Monday, December 17, 2012

Jesus Come Soon

There is Light in the dark~It's name is Jesus


Oh wow, I'm still speechless about what happened Friday. I still have no words, but it didn't seem right to carry on here without saying something. With tears in my eyes I dropped the kids off at school this morning. I spent my morning praying for God to protect them and other children around the country from the evil that is around every corner. It was hard watching them walk away.

My heart is heavy and I can't imagine how those parents and families are still putting one foot in front of the other.

And, I'm mad.

Mad at not only this young evil man with no conscience, but mad that God didn't stop him.


Why God?  how could you sit on your throne and let this happen?!


Romans 1:28-32 "28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them

Innocent lost. My mind can't wrap around it, and as angry as I am, I know God is still good and is in control. I know it. I believe it and feel it.

I know my faith and the faith of those parents is the only thing that will get them through this. Because whatever Satan means for evil, God will make good come out of it. Even this.


I know this world is evil and fallen and Satan is having his time right now. But still, those innocent babies, did they have to die? Evil showed up Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary and forced himself in.

Satan is attacking the young among us to divide the rest. He knows how precious our children are to us and in a low down attack he gets to us through them.

It makes my job as a parent even harder, but I am more determined than ever. I will not give up teaching my children what's right and what really matters in this world. I will work and pray and give my kids over to God, because no matter what happens, I trust Him.


And Jesus...he can't come soon enough. The babe whose birthday we celebrate next week. The man that willingly laid down his life so that we would no longer fear death, who promised he would return one day and put an end to Satan once and for all...come quickly, please.

He allows us to vent and rage, because I know He is angry too. He's mad at the way sin has turned His beautiful creation into something ugly and sin filled.

Jesus came so that we would not fear death. He IS bigger than this world and everything that happens in it.
And while I don't understand why some things happen, unfair cruel things, God said this world was going to be tough. Sometimes we understand just what He was talking about.

My momma heart is breaking, I've had to stop watching the news and take a step back from the social media sites. The tears come easily and it hurts to breathe when I think it could have been my own. What if it had been my own?!

I know your praying for those in Newtown CT as I am, but I also want to pray that we would unite. Lets not be ones that take place in pointing fingers and trying to explain why God did or didn't stop the massacre. There are things this side of Heaven we will never understand.


And the people that are blaming and pointing fingers are giving the devil even more satisfaction. He loves that we are fighting among ourselves and blaming each other for what happened. God's getting a bad rap for not preventing this horrific tragedy. But God is God, and He is in control. Who are we to question God?


Let's pray and NOT let the devil take any more from us than he already has. We are not defeated. He doesn't win. Let's pray...




These, say it better than I ever could::  God Can't Be Kept Out Rachel Held Evans

                                                        Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?  Ann Voskamp
                                                        
                                                        An Attempt To Put Words On The Heartbreak Emily Freeman

                       
                                                       Rick And Bubba Show~Preach it man!



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Friday, December 14, 2012

Soul Stirring and Teary Eyed






I love music, but I gotta say Christmas music is my favorite!

I came across this the other day on Facebook and knew I wanted to share it on here.

If you watch The Voice then you know quirky CeeLo Green. Well, he sings "Mary Did You Know" for a new Jesus movie called "The Bible" that is coming out in March and the video is AMAZING!

It's the perfect get you in the spirit of things kind of video.

I hope you enjoy.

and I dare you Not to cry!!

Have a blessed weekend!







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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I'm Me...And That's OK





When I look into his sweet baby blues, I see his daddy looking back at me. His smile and dimples are mine, so is his innocence {or some would say gullibility}. He believes what people say and takes them literally and at their word.  He's contemplative and likes to think things through before he makes a decision. In the early morning hours you will {sometimes} find him reading in his room while others sleep.



Her stunning hazel cat like eyes are those of her great grandfather, I used to call him Paw Paw before his life was struck short in an automobile accident. She sees the world in black and white, and challenges me daily to live by grace. Her nose and chin she inherited her from her great grandmother on the other side. And that strong will, double doses from her grandmother and grandfather! :)

We often say to them "your just like so and so, or you remind me so much of me at that age." It's a reminder of where they come from, their heritage of roots that run deep.

As adults we hear those words, and we flinch in protest. And get all mad and self righteous and set out to prove those words wrong.

