Saturday, June 30, 2012

He's Home!!

Caleb returned home last night from his mission trip!  We were so excited to have him home as well as being able to hear about all God did in the past week.  He had many stories to tell - some just funny and some touching.  Everything from how he set up his bed on a couple of chairs and how much fun he had during some of their breaks.  He talked of being sad for a girl he ministered to this week that seemed to want Christ and yet pulled back.  He said, " Mom, I talked with her, but knew only the Holy Spirit could help her accept Christ- I couldn't force it."  He talked of spending time on his knees at the alter praying and of the worship that was so much of an encouragement.  He wants to go next year-it will be out of state next year.  A part of me wants to peek inside that heart of his and see what did he learn... what changed in him.... I think, in time, he will share more, but sometimes you just need to draw those times with the Father into your heart and savor them.

Many times as a mother, I question whether we are doing the right thing.  There are countless pitfalls to avoid and it is a hard challenge to find balance in all that we face in this world.  Teaching and training in the values we hold priceless and picking battles to win or compromise- ugh, I have said this before, but parenting is not for the weak!  This week, gave a brief glimpse of the man Caleb may become, and it blessed me.  All I can pray and hope for is for God to continue the work He has started in Caleb and protect him from the evil one who would do all he could to deter any of God's children.

On a humerous and awesome moment- every time this week that I would blog or pray for my son, the song "God of this City" would play on my Pandora iPhone app.  It was though God planned that song for Caleb this week and it so perfectly captures the heart of the mission trip that he went on.  I have to share that song again for you to enjoy.  There are no accidents.  God used that song repeatedly to say this is what this week is about- it even played while I typed this blog!

Have a blessed weekend and thank you for your prayers this week!  There were 130 lives changed this week and you were a part of that by your prayers!  Let us rejoice together!!

"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."
Phillipians 2:13 NLT

Thursday, June 28, 2012

False Treasures

Not too long ago, our second son and his older brother were outside playing in the cooler evening night and came running into the house full of excitement and joy.  They had discovered priceless jewels that had been carelessly left in the middle of our street!  Who on earth would leave behind such precious jewels?  They were convinced that we were rich!  Upon further inspection, I discovered it was very brightly colored broken pieces of glass- thankfully, it was some sort of safety glass as there were not sharp edges to fear cuts.  I sadly gave them the news that it was not the treasure they had envisioned, but rather discarded garbage in a pretty package.  Disappointed, the older son discarded his treasure and went on playing.

Carson, our second son continued to cling to the bright, green pieces.... it was his treasure and he couldn't understand.  He kept those pieces and put them in his money jar which is a recycled spaghetti sauce jar.  Later, I questioned why he had kept those pieces of glass.  He expressed that it was better to hang on to the "trash jewels" than to not have anything in his money jar.  Even if it was fake treasure, it made his value seem great.

Last night, Carson's money jar spilled and I helped him pick up the pieces.  I carefully picked up each of the green glass pieces and put them back in his jar.... heartbroken as God spoke to my heart- How many times have I clung to false treasures because I just wanted something even if it wasn't real and true?  Oh Lord, forgive me!  We are so easily fooled by outside packages- shiny, attractive, and appealing.  Yet, most of the time those treasures are false- they do not last!  How many times have I kept something false- knowing it wasn't genuine- because I would rather cling to that than have nothing at all?  Oh, forgive me Father!

The only way to know what is real and of value is through wisdom learned in the scriptures with the Holy Spirit giving us discernment.  God, I want that wisdom to know and understand what is of true value for me, for my family.  Help me to seek after that knowledge each day so that I may be fully equipped for the moments that still lie at my feet.  Then, Father, give me the words to express and teach my children so that they, too, can discern what is real and true from what is false and temporary in this world.  Only by your grace can this be done and in your strength can I stand strong!  Help me Father to not cling to the broken glass of the evil one, but seek after real treasure that comes only from you!

" The LORD says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you and watch over you."  Psalm 32:8 NLT

" If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  James 1:5 NIV

"We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.  And we are in him who is true-even in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life."  1John 5:20 NIV

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Worship Wednesday

Note:  I have to apologize to several of you who read the blog regularly.  Yesterday's original post had several mistakes in it and I revised and corrected those last night!  My poor computer is on its last leg and often it is not cooperating with me when I am trying to make corrections !  LOL  Sorry! Jules

I knew this trip would grow and change Caleb, and I know on Friday that I will want to ask him question after question about his experience.  I wonder, will I see a difference when I look upon him?  Will he speak differently?  Will his values change?   I wait expectantly to have this answered.... I just never expected his trip to be such a spiritual marker in my life.  I didn't realize the impact his going would have on my heart and mind....  I am not sure words can express what the heart now knows.  I am not sure it is meant to be shared, but this I do know....

"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you.  Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you."  Psalm 143:8 NLT

"May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech."  2Thessalonians 2: 16-17 MSG


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Taking Steps into Manhood

As a mother, one of the moments in my child's life that I really did not want to miss was when they took their first steps.  There is just something about seeing them build up enough courage- despite possibly falling to try and take those first steps to the waiting arms of security.  I wanted to witness those moments for myself.  To savor them knowing that the whole world had changed in those brief seconds... they were mobile!

I had a similar experience, as a mother, this weekend with Caleb, our 12 year old.  I have long seen that God has gifted Caleb as a teacher who is not afraid to share his faith with others.  It comes naturally to him.  Do not think that he has a halo under his sweat-stained Texas Tech cap- he is a regular boy that is disciplined and corrected by us often.  I have just seen that God has gifted him by the way Caleb expresses his faith and have often wondered what God has in store for him.  So, this first mission trip has been the "first steps" of his faith becoming his own- not something that we, as his parents, had for him.  Caleb, in a sense is taking ownership of his faith realizing that it is his faith not the faith of his parents.  My mother's heart has wanted to be a fly on the wall of this experience for him... to watch and witness it- can you relate?

