy to disrespect her. If a young man respects his parents and authorities, he has learned to submit his will and will be more likely to follow God’s leadership. Obedience is for the development of their character and for their protection. Kindness means they are looking for ways to bless or benefit someone else – they aren’t just looking out for themselves. I’m praying these lessons stick.

Obedience is not a dictatorship. I totally believe in giving my children choices when it is appropriate and when they’ve earned it. My children are learning about rites and privileges. They now understand rites mean air, food, education, and clothes. Privileges are the blessings in life and can be withheld or removed. We want so much to give our children good things, to bless them with their hearts’ desires…Does this sound familiar? Matthew 7:11-12 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” That about sums it up for parenting and bullying, doesn’t it? So thankful my God gives good gifts and blesses me even when I don't deserve it. So thankful God is faithful to work on developing my character and loves me enough to not leave me as I am.