We will spend our entire lives running and striving to be different. How often have you said "I will never become my mother"only to wake up and realize you have become just that {Hi mom!}.

And yes, in a lot of ways I am like my mother, and my dad, and others before me, but I'm also me.
There will always be things that I want to change, and I can only pray with God's guidance and wisdom that I will become a better version of who I really am.

Our parents aren't perfect, and God knows how many mistakes I make that will come back to bite me one day. But, there's freedom in the acceptance of self. There's freedom in the grace you give yourself and extend to others.



Keeli may one day find herself saying "I hope I don't act like my mom" and she may try really hard to be the opposite of me, but there will come a day when she will realize who she is, and who I am, are all part of what's been handed down generation after generation, and that it's not as bad as she once thought.

Our genes are the backbone of who we are, but they are not all that we are. It's up to us to write our own stories and leave our own mark on the family tree.

I'm me and that's good

Thanksgiving break we took the kids to the movie Wreck it Ralph.

The main character Ralph didn't want to be him anymore, and he went to great lengths to prove he was something more. More than what others said he was. He knew deep down he wasn't a bad guy and he set out to prove it. I won't give away any details in case you plan on seeing it, but the message of the movie for me is that we can work hard to prove to others what we are or aren't, or we can see the good and bad and work on those, and accept ourselves as we are.

One of my favorite lines in the movie is from Ralph "I'm not good and that's OK, but I'm me and that's GOOD."

Accept and embrace your unique, one of a kind God made self. Everyone else, they're just struggling to do the same.

Do you have trouble accepting  certain parts of you and wish them differently? Do you fear becoming one of your parents?  Please share in the comments.





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Linking up with these wonderful blogs, click, and be blessed::  Soli Deo Gloria, Imperfect Prose, God Bumps & God Incidences, Winsome Wed, WIP, Thought Provoking Thursday

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gifts For The King From The King



Christmas is upon us. Visions of
shopping, Christmas trees, and baking
cookies for friends and neighbors swirl
in our head. The busyness of it all is enough to make even Job take a pause. And with the Christmas season comes gifts.

But today I'm thinking of different gifts.
Three gifts to be exact.

Three different- not your run of the mill gifts, but still very important and much needed.

And I wonder.... would I have appreciated them or snubbed my nose?

Over the weekend while visiting a new church (we are church shopping at the moment, trying to find "the one", since we just moved)  The preacher spoke of the three gifts the Magi brought Jesus. Gold, incense, and myrrh.

 If you think back to your last baby shower or to any baby shower you've ever been to, you remember giving or receiving baby blankets, and bottles, and sweet unbelievably small precious baby clothes to the mom to be.

But gold, a candle, and some spices?? I think not.

Those aren't things that come to mind when you think baby gift. But those are the very things that they were told to bring to sweet baby Jesus.

God's provision
God knows sometimes our circumstances aren't the best and we long for something better or more. We wonder how God can make anything good out of messy ole us. Things happen that are beyond our control and we want nothing more than peace, comfort and security. But sometimes, gifts from God don't feel like gifts.

Maybe Mary and Joseph were wondering the same thing. Why on earth did these supposedly Wise Men bring such strange gifts for their baby?

It didn't take them long to figure it out though. In Matthew 2 it tells of how angel's come and warn Joseph when danger is near. That is how he knows when to pack up the family and hit the road. For their travels they were going to need that gold to buy things to get where they needed to go and for food, God's provision.

Baby Jesus like any baby was probably crying and a little fussy, after all he had left his throne in heaven where he reigned to come to earth, it was all probably a little unnerving for the little guy. All through the Old Testament we read about the priests lighting incense in the temple and how the fragrance drifted all the way to the heavens.

God in his provision arranged for the Magi to bring incense, so that when it was lit baby Jesus would smell it and be comforted and he would know that God was with him. Jesus had smelled that sweet fragrance in Heaven so many times before, so it was familiar scent. I wonder if Mary and Joseph even realized the comfort the incense brought  their sweet baby {if it were me I would have chalked it up to my mad parenting skills}.

God knew what Jesus needed before he needed it and provided it for him. That's our God! And He does the same for us.

The spices could have been used for cooking. They had the gold to buy food now God even provided spices for them to cook their food.