On Sunday, as parents we were invited to two services that they were having for the LIT missionaries.  In the morning, was just a worship service for the host church and the evening was a commissioning service.  A commissioning service is a time when a group is prayed for and encouraged as they leave to go into the area of service that God has called them to do.  Due to commitments and issues that needed tending to at church, we made the decision to try and go that evening for the commissioning service.  I was so excited that evening to be a part of that experience for Caleb.  That evening, Kendall - who had not been feeling well- began to fuss and was unusually unhappy.  I ended up in the hallways of the church walking him and trying to comfort him.  Later, I was sad to have been there and yet not right beside Caleb for that service. 

Caleb sharing his faith on the mission trip.  (Thanks to Derek Peters for the photo.)
Later, as I reflected on this and God just really spoke to my heart that I wasn't suppose to be right there beside Caleb..... what?  Why, God?  My mother's heart wanted that moment.  God helped me to see it wasn't a moment for me.  Caleb and I are close- we find it easy to talk and share.  I can easily relate to him and he easily relates to me.  He, however, is growing into manhood.  He needs to draw closer to his father and it was his father that needed to be sitting beside him on Sunday.  Caleb, as he took those first steps of his faith, needed to see his father encouraging and supporting him.  This is by God's design- it is not that my role as his mother isn't important- heavens no!  It is just that as Caleb takes some of these steps leading into manhood, he needs his father there to teach him how to be a man of courage who loves the Lord.  I cannot teach him something that I am not.  We will always be close, but many and numerous are the moments ahead in his future that are not designed for my influence, but that of his father.  I suspect that the same is true for mothers training their daughters in the ways of godly womanhood. 

"For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just..."  Genesis 18:19 NIV

Rather than have regret or sadness over missing part of that service, I feel peace.  That was not a moment for me- my moment was comforting the precious third son God has given me.  Cherishing it, soaking in those fleeting seconds as he grows and needs me less and less.  As a mother of sons, I am realizing that raising  sons is an ongoing lesson in letting go- it is not that our relationship won't be loving and important- but as men, they will seek after their earthly father and their heavenly Father more, as it should be.  Men need men as they grow and learn.  I pray that God brings them a godly woman to fill the role I have had in their life as their caretaker and friend.  It is not an easy process, but a noble one.  There is no greater love than giving the subject of your love the freedom to choose their path.   Just look at the love the Father as showered on us- sacrificing all for us (in His Son) and yet loving us enough to give us the choice of whom we will serve. 

Just like when Caleb stood for the first time, and took those first feeble steps into mobility.... Caleb is taking those first few steps into godly manhood.  It is beautiful and painful all at the same time.   His whole world is changing... and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Worship in Service

Note:  Thank you so much for your prayers for Matthew and Caleb!  Please keep it up- today, they are starting to minister at an apartment complex in Fort Worth which has 244 units.  All the LIT missionaries will be serving over 30 apartment complexes this week.  Both the boys will be teaching and leading the Bible study on certain days.

Have you ever had a day when you just had a stinky attitude?  Most of us have, and most of us don't want to admit it!  On Friday, I was tired... no, exhausted.  Our family attended and served at Kid Power Camp through our church.  This is very much like a VBS, but with less decorations and more focus on reaching out into the community and we even had two camps going this past week- one in Joshua and one in Burleson.  It was awesome to see the teamwork and organization that it took to pull off such a thing.  Our church really stepped up to reach out to the community we serve. 

Friday, however, I was worn out and my attitude was not what it should have been.  That is partly why I felt God leading me to give Him a praise sacrifice and worship Him when I may not have felt up to it that day.  Through some time of purposeful solitude over the weekend, God really blessed me as I pondered the service to others as worship of our Lord.  Most of us will readily admit that we need times of being fed and nurtured by Bible study and praise.  I see that we all need the one on one time of studying His word daily, times of discussion and accountability as we study God's word in a small group session, as well as the beautiful corporate worship of the Father together as a group of believers.  Each of these times is important and serves a vital need in our walk- if any of these is lacking, our walk is probably lacking as well.... or we are at least, not where we could be in our walk with Christ.  I have seen this in my own life- I need the opportunity to worship each morning, in my small group and as a large body of believers to really feel healthy, balanced, and prepared for the journey I am on. 

Then, I reflected on service.... this is harder for most of us.  I think the difficulty is in finding the balance in our service.  Some Christians are fed through their quiet times, fed through their small group, and fed through worship each Sunday and yet never serve.  This is so sad.... to have such wonderful knowledge and yet, never use it and give of ourselves to truly taste and see God in action.  I think service is where we really witness God working and using us to be a part of His work.  Others, can sometimes serve, serve, serve and yet, never take the time to be fed.  They are so busy giving of their time and energy, but are never still before God to be filled in order to serve.  Countless others of us are somewhere in between - lost in the mire of it all.

In my weakness on Friday, it was easy for me to lose sight of why I serve.  I got caught up in how much time I had given up at church this week and all that I still had to do for the weekend and my attitude was self-focused rather than God-focused.  God really convicted and reminded me that when I am teaching a class of two year olds, corraling the three year olds or rocking a baby- I am actually sharing Christ with them.  In the moments when I am loving, respecting, caring for them and telling them about God,  I am serving as the physical arms of God for that moment.  He is using me to bring comfort, joy, and knowledge to those precious children for that time and place.  I am also ministering to parents, who like me, need support to grow and learn in order to be the parents that God wants us to be.  It isn't work, it is worship and it is seeing God use me- this feeible fallible person- to be the feet, arms and words of my faith.  It is a privilege.... a special calling- not a dreaded task to complete.