They could have looked at their circumstances and thought, "Wow, can things get much worse, we're hiding out with a baby and the king wants him dead?"  It would have been easy for them to look at their circumstances and their minds to go into the pit of despair.

It would be easy for us to look at what we have and think, it's not enough. A little more and all will be good.

Friends, God may not remove the storm from your life, but He will be right there with you providing what you need to make it through, Himself.

I pray this Christmas we will see God's provision, sometimes it doesn't look the way we want it too, we may want something different or more, but He has blessed us greatly with what He has given and He always gives what we need when we need it.


Blessings to you this Christmas Season!
And thanks for taking a moment to read.



photo via flickr creative commons

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

On Leaving Iowa



Well, friends, we made the move we are officially Texans now. For better or worse here we are.
I'm not sure what to think of my new state, yet.  I've felt very unsettled so far and a little anxious, it's probably just new person jitters.

The kids started school Thursday, so I spent the day praying and being busy so that the day would go by faster. I remember moving and starting school when I was their age and that feeling in the pit of your stomach the first day, is well, kinda sickening.

But my kiddos did Awesome! 

Keeli came home and said the girls were fighting over who was going to walk her to her classes and show her around and they all wanted to sit next to her at lunch!! Praise God! That's all I can say, I'm so eternally grateful for God's show of mercy and goodness again. Why I doubt and worry I don't know, I guess I can blame my short term memory.

I didn't think I would miss Iowa as much as I do, but I do, I miss it. The sweet friends, my landlord and his family,  my church, all of them. It's hard starting over, and I don't know how the military families do it, it makes me have even more respect for them. Cause starting over is hard. You have to be so intentional about making community, it's not like it used to be when the neighbors would show up with bread or cookies and welcome you to the neighborhood. People just don't do that anymore. Now, if you want to meet the neighbors you better make your own bread and take it to them.


Keeli and her friends at the moving bonfire we let the kids have weekend before we moved.


Jackson and his buddies at the bonfire.



Me and Lori :) (Lori hope you don't mind ;))


Lee and Sandy-treated us like family while we rented his parents house-Thank You!!


Larry and Suzy-Brother to Lee, and took to the kids like a second set of grand kids ~Thank  You!!

The moving truck packing our little farm house to take us somewhere new





I've sorta neglected writing on the blog, because it's hard when you don't have Internet and your just too darn busy to do anything. But slowly I'm getting there and we are getting more settled. So hopefully all these words in my head will find a home here in this space soon.

I'm hoping everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is preparing for Christmas. Can you believe it's already December?! Here in Texas it is 80 degrees, I'm not going to complain too much, but it doesn't feel like Christmas weather. We're out walking in shorts and had to turn the ac back on, oh well, I'll take it over 5 ft of snow any day :)

Many blessings to you...
I'm off to make something to introduce ourselves to the neighbors...wish me luck!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When God Says "Go"





Jesus calls me to GO, but I hold back. What will others say? What does Go look like before I make any real commitment?
Will I dare to fly?And see for myself what true freedom feels like?

We have a tendency to not trust beyond what we can see or control. Sometimes we need that push out of the tree to fly, to make our wings (our faith) grow strong.

"Faith means stepping onto the path that looks so much like it goes in the wrong direction." Emily Freeman {Grace for the Good Girl}
God didn't call us to safe and comfortable...and this is a hard pill to swallow because sometimes that is all I want. I don't want to risk getting rejected telling them about Jesus, I want them to like me, it's safer to talk about the kids or how dirty our houses are and so I'm challenging myself to step out and to be more daring and to stop worrying so much about being rejected for being bold.
"Always preach the gospel, and if necessary use words" {source unknown}

In my ladies Bible study we are doing Stuck by Jennie Allen and the chapter of Discontent really hit me hard, it was a tough two weeks of weeding and pulling. I didn't like what was being pulled up.

In the Bible study Jennie had quoted Katie from Kisses From Katie {you've probably heard of the book}, in this post Katie responds to some questions that people have asked her about really being happy with her life as a missionary. At age 18 Katie moved to Uganda and decided to stay. She is now 23 and the mother to 14 adopted daughters and feeds hundreds more.