I am not saying, however, that I need to serve in every ministry in the church.... absolutely not!  That is why we are the body of Christ so that others can serve in areas where I am not strong.  I am called to minister and serve with the preschool children- I truly love it.  There is no worship experience any greater to me than when I hear a two year old- yes, two year old, quote a scripture from memory.  I tear up even thinking about it... God's word living and breathing in a child so tender and young.  This is where I am called, but the preschool area is not for everyone!  I love my husband dearly, but serving with the preschool age kids is NOT where he is called.  He serves faithfully in the areas where he is called and finds such joy in it that when he has to miss his time of service- it grieves him. 

So, my friend, where are you today?  Are you serving in some area or just being fed continually?  If that is the case, please consider what God might be calling you to do- I promise that your faith will grow through the experience and you will be blessed!  If you are serving, are you taking the time to be fed?  You cannot continue to serve without being fed- you will wither and the service will not be a blessing in your life.  You can only serve as an outpouring of what you have been  fed by your relationship with God.  Also, are you finding joy in service?  Is it just a task to do and get done or is it your passion?  If you find no joy in where you are serving, then  perhaps, it isn't where you are called to serve.....  maybe God has something different for you. 

"For you, dear friends, have been called to live in freedom- not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.  For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"  Galations 5: 13-14 NLT

"Don't just pretend that you love others.  Really love them.  Hate what is wrong.  Stand on the side of the good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically."  Romans 12: 9-11 NLT

Our life is too short to miss out on the blessing of service in our walk or to be serving in a place that brings no joy.  God has given us freedom IN  HIM so that we can be used BY  HIM for a special calling- tailor made just for you - making you the hands and feet of our Lord with an eternal impact on the lives you touch.  Glory!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Prayers for Caleb and Matthew

Today, our son Caleb and his good friend, Matthew Schuman, are leaving for their first mission trip.  I shared my heart with you on Thursday about this adventure and asked many of you to consider praying for them as well as our Children's Minister, Derek Peters.  Here is a prayer list for them and please join in and ask others to pray with you! 

Saturday, June 23:  Please pray for them to feel your peace and joy today as they make final preparations and leave this evening.  Pray that they will feel welcome and comfortable in their new "home" for the week.

Sunday, June 24:  Please pray for them to have a wonderful time praising God in worship this morning.  Pray that God would help them focus on Him rather than any distractions that might divide their attention today and this week.

Monday, June 25:  Please pray for them as they carry out their duties and responsibilities- that they would feel and see God blessing them and enabling them to do their very best today and this week.

Tuesday, June 26:  Please pray for the children that will hear God's message to them this week and that they would accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  Pray that Caleb and Matthew will have opportunities to share their heart with others who are searching for answers.... give them the right words, Lord!

Wednesday, June 27:  Please pray for strength and energy for the weary who are tired and ready to go home...Lord,  help them have courage and face the day with joy and peace.

Thursday, June 28: Please pray for open ears to hear what God wants to teach the leaders and the kids being taught this week... give the pre-teens who are leading a spriritual marker in their spriritual lives and that they will not be the same but be shaped more in the "mold" of Christ.

Friday, June 29:  Please pray for focus on this last day of the trip.  While joyful over a blessed week, please God help them finish the race strong and accomplish what you still have for them to do today. 

Thank you for praying and being a blessing to our families as well as countless others!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Sacrifice

This morning I retreated to "the chair" where I can sit and seclude myself from the rest of the world to spend some time with my Savior.  This morning, of all mornings, I NEED Him- I need my cup filled so desperately before I face the ongoing needs that have already been clamoring for my attention.  The self-pity begins nagging and pulling at my heart to focus on me and my pride swells....... I need this time to be reminded that I am the daughter of a "Servant King".  The One who is my precious Lord and Savior because He sacrificed all for the sake of all sinners like me- forgive me Father when pride blinds me to your truth.  God directed me to the scriptures....

"What can I give back to God for the blessings he's poured out on me?  I'll lift high the cup of salvation-a toast to God!  I'll pray in the name of God; I'll complete what I promised God I'd do, and I'll do it together with his people.  When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him.  Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service!  I'm ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God.  I'll complete what I promised God I'd do, and I'll do it in the company with his people, In the place of worship, in God's house, in Jerusalem, God's city.  Hallelujah!"  Psalm 116: 12-19 MSG

In embarrassment, I admit that there are times when giving God the thanksgiving and praise He deserves is a sacrifice for me.  Times when my heart is questioning Him and unsure of what He is doing with me, with my life, with my loved ones and my heart wants understanding more than I want a stronger faith.  Have you been at that place, Friend?  There have been times when in tears of fear and hurt, I praised Him in song and thanksgiving- while barely a whisper- it was with all the strength I had within myself.  Why?  Just as our passage shares, when I think of all that God has done for me- how can I not praise Him?  How can I not trust Him?  The moment I begin to praise and thank Him, the stronghold the enemy had begins to ease and fade and my strength in God grows.  It is also in these moments that my heart and pride yields itself to my true Maker and I can yield my will to His becoming free.  Free to do what God has called me to do and to be His faithful servant.

God, in the quiet moments with you in "the chair,"  please help me to yield all to you and praise you- giving all I have to you even if it is barely a whisper... it is my sacrifice of thanksgiving to you, Father!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prayers at the feet of Caleb

I have to admit that this morning it was very difficult to get out of bed.  I am tired.  We have been so busy with family and church events in the past week with Kid Power Camp every night and while I absolutely LOVE working with the kids and seeing them learn, I am tired today.  So, I poured a cup of coffee and nestled in my comfy chair and opened the book of life - ready and expecting some fresh life-giving insight to fill me and help me walk through this day.  Praise music from Pandora on my phone and I read and prayed.

I felt a pull to pray over Caleb.  Caleb, our oldest, is going on his first mission trip this next week.  He had to meet several requirements through our church over the past semester to be eligible to attend and has been meeting with the children's pastor over the past week for additional training.  He will be teaching other kids about Christ at various locations over the metroplex where the kids can come and play games, sing songs, make crafts and hear about God.  Over the past week, I have found Caleb's teaching book in bed with him several times where he fell asleep studying and preparing himself for this next week.  He told me last night that he was sad that he didn't have training today- this work and preparation is a joy to him.  He loves sharing and teaching about Christ.... and this morning God told me to pray over him.