"...I want to go the mall and spend a ridiculous amount of money on a cute new pair of shoes. I want to sit on my kitchen counter chatting with my girlfriends and eat a whole carton of cookie dough ice cream....But. You know what I want more? ALL the time? I want to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. I want to be loved and cuddled by 100 children and never go a day without laughing...I want to be taught by those that teach...I want to feel needed, important, used by the Lord. I want to make a difference and I want to follow the calling that God has planted deep in my heart. I want to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second..."

Wow.

I was in puddles. The faith of this young girl humbled me. I read it to my kids that night and they too were in awe. I wanted them to get a glimpse of another young person that knew life was more than things, friends, and middle school drama.

When I think of missionaries I think Super Christians, something I could never do, and at one time thought I would never do. The thought of going to another country where Christianity isn't tolerated and where I could be persecuted for it, never appealed to me.

And I'm ashamed. Ashamed that I regard my life so highly, because in the Bible it says he who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life {John 12:25}

Is it unrealistic to try and live like this life doesn't matter? That the things that everyone else holds so highly isn't that important? Am I being a Pollyanna?

Trying to be content with where I'm at in life and where I want to be is becoming a daily struggle. I honestly believe my first and foremost mission field is my family. So why is it harder to be Jesus to them than it is to someone I hardly know? If God calls me to nothing more than ministering to my family and the circle of people He brings into my life, I want to be content with that and not have this feeling that it's not enough.

But...If  God is calling me to more, to go, then I want to trust in His timing and that He is moving in the hearts of my family so that they will be willing to join me on the journey.

Lord, help me to be bold for you. To be courageous and not let fear keep me back from loving and telling others about you. Whatever it is, wherever it is prepare my heart and feet today to get ready to go.
In Jesus' Name~Amen.




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This is part of what God has been showing me, I'll write more in another post.

Linking with:: Imperfect ProseSoli Deo Gloria, God Bumps & God Incidences, Women Living Well, WIP, Winsome Wed


Picture from Creative Commons by Lindz Graham

Monday, November 5, 2012

Liebster Blog Award!!






Recently I have been nominated for the Liebster Blog Award! 

I was nominated by Shannon at Imperfectly Perfect Grace, and I was also nominated a couple months back by Marissa over at For Fun Reading List



What is the liebster blog award?
The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have not yet hit the 200 follower mark. The award is presented by a fellow blogger as a sort of pat on the back "you've got a great thing started" type of award. "liebster" is German for "favorite" This makes this the "favorite blog award"

The rules.
1. List 11 facts about yourself.

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you. 

3. Create 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.

4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate. 

5. Go to each bloggers page and let them know about the award.


6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog. 





11 Facts About Myself::
1. I'm short, about 5'2 on a good day
2. I was married young and had my daughter before I graduated from college
3. I hate to move and in the last 12 years have moved 6 times, and about to move again in two weeks.
4.I love to read and write
5. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up
6. I love SEC Football
7. Thinks Parenting is the hardest job in the world!
8. Reads cookbooks like regular books
9. Haven't bought a Kindle because I like the feel of real books
10. My two love languages are affirmation and touch
11.Find it really difficult to list 11 things about myself :)

Questions That Shannon Had For Me:


-What is a fun fact people might not know? I snore :)
-What age did you start driving? I started driving young, probably around 12, bc my Granny and PawPaw lived out in the country, basically out in the middle of nowhere, in South Alabama, and he would take us out on the country roads in his pickup and let us drive! It is one of my favorite memories of him.

-What is your favorite item in your closet? My jeans, I wear them all the time and everywhere
-Who has been a major influence in your life? My Grandma
-What is your dream day like? Get up early and get everything done and don't procrastinate, like I usually do :)

-Favorite song at this moment? Forgiveness by Brandon Heath

-What did you want to be when you grew up? I don't know, I still don't :)

-What is something you have on your to do list? Work out, it sort of rolls to the next day a lot :)

-Would you prefer to be at the beach or out on the ocean? At the beach def.

-What celebrity or well known figure would you like to have over to dinner? Lysa Terkeurst

-What is the short answer to why you started your blog? To try to make sense of some of the things God was showing me in my own life.

My Questions For Those I Nominate::
1. Why did you decide to blog?
2. What's your favorite ice cream?
3. Are you a jeans and t shirt or dress up person?
4. What's a pet peeve of yours?
5. Favorite Color?
6. If you could live anywhere where would it be?
7. Beach or Mountain person?
8. Where did you go on your honeymoon?
9. Ever been on a mission trip?
10. Favorite color nail polish?
11. What keeps you blogging?



And the nominees are::
Alicia Bruxvoort from The Overflow
Pieces of Amy
Finding The Inspiring
Shakin The Foundation
Marvelesartstudios
Woman to Woman
Seven Flowers
Walking Redeemed
Weak And Loved

Thanks Marissa and Shannon for the nomination, and I hope my nominees feel as honored as I did!




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Friday, November 2, 2012

A " Whatever Happens" Person




I want to be a "whatever happens" person

A whatever happens person knows that whatever happens God has it. And that none of us can escape hard times.

Never wastes a crisis

Knows that spending quality time with God will strengthen their relationship with Him and help them see beyond the crisis to God's plan.

Prays without ceasing

Steps out and helps someone else and is Jesus to someone who needs them and Him.

Love of God abounds more with knowledge and insight

I want to grow, learn, and dare to believe anything is possible with God's help. Will you dare to be a "whatever happens" person with me?

And the *winner* of The Be-Tween You and God Devo is...... Emily Cook!!! Congratulations Emily! 
I used random.org to decided on a winner, because honestly I would give everyone a copy if I could.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Be "tween" You and God






I was lucky enough to be able to review The One Year Be-Tween You & God devotions for girls, by Sandra Byrd, this past month. I have been looking for something age appropriate for my daughter and me to do together and this devotional was perfect.

The devotional's weren't too long and the message was just deep enough to get her thinking. I even had my son sit in on it too and he got something out of most of them, they really applied to both. If you are a mother of a tween, then like me you have come to realize that we are in a battle for their hearts. Their friends and boys are calling out to them and it is so hard to get their attention and keep them focused on what is most important, God's calling on their life.

So, I am going to let Keeli, my daughter tell you in her words what she thought about this book. I really couldn't think of a better way to review it, than to let the tween of the house, who I wanted the book for in the first place, give her two cents.

Hi I'm Keeli, and I like this book because its quick and easy to understand. It helps me with my day. It helps me get closer with God. I get a devotion in the morning to rise my spirit.

Well, there you have it, in the short and sweet words of my eleven year old, folks.



I personally really liked that the devotional's were aimed at topics that she is dealing with right now. There were a couple of times that we would deal with something like respect the night before and the next morning our story would be on respect and what that looks like in her life.

Each day ends with an applicable bible verse with What God Says, and a question to how they can apply the verse and lesson to their lives.

I would recommend this book to any parent looking for a good devotional to do with their tween girl.

I'm giving away a FREE copy!! Just leave me a comment and you will be entered to win! That's it! I'll pick a winner Friday.


**Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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Friday, October 26, 2012

Grace In Disagreeing




There's been a whole lot of rumblings lately between the feminist Christian Rachel Held Evans and her new book, and more traditional Christians.

Honestly, I see both sides, but honestly, I don't want to be on sides.

Rachel spent a year living as a biblical woman to show exactly what that looks like if taken quite literally from the Bible. I think it was extreme, but she made her point. We are all going to fall short of what the perfect biblical woman looks like.

That's where grace and understanding come in. We need grace because we fall short and living your life word for word trying to be "perfect" isn't gonna happen. We need understanding because, God calls us all to different things. My life and the way my family runs isn't going to look the same way as my neighbors.

I wish the Bible would have clearly laid out some of these "minor" issues, so that this slaying of hearts with our words, cutting down people in Jesus' name didn't happen.  But He didn't, and for only reasons He knows. Maybe because in the grand scheme of things women becoming pastors, women holding leadership positions in the church, and women being head of household whether through finances or faith, isn't as important as the message Jesus came to give us. His message, that He died for; freedom through grace.

We can get so caught up in whose right and whose wrong and whose being misleading and misinterpreting that we forget as Christians we are all on the same team.

We can ask questions, God doesn't get mad, and turn on us. We can call out each other as long as it's done in the spirit of love and trying to understand their viewpoint.

We can get mad with indignation and righteous anger, but not with a stone in our hands aimed and ready to throw when others don't agree.

Women have rights, I think we can all agree. To the length those rights go is what seems to be in question, along with other parts of her book/books.
I think Jesus would be saddened if he came back and found us bickering and spewing venom at each other.