I called him to my room and had him sit in my comfy chair.  I knelt at his feet and began to pray for him, for his leaders, and for the children he will teach.  As I prayed, the song, "God of this City", began to play on the Pandora station.  Suddenly, tears flowed and I wept- not tears of sadness, but of joy.  He couldn't understand the tears.... "I will be fine Mom.  I am ready- I have studied.  Pastor Derek will be there," he said. 

How could he understand the inner workings of this mother's heart?  While we struggle through this journey of parenting, at times, seeing my child so eager to go and serve his King, his Savior, his Lord poured out emotions that I still struggle to explain.  I admire Caleb for his bravery to leave us this next week to go and give of himself at such a young, tender age when sometimes I struggle to walk across the street.  I admire his passion and conviction- he is not perfect- sometimes he drives us nuts!  However, when he talks about God, there is a fire, passion and an articulation that is from the Father.... He truly loves God.  He, like most of us, is just struggling to walk out his faith each day.  How could I explain in words the emotions pouring forth from my heart while sitting at my son's feet?  "I am just proud of you, Caleb.  So very proud of you," I whispered.  We hugged and he walked out with a faint smile on his lips.  I am not a perfect mother- I fail countless times a day and I grow tired and weary in the process.... but, if each of my sons chooses to live a life serving Christ and honor Him with their lifestyle, I will have been successful. 

I knelt to pray at Caleb's feet to bless him, but I received a blessing in abundance.   I have found energy and renewal through God giving me a glimpse of why I am here as a mother.... I am here to share HIM with them.... to water and nurture that growth in their hearts and minds.  I may be the mother of world changers- that would be my prayer- this I do know, they have already changed my world, my perspective of God and how He views me.  Thank you God, that sometimes our children can be our teachers.... even when unaware of the lesson! 

I hope to share a prayer list for Caleb and his friend, Matthew, as they are away serving next week.  Would you consider joining me as I pray for them daily?  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rock Solid

As a mother of boys, one thing I am very familiar with is rocks.  Some of you are laughing because you totally understand what I am talking about!  My boys have always loved rocks- looking at them, throwing them, building with them, collecting them, and so forth.  We have painted rocks that they made while at the ranch recently and small polished rocks that they have purchased and dirty asphalt pieces that they thought looked like rocks!  I have learned to appreciate that my boys can distinguish which rocks are good for each task they might want to do.  For example, you need a large mostly-flat rock for painting, a small flat rock for skipping on water and varying sizes of rocks for building.  It amazes me that they can find such purpose in rocks!

This morning I read this scripture and it really made me think....
"And he said: 'The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust."  2 Samuel 22:2-3a NKJV
Rocks are hard, firm, durable, and lasting.  In times of trouble, doubt, fear, questioning, anxiety, and need I want to cling to something firm, durable, and lasting- I want to cling to something that is secure and stable.  I love that God is compared to a rock- but I don't think it is the kind of rock that my boys play with but rather a large mountain- mountains are just big rocks, right?

In times of need, cling to the ROCK... to the mountain of God - He is firm, unshakable and lasting.  He will be your fortress in times of need and deliver you.  He will be your strength when you have none and He is absolutely trustworthy.  Glory!  Catherine Marshall once said, " If your every human plan and calculation has miscarried, if, one by one, human props have been knocked out...take heart.  God is trying to get a message through to you, and the message is: 'Stop depending on inadequate human resources.  Let me handle the matter.'"    In other words, cling to the ROCK - God -who is solid, firm, steady and will make your steps sure.  Trust Him and look forward in hope at all He is capable of doing in you and through you.  Eventually, you will stand on that rock in victory praising Him for the resolution and restoration that only He can bring.  I don't know where you might be today... are you clinging to Him in need or standing on Him rejoicing?  Either way, I am thankful for His solid rock....

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Need for Security

Right now, parenting in our house is not a job for the weak.  We currently  have a twelve year old who is really beginning to explore the teen hood he sees on the horizon as well as a two year old who has discovered the feeling of power when he tells us, "No!".  We also have a six year old who, feeling caught in the middle, is testing our love for him.  I love each of my boys for their uniqueness and varying strengths, but I will also share that this season of parenthood is exhausting.  Can you relate? 

As I studied the scriptures this morning, it hit me how each of them is testing and longing for security.  Caleb, our oldest, is wanting to spread his wings a little to test how they work, and yet he still wants the security that he has found in us, as his parents.  Kendall, our youngest, does love the feeling he gets when he tells me no or disobeys, but honestly, he is longing for me to correct him and show him security in holding him accountable.  The disobedience is but a test to see if I love him enough to correct and hold him accountable... it is the need for security.  Carson, our middle son, is feeling a little lost right now.  He knows that we love him, but he doesn't get the freedoms of his older brother or the attention of his younger brother.  He is searching to make sure that his place, his value hasn't been lost.... he needs the security of knowing that he will always have value in our family.

As I thought about all of this, I see some of these same issues in my relationship with the Father.  Especially as a woman, I long for security.  I want to know that my home, my children, my spouse's love, my finances, my plans, and my value is secure.  Change often scares me.  I don't like feeling things are outside of my control and my core need is security- I want love, but when I really think through it, I want a secure love- a love that does not fade or leave. 

As I think of my world, the truth is that the only thing truly secure is my relationship with the Father through Christ.  Everything else in this world will fade and pass with time..... while my husband and I love each other deeply and are rooted in Christ, I know that we will not live forever and there is a chance that one of us will have to live alone before we are reunited in heaven.  I also realize that time will change my relationship with my sons and their paths will lead them away from home.  My house, our finances, and all the things of this world could change in a heartbeat.... there is no real security in them anyway.  The Father... that is where my security is found.  He will not pass, He will not forget me, His love is for eternity, and I have a future and hope in Him.  I read this quote from Beth Moore, " All our lives God retains the strong feelings toward us that infants evoke in their parents.  He never has to let us go."  I love that, and it rings true- we are that important to the Father!