I hope grace will find it's way back into both sides of this conversation. The world is watching us Christians, watching how we respond to each other and conflict within the church. I can only hope that this will go forward with more dignity than it has started.

Ephesians 6:12 " For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

Check it out for your self, click on her name above.

     
                                    

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

With Every New Season, We Turn




"To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose under Heaven"
Pete Seeger "Turn Turn Turn"

The end of a season is coming like summer to fall, except this is a new season in our lives.

We will be packing soon and the house will be full of memories and boxes. Full of 15 months of living in a season of uncertainty and unanticipated joy.

We've been pleasantly surprised and loved on in the most unexpected ways.  God made a way when we weren't sure there would be any other way but surviving and the counting down of days.

When you live in a foreign place there are no strangers in God's world. He has a way of bringing family close.

They circle round and embrace you, love you , and encourage you.

They made the seemingly impossible possible.
And now with a tinge of regret and dread we pack to move on. To a new place God has called us to.

I'm scared, but God has been telling me not to be. He has made a way and has gone before me. He has prepared the land for our taking.

We go forth knowing he has been faithful before and will be again.

In this new Season, we turn.

Turn to the One that is working it out for our good.

We turn

Knowing our lives are not are own and we are in the care of the one that has us written on the palms of His hands.

The end of a season is the beginning of a new

So thankful for new friends made that will always have a special place in my heart. They've left their impression. I hope I've done the same.

We move ahead with wonder at what God has in store for us next.

I know whatever it is, it will be for his glory, our story.. part of his plan, somehow.

So, with a verse He brought me to just 15 short months ago and I look upon again for the future.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up;do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." Is 43:18,19


There is a season for it all. So let go and trust.


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go Get `Em


Credit

Stepping out of our tidy little circles means doing life with those who haven't done such a good job of hiding their own sin. They are laid bare for the world to see and judge (Samaritan woman at the well).

Will we be willing to eat with those others think offensive? (Jesus ate with prostitutes and tax collectors!}

Mary Magdalene went to visit her friend Jesus's tomb, but He wasn't there; she thought someone had taken him and she wanted him back. She was willing to do whatever it took to get him back.


 John 20:15 "Woman, he said, "Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"  Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Have you ever had a friend that started down a path, you knew would only lead to pain? I have.

A friendship that under the weight of pressure and sin, collapsed?  I have.

Instead of confronting in love, I ran. I turned my back. I didn't know what to do or say. So I did nothing. Pretty soon the phone calls got less and less and contact ceased.

I agonized over doing the "right" thing, if you were associated with her, you were talked about, people assumed you agreed with her decisions, why else would we stay friends?

My own spiritual maturity wasn't enough to make an impact on her, or so I believed, and I felt like she was having more of an impact on me than I on her.

My own spiritual immaturity just seemed to make things worse.

It's hard to think clear when your in the situation. But maybe loving from a distance was the best thing I could have done for both of us. I never stopped praying and hoping the best for her. She was one of my best friends and I loved her like a sister. But I didn't know what to think or say or do with her!

In Proverbs it says "That a friend loves at all times" I wish I could have been that friend for her. I didn't have to agree with everything, but I could have stayed. Because this happened, I look at friendships differently now.

I know the importance of keeping your own faith strong so that when you have a friend in crisis you can be a sounding board for them. They don't need a sermon, just a listening ear. I too often found myself lending advice, good advice, but it wasn't what was needed.

Sometimes people have to walk the road on their own and come to their own conclusions. Maybe that is how God is choosing to work it out in their lives. He knows they need to go through it to come back to Him.

Losing a friendship is heartbreaking. In future friendships I want to be a Mary Magdalene  If my friend is lost I want to go get em! I want to be that friend that listens with her ears and heart first, without planning on what I am going to say next, or trying to figure out a solution to their problem.

I want to be the friend that doesn't care what others say, but sticks up for my friend when they are going through their fiercest storm.

I want to be the hug and the deliverer of ice cream when the day craps on them.
And when they are lost and can't find their way out of the darkness I want to be the voice of wisdom and an encouraging word when they ask or need it.

I want to speak truth, but not give Christiany candy coated answers.

And when I fall short of grace and mercy I will be quick to ask forgiveness, and ask God to fill in the gaps.

I want to be the type of person that my friends can come to when they are struggling, and be a safe place to confide in.

Mary went after her friend! 