"You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take rest in safety.  You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor."  Job 11:18-19 NIV

..."Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."  Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV

"The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear?" Psalms 27:1 NIV

Through my security and peace in the Father, I can bring security to my children as they search and long for it in their various ways- all the while, pointing them to the true security source.  Maybe something in your world feels overwhelming or too much for you today.  God is your security in that matter- nothing is too great for Him and He cares about the smallest details in our life.  Rest in your security- the Father- today, my friend.  Draw on the ultimate source of peace, joy, and grace.... and savor His sweet security! 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day Reagan!

Have you ever had someone amaze you?    I am married to someone who amazes me every day.  I marvel at his love for me and how much he is willing to do for the benefit of our family each and every day.  He works hard to provide for the needs of our family each and every day, and when he comes home, we are made to feel valued and important to him.    Sometimes, it is the way he will spend an hour playing baseball with the boys outside, and sometimes it is doing the dishes for me so I can take a break.  It might be playing a game of dart gun shooting with the boys (in the house) or mowing the yard outside in the heat when he would really like to sit and watch the Rangers play.  He is generous and giving of his time, efforts, energy and money to those in need.  Many times, I have witnessed him going out of his way to give some of his own Christmas or birthday cash to someone in need. 

He is teaching our boys so much..... and parenthood hasn't always come naturally to him.  He has grown so much in this area as He has allowed God to teach and transform him daily as He studies the scriptures and heeds them.  He plays with the boys and shows them that laughter and fun is important.  He teaches them about living for Christ daily and he does this by doing so himself.  He teaches them how to love and support a wife and each day he does things for me to show that I am valued and esteemed.  He instructs them in important life lessons such as how to mow, change the oil, wood projects, and such as he welcomes them to sit alongside him when he does these things.  He is teaching them how to grow into manhood..... a living breathing example of what God has called them to be..... I am blessed. 

On this Father's Day, Reagan, please know that I love and value the incredible job you are doing!  Happy Father's Day Love!!!

A Tale of Two Fathers

Two fathers in particular have shaped and molded my beliefs, thoughts, dreams, and perspectives on life- the father given to me at birth and the father given to me in marriage.  I do believe they were given to me- as two precious gifts from "The Father" to teach me how precious and priceless good fatherhood is in a person's life.

The first father says we first met as I was being wheeled out of a labor and delivery room in Dublin, Texas and I was sucking on my entire fist.  I won his heart.  As a toddler, he would often hold and cuddle me as we watched television, but honestly, I just wanted to be near him.  One night, I was having a hard time going to sleep, and he let me get up and watch part of a show with him (He also let me have a little sip or two of Pepsi, but don't tell my mom!  Shhh....). 

The summer before I started Kindergarten, my dad with the help of his dad and brothers, built our family house.  They poured the foundation, did the framing, electrical, plumbing, drywall, and flooring...... my uncle did all the cabinetry.  The hours he worked were insane..... but he did it for his family.  Some of the days he worked all day at his paying job and then went and worked on the house until midnight or later.

When I started Kindergarten, he walked me to class every morning.... in the beginning I was frightened and even though he had countless things to do before he taught his classes, he would comfort me first.  He even promised me a prize if I could make it all day when I was struggling exceptionally, and he honored that - I went home wearing a Pepsi Cola necklace proudly that day as a badge of my courage. 

Countless nights in my childhood, my dad would come home from one job (teaching) and would leave to go do an electrical job in the evenings.  He didn't just talk about working hard- he lived it.  He taught me to drive, told me to do my best when a challenge came, attended every one act play competition I was in, and held me when I cried through disappointments.  He loved me.... through actions and words.  He is the rock and strength of our family- I knew love, safety, honor, and blessings through his deeds.

The second father came into my life when I met his son.  He greeted me with open arms and welcomed me into his home and heart.  He has never treated me as anything, but his daughter and has cried, pleaded, and prayed for me countless times to "The Father".  He too, is a hard worker who puts in countless hours for his family and taking time to teach and train the future generation of his family.  He will drive halfway across the state to be there for our family in times of need and celebration- love in action.  I have witnessed this father weeping over the things of God - broken and ready to serve.  He esteems us in words and shows us our value in his deeds.  He loved me enough to give me one of his sons and draw me into a close, loving family.

These two fathers have taught me so much, but more than anything they taught me to live what I believe- church wasn't just a Sunday thing.  Christ is their life and it is their relationship with Him that affects all decisions, words and actions.  "No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8 NLT  These two fathers reflect this kind of character.  I could not ask for two better fathers, grandfathers and friends in my life.... I love them and I would not be the same person I am today without their love and influence.

Happy Father's Day!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What is that beep?

Normally, my posts tend to take a more serious approach as I share what God has really put on my heart through my Bible study each day.  I hope that sharing my growing process blesses many of you as well.  I have to also share, however, how much I truly love laughing.... if you know my family personally, you know that laughter carries me through many a difficult moment! 

On Tuesday, I went to the cardiologist and finally picked up the heart monitor that I am suppose to wear for the next month.  I have to admit that I was really excited as I am hopeful that it will help the doctor figure out what is going on with my heart.  However, it has been quite an adventure.... a humorous one.  First, this monitor records what my heart is doing while I wear it, and when I feel something I press a button to "mark" that I felt whatever occurred at that moment....  easy, right?  It is easy, but when I press the button to "mark" a symptom, a loud beeping sound starts and lasts for about 30 seconds.  Any vision I had of being discrete has been lost as it can be heard across the house.  Now, if any alarm sounds in the house all the boys look at me- " No, it isn't me this time.  I think the oven timer is beeping."   Ugh!  Can you imagine how much fun this will be at church? 

If I have any heart event "marked", the monitor sounds a short ringing tone to remind me that I have an event recorded.  So, in the middle of any conversation I could assault you with a ringing tone.... "Sorry, that is just my monitor.... carry on!"  It is really funny when others check their phone after it sounds.... oops! 

After several events have been recorded, I have to call a 1-800 number and "send" my heart recordings to them over the phone.... to do this I have to hold the monitor up to the phone while it emits a loud- let me stress LOUD- fax-like sounding over to the center.  So, the first night I was trying to send it over the phone and Reagan was in the next room.  When I began sending it, it was so loud I thought the boys might wake up.  Reagan began yelling across the house, "Honey, can't you mute that thing?"  Afraid to answer in case it might mess up what was being sent, I didn't say anything..... after several minutes, Reagan came running in the room afraid I was in cardiac arrest as the monitor was blaring and I was not answering him!  Ha!  Poor fellow.... he was pretty understanding when I finally explained!

I also have to share that many other needed tasks have become more challenging since getting this monitor.... getting dressed around attached cords and not to mention restroom trips..... anyhoo, let's just say I have to think through the process more! 

Kendall has decided that pulling on the cords is a good way of getting my attention when he needs something- which it does get my attention for sure! 

Honestly, things are going well and I bet there will be plenty of laughter in the next month as I continue to adjust... thanks again for your prayers!  Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Worship Wednesday: Worship in Daily Chaos

You know those mornings when you wake and as your feet hit the floor, the list of needs starts immediately?  This morning, I was barely conscious when my youngest son was asking me for "beakfist" (aka breakfast).  This was followed by many additional requests; so that when I finally returned to my room to take shelter with my Lord and prepare my heart for this day, I was longing for a deep, all enveloping time with Him.  However, the sounds of the house kept beckoning my attention and the needs of the family kept being brought to my attention.  It was if the entire world (or at least my household) was absolutely against my spending time with God today!  Been there?

Finally, amidst threats of "unless you are bleeding or someone is in danger do not come in this room!"..... I secluded myself and poured praise music into my thirsty soul.  I began to pray-still feeling inadequate- and reading His words to me.  One scripture just spoke to my heart... and I read it, over and over, in various versions and let those words breathe life in me.

Deuteronomy 6:5

"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." KJV

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength."  CEB

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." NIV

"And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength." NLT

"Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got!"  MSG

It hit me that God wants me to love Him with all that I have that day and all that I can give Him that day.  He is patient and understanding as He knew before I first drew breath outside the womb that I would struggle with having time with Him this morning.    He just wants me to give Him all I have at any given time- Even if it isn't what I had envisioned blessing Him with... it is priceless to Him because it is all of me at that moment.  Thank you Lord for loving this imperfect vessel so much!

Casting Crowns- "Lifesong"

Chris Tomlin- "Here I am to Worship"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

An Anchor for our Souls


This morning I read the scripture from Hebrews 6:18-19 which says, "So God has given us both his promise and his oath.  These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.  Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence.  This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.  It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary." (NLT)

I have had to read it several times today as it is so descriptive and has so much encouragement for us who are in Christ.   First let your mind try to comprehend that God does NOT lie... that is a rare commodity in this world, huh?  His word and His promises are true- they do not fail us.  Has God always done everything I wanted?  No.  Has He failed me? No.  Often times, situations I have faced did not work out how I wanted them to, but often I reflect back with a broader perspective and understand why my preference wasn't really what was best for the situation.  Also, in those times of waiting, He grows me and stretches my faith through life lessons best taught by trial.  Knowing that God holds to His word and promises, gives us courage in the midst of the trial- even when things seem bleak, we know- we KNOW- He never fails us.  We can hold on to His promise with confidence!

Sometimes, we cling to His word and that confidence in Him because that is all we have left.  I have been at that place a few times.  The world seems upside down and I have lost confidence in many things and I am just clinging to Him- desperate for Christ to hold me steady while my world seems to be spinning out of control.  Have you been there?  Most of us have at some point in our faith.  "This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls....."  (Hebrews 6:18a)  I love that word picture.  On a boat, the only way for the boat to not float off from certain point with the current is for the anchor to be put down- the weight of the anchor holds the ship steadfast against the current.  That is what our confidence in God and His promises does for us- they hold us steady against the current of this world and keep us on point with Him.  Glory!  When our world is rocked by life, He is our anchor and keeps us safe and secure from all that would pull us away from God. 

This confidence we have through our relationship with God through Christ allows us to enter His inner sanctuary and bring all requests to Him.  Before Christ, only the priests were allowed into the inner sanctuary to pray for the people of God.  At the moment of Christ's death on the cross, the veil dividing the inner and outer sanctuaries was torn in two giving us the freedom to go to God in prayer without mediation.  Never underestimate that precious gift- the gift of approaching God's throne at anytime, anywhere pleading our heart before our King!! 

My friend, I need this reminder.  Sometimes, there is just a subtle current trying to drift me away from Him, and sometimes it is a raging storm and I am clinging to the anchor holding me to God.  I need to know each day that His promises are true, faithful and dependable.... I need Him- every day of my life, I need Him. 

Do you need an anchor today?  Is life's current pulling at you?  Cling, my friend, to the anchor of your soul!

Monday, June 11, 2012

You are Chosen!

Do you remember the dreaded times in school when teams were being formed to play a game during recess or during PE class?  I so dreaded those moments of waiting to see if you would be chosen and hoping that I would not be last.... being not so athletically minded, I really hated those moments when I felt as though I didn't meet the standard.  It is so hard, especially for children, to see that they have value despite what their friends or others think, and yet, most of us still struggle with it as adults.  This world that we live in doesn't help either- you're not skinny enough, you're house isn't big / good enough, you're job doesn't pay enough, and the list could go on and on.  The focus is on comparison and whether you equal the world's standard especially in looks, power, and money.  The sad thing is that very few meet the standard and then they are compared to each other.... no one truly wins and there are countless that lose their self esteem, value, relationships, and self in the process.