I will be the friend that does the same. I hate that this happened, and if I could go back in time and change it I would, but God, like in everything has used this as an opportunity for me to see what real friendship could and should look like.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Did you handle it better than I did?

I love this song by Casting Crowns, too often we forget, it's not our place to swing the sword in judgement.

"Jesus friend of sinners
The one whose writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away
And the stone fall from their hands
Help us to remember
We are all the least of these
Let the memory of your mercy
Bring the people to their knees"
"Jesus Friend Of Sinners" Casting Crowns


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Come Closer- What I Learned From Fasting




"Thou shall have no other gods before Me." Exodus 20:3

My church is going through a series called Fuel. It's basically 40 days of moving through different rhythms to grow closer to God.

The first week was fasting. And if you know me in-real life you know that missing a meal makes a little grumpy :) I wasn't sure how I was going to do this or if I would make it the full week.

The pastor suggested if a full on fast of all meals was too overwhelming, start off small. Like off of your favorite snack, one meal, TV, anything that would pain you a little to give up for the week.

I thought and prayed about it and decided to give up coffee and carbs for the week.

I LOVE bread and carbs, while I eat mainly whole wheat and good for you carbs, they are still a  weakness and I knew it would pain me to give them up for the week.

Coffee, I have to have! It's how I start my day, it wakes me up and puts that little perk in my step. My brain just doesn't function without it, trust me, I know this first hand, tried to quit cold turkey once, and swore I would never do that to myself again.

So, these two I set out to fast from. I told my husband and kids so they would hold me accountable, which they did ;) God love `em.

Day one I woke up and longingly stared and my coffee maker sitting there on the counter all by it's lonesome.  But I didn't do it! I resisted.

And you know what?!

I went to bed that night with a migraine, the size of Mt Everest.

The next morning found me begging God to let me out of that one, I really needed to add the coffee back in, because that headache was a killer. But promised to stay off the carbs, and begged for strength to say "NO" each day.

{Coffee is really more of a gradual thing, I wouldn't suggest anyone going cold turkey on that one. If I ever decide I need to give up my cup then I will gradually decrease each day from now on}

I made it the whole week sans carbs, and not only felt great, but God was answering prayers and coming closer than He has in a long time.


I've never really understood the idea of fasting, until now. Before I always thought it was something you did to get God to answer a prayer or come through with a miracle.

But now I've realized it's so much more. It's about giving up something not to get something from God, but to reconnect with him. Removing whatever it is that is taking priority in your life over God and allowing Him his proper place.

I will never shy away from this practice again. I have learned to embrace it.


If you didn't catch the last post Change, then you don't know we are moving! We are leaving our little farm house in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa and heading to Texas, in about 4 weeks, and man have things been stressful around here. There were so many things leading up to this move that were question marks, but you know what? God answered them all that week!!

What was unclear was made clear.And there was peace about the situation that I hadn't had yet.

I have friends that were doing it too and they said the same thing, they had never felt closer to God. They could really feel him closer and moving in a way they hadn't in years.

Some days were tough, and not because of the food, but because of circumstances surrounding the move. But emails sent at just the right time, something that someone would say that would really touch my heart, and they had no idea that their words were Heaven sent were said, and music on our local faith radio station would play all the right songs that I needed to hear. And it was all God!

It was truly an amazing week.

I haven't felt that close to God or heard him so clear in years. I craved it each day.

I woke up expectantly with bright eyed wonder at what God would reveal that day. I had been reignited.

I have realized how distracted I am, by not only food and what I'm going to eat, but by TV, and Internet. There always seems to be something vying for my time, and honestly it seems easier to veg out in front of the TV, than to be quiet before God and wait.


God persues us, but He won't force us. When we let other things take over, He waits, until we realize we can't do life without Him, and then there He is. He never left, it was us.

Intentionality is key. Choosing the quiet over the distractions has to be an intentional choice each day.

That's what I've learned from this week, that I can be busy, and there's nothing wrong with that, but my heart and soul need to reconnect with Him. I have to make the time to read my bible and pray.

I'm so thankful for this series at my church, it has made me take a good hard look at where my heart has been lately and where the divisions are exactly.

Thank you God!
Is there anything in your life that is taking precedence over God? Maybe taking a fast will help you see more clearly this week too!