God doesn't see us like that- Glory!  He sees us each as a special, unique and valuable creation and His love for us has no limit!  He loved you so much that His own son was sacrificed just so you could have a relationship with Him..... His own Son.... I love many people in this world, but my own family is priceless to me.  I could not imagine sacrificing any of them for any reason- my love for them is in the marrow of my bones.  It is so inconceivable to me that God would send His Son to death for me... for me.  No one has loved me like that!

He not only did that to give me the choice of a relationship with Him, but He has given me a hope and a future as well as talents and gifts to use for His glory.  As if giving me an eternity in heaven to worship and praise Him wasn't enough, He has given me talents, gifts, and a purpose while here on earth.  His love is that great for us!  For some of you it is the gift of hospitality, the gift of organization, the gift of teaching, the gift of leading, the gift of witnessing, the gift of communication, and again, the list could go on and on.  He has a purpose for you.  You were never a mistake.  He has a plan for your past, present and your future to bring glory to Him; so do what He has called you to do! 

"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil.  As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you."  John 15:16

We are valued, chosen and needed because His plan for us was tailor made for us- no one else would fit in our place- it is custom for us.  And when we submerge ourselves in what He has for us we find joy, happiness, contentment, peace, comfort and constant provision for our every need.  If our relationship with Him is healthy, growing and strong, He will meet all our needs and He will honor much of our prayers- this is not due to a twisted favoritism- but if we are that submerged in Him, our wants and wishes will line up with His will.  Our view of needs, wants and wishes will change to reflect His character and values.    Mrs Charles Cowman once said, "Christ is the secret, the source, the substance, the center, and the circumference of all the true and lasting gladness."

Are you looking for love, value, purpose?  God is the source of all that you need- He has given you life, endless love and value, and purpose for life.... You are chosen, my dear friend, you are chosen!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Beauty in Brokenness

As a parent, I am not unfamiliar with the cries of loss as a toy is broken in our home.  Upset, disappointed, and frustrated faces often look to me with the request of fixing the broken in our home- their hope being that I could restore an item to usefulness.  I can identify with them to a certain extent- as often items of mine are broken and damaged in our home.  Can you relate?  Have you had something special to you be broken or damaged? 

It hit me this morning that I think, at times, the true value of something is best seen in its brokenness- only when an item has been lost do we truly recognize the value it had in our lives.  It is true with people too, huh?  Only when we see loved ones fading or passing do we fully recognize what influence they have had on us.  What about the living broken?  Those of us that are broken by life and, yet, try to continue on despite being less than whole?  Perhaps broken by our own sinful decisions, the hurts of others, unforgiveness, physical limitations, or deep sorrow.  You can find these living broken people anywhere- in your job, in your church, in your home.... they are hurting people in search of wholeness.

Thankfully, we have a God who loves making things whole- He takes our brokenness and gives us a restored purpose through His complete healing.  Corrie ten Boom once said, "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."  Glory!  He will go the depths to reach His precious children in order to heal and restore them to His purpose for their life.  It was for His children's healing and restoration that God had Christ die on the cross for us- He loves us that much- not to just forgive you of failures, but to heal you and restore you to wholeness and usefulness. 

Scripture says, "He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  By his wounds you are healed."  1 Peter 2:24

Healed- not patched- totally healed, whole again, for His purpose in your life.  Scars may remain in our lives and consequences of some of our mistakes may still remain, but our soul is completely whole and healed.  We can then deal with life, our scars, and our consequences far beyond ourselves because we are well spiritually and able to draw on God's strength and power. I think God's healed broken are the strongest vessels He can use because they truly know the depths of His love.

Take heart, my friend, if you are hurting and broken, you are but one breath away from wholeness- just call upon the Savior!  If you are hurting over the brokenness of a loved one- do not give up!  God is fully capable and continue praying on their behalf.  If you are a once broken now healed child of the King- rejoice today!  Do not forget the pit He pulled you from, but rejoice in His healing and restored purpose in your life- praise Him for the beauty in the brokenness!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Need Your Help!!!

Several of you have been so gracious and kind to encourage me in my writing.  I honestly just feel called to share what insights God gives me from day to day as I feel like we are all learning and growing together.  I do not know what God has planned in my future, but I love studying, growing in Him and writing. 

I am asking for your help to grow our family blog.  If you enjoy reading this blog and have been blessed by it- would you consider sharing it with your friends and family?  I am not selling anything or giving anything away.... (bummer!), but my hope is to grow in our number of followers, comments and re-posts.

I appreciate you and any help you can give.  Thank you!!

Love and Trust

In my studies this morning, I read a quote by Beth Moore that stopped me in my tracks.  I had to just sit and let it sink into my groggy thoughts and process it.  To be totally honest, it convicted me it is:

"I not only love God and trust Him, I love trusting Him.  It is a constant reminder of a perpetual miracle in my life."  Beth Moore, Praying God's Word Day by Day .

Read that again..... soak it in..... I can follow Beth on loving God and trusting Him- I absolutely love Him and I do trust Him..... but, to love trusting Him?  That was what stopped me in my tracks.  Do I love trusting Him?  My earthly nature cried out in rebellion against this statement.  I have been through many situations when I had to trust Him because that was all I had, but in the midst of those times, I admit that I didn't love being in that place.  This is what I thought- to love trusting Him meant that I had to love being in situations that required my trusting Him.  Can you identify with my struggle here?

As I pondered and prayed, God walked me through a challenging thought process.  Scripture says -and we all know it to be true- we are to expect troubles.  Life in this world isn't perfect and pretty and as a result, we have troubles. 

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Heartaches, loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, sickness, broken promises, and  this list could go on, couldn't it?  We are very familiar with troubles.  I also look back and stand in awe of God and how He faithfully worked out the troubles in my past- He has been faithful, trustworthy, and perfectly on time.  It overwhelms me to think of His faithfulness to us, as a family.  I feel humbled and loved while so unworthy.  I love Him, yes, and I trust Him, yes, but do I love trusting Him?

Then, it hit me.... in the midst of trouble, at the point when I look to Him and say, "God I give this to You and I trust You in it."- immediately, peace and relief feels me and I am free from that trouble.  When we are in a situation that we are trusting God to work out, there is indescribable peace that this world cannot understand.... in those moments, I do love trusting Him because the burden becomes His not mine.  I don't have to love the troubles to love trusting Him and giving those problems to Him.    As I reflect on my life, just as Beth describes, it is a perpetual miracle of God's design.  So, is your life- if He has saved you, redeemed you, and is growing you in His likeness- you are a continual miracle in process.  Can you fathom where you would be if He hadn't become the lover of your soul?

Today, I am so thankful that I can claim how much I do love and trust Him...and  how I love trusting Him.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Worship Wednesday: Wonder at His Creation!

The air, thick and heavy, this morning greeted me and beckoned me to step out and revel in all that is God's handiwork.  Thankful for the subtle, small breeze that occasionally offered a slight relief and I scanned and looked out upon His work.  Various birds working diligently- as preparing for their day -singing a melodious song as a butterfly moves in random patterns across the yard as in search of something.  Puffy, white dandelion heads rising above the grass, full and ready, for a strong gust to scatter in the sky.  Sunlight dances in the grass revealing countless shades of green in the grass and the handiwork of a spider who left its "trail" floating amid the blades. 

As I survey this scene, how can I not praise Him?  How can I not witness and see all His works and know- truly know- He creates.  He created this world, He creates life, and He created me.  He will not fail me and His works are best.... I will praise Him!

"For this is what the Lord says- he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited- he says: 'I am the LORD, and there is no other.'"  Isaiah 45:18 NIV

" For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."  Romans 1:20 NIV

" Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always." Psalm 105:4 NIV

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge."  Psalm 19:1-2 NIV

"Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."  Philippians 4:13 MSG

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Freedom of Clean


I love it when things are clean!  (I don't love the cleaning, but I LOVE it when everything is clean.)  The smell of my toddler when he is just out from a bath just makes me smile.  I often cuddle with him afterward and just breathe him in.  I love a spotless house- have you ever just walked into your house after a good cleaning and just released a small sigh of joy over it?  I also love fresh, clean laundry.  Often when I am folding laundry, I just hold a towel to my face and just soaked in the warm freshnes of it.

Now, don't think that my house is always spotless, and perfectly clean at all times- if you have read some of my previous posts, you know that isn't the case.  I love cleanness, but life happens in this house.  I do clean and do laundry and we all bathe regularly, but those moments when everything is fresh and spotless at the same time are rare!  I think that is why I love it so much- the fact that I have boys that love to play and get dirty makes me love the moments when they are clean so much sweeter.  The fact that I often have mounds of dirty laundry waiting, makes the moments of breathing in the warm fresh scent of finished laundry so rewarding.  There is just something invigorating about being clean.... renewed, ready for the next purpose.

That is how I am in Christ.... I was dirty, sin-stained, broken, used and lacking purpose.  He cleaned me- through His blood- he cleaned me.  No stain remains- spotless in His sight- and He gave me a purpose again.  Everyone wants to be needed and have a use, but when we feel so discarded because of life or poor choices, we feel unwanted, useless.  That is not how God sees us- He sees opportunity, freshness, new beginnings, and hope- just waiting on that moment when we reach the end of us and turn in desperation to Him.  When we have tried to clean ourselves, and can't do it; so, we reach out our hand to the Savior.  He cleans us... He renews us... and we have purpose in Him. 

" He forgives your sins- every one.  He heals your diseases- every one.  He redeems you from hell- saves your life!  He crowns you with love and mercy- a paradise crown.  He wraps you in goodness- beauty eternal.  He renews your youth- your always young in his presence."  Psalm 103: 3-5 MSG

Life will still happen and we will still have to deal with the consequences of some things, but with a new source of strength because God is with us and our future is secure.  In the freedom of new found purity, we can face all that the day holds- we are forgiven, renewed, needed and useful.  You are so valuable to the King- He sacrificed His son so you might be clean, pure, forgiven, needed, and useful.  It cost Him so much, and in all fairness, we shouldn't take it for granted.  This cleaning was through the life-giving blood of His son- may we never stop finding the joy in that.  Let us always long to soak in the freshness of this life we have been given and let us look, with anticipation, for the purpose God has for our lives.  No longer discarded, we have purpose in our blood bought purity....

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Where is the Rewind Button?

On Thursday, I was running some errands, and had to stop and drop off a bill locally.  Since it would take me all of 10 seconds, I pulled in the drive and hopped out of the car to place the bill in a deposit box and just as I was getting out of the car I heard a testimony on the radio that interested me.  I quickly returned to the car, but missed some important details of the testimony and was somewhat irritated at myself for not just waiting the few seconds to hear it.  I thought about Carson and one day he had asked me to rewind the radio because he wanted to hear a song again.  I could identify with his feelings right at that moment.

It hit me as I continued how much of a 'rewind' society we live in- we live in such a digital world that television, music, and videos can all be played again in the matter of pressing a button.  I had such a time on the day Carson wanted me to play that song again on the radio explaining why I couldn't do that for him.  He pointed out that even the radio had rewind or go back buttons.... how could it not work?

In life, we can't always rewind, huh?  Some decisions, words or actions just can't be taken back or done differently.  The sad thing is that we treat our world as though we can do a cosmic rewind and just ignore our missteps.  Society tells us to "follow our heart" and "believe in yourself" and if you do these things you can overcome anything.... and, if by