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Monday, October 8, 2012

Change




I've spent the last week in TX, house hunting.
We are moving there in exactly 5 weeks. We knew this move was coming, but still, knowing something is about to happen, and being prepared for it when it actually does, are two different stories!

I missed the kids terribly.
I had such anxiety over leaving them, but I knew they were in good hands. and Trey and I knew we could use a few days to ourselves without them ;).

We took in a Cowboys game, which is definitely an experience, not one I hope to experience anytime soon again, but it was fun!

                             Do You See That Traffic?! Imagine having to drive on that Roller Coaster!
                                    


And there is just something so nice about a dark cold hotel room, it's just ripe for the most perfect sleeping conditions. And after walking around all day it doesn't take much to seduce me into a sleeping coma:)

We looked at so many houses and drove around neighborhood after neighborhood they all started to look alike after a while.It felt like we were literally driving in circles.

(This was in a little English Pub we had lunch in)

I forgot how stressful moving is. It's kinda like when you're having a baby, at the time you're in so much pain, and your swearing at your husband for doing this to you, and you scream never again!

But you do, cause you forget, kinda like that.


Wanting to make the kids happy and us, we fretted and fretted. Our poor Real Estate Agent didn't know what she was in for when she met us. But to her credit she was very patient with wishy washy us, me.


I just couldn't decide. If you've ever been to Dallas you know what I'm talking about, the place is HUGE!

We would drive to one area and I'd think, ooh this is it, but is it too big?? Will the kids adjust easily? Will I? Are the people gonna be stuck up and mean? Will they like me, them?

Exodus 14:13 "...Don't be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord's salvation He will provide for you today..."

Back and forth, back and forth. We asked all our family what they thought, and we loved getting their opinions, but it ultimately comes down to what we think is best. We prayed, a lot. And I got the feeling it didn't really matter where we ended up. We'd be OK.

So, we made two offers. In two different neighborhoods on completely opposite sides of town. We decided we couldn't go wrong with either, so we threw our offers out there to see which one would stick.






And stick it did.

We are getting quite a sweet deal, the kids love it from what they saw online, and everything is falling into place...suhweet!

I left knowing that it didn't really matter where we chose to live, because we could make any house a home, as long as my family is there, that is home.




Psalm 56:3 "When I am afraid, I will trust in You"

Moving hard for you?? Got some good tips to make it easier?



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Sharing with: Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, September 28, 2012

Being Found Faithful In Small




I've had an ongoing conversation with God for the past couple of years. It goes something like this

Me: Hellooo?
God: I'm Here
Me: Kids are in school now, sooo if you have a special calling for me, or something I could be doing now would be a great time to show me, I'd like to get started.
God: I have plans for your future, Daughter. And I'm working all things out for your good.
Me: OK, thank you. But....what are those plans??
God: Wait on me, I am going before you, do not be afraid, be courageous and be ready
Me: Speechless

So, I wait. Not sure what he's up to and getting a little frustrated that it's taking him so long, I mean come on, I could be doing something!

Lately, when I start asking God to show me His will and to give me some sort of vision for my life, this verse started popping up all over the place.

Matthew 25:23 " You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities."
huh.

What in the world could He mean by that?!

I started searching my heart trying to figure out am I being faithful in small things? Is there somewhere where I'm not being obedient or a good steward of my time or money or things?

Today in my Proverbs 31 devo that came through my email, there that verse was again.

I almost didn't even read it, because the title was something about an Empty Nest and I have a few more years before I get to that stage, but I opened it and gave it a read anyway.

It really wasn't what I was expecting.  The lady was asking the same questions I was, what is God's calling on my life? She says she has raised her kids and they are off living their lives on their own now, but what about me?

A counselor helped her see she had done her job, she had been faithful in the small things (raising her kids) and now God was getting ready to bless her with bigger things, but she had to stop looking back and mourning what was lost.

She started to remember her goals and dreams pre-kids. Who she was and God was showing her who she was without the kids.

But for me, I'm still in the season of raising kids. God is telling me to wait because it's not my time yet to come into fully whatever He has planned for me {whatever it is, he must know my kids need to be grown before I can handle it :)}

So now, I'm praying for patience to keep plugging away and taking on small things to occupy my time, and prayerfully all these small things are just preparation for something bigger.

What about you? Are you waiting for God to show you what's next? What has He shown you?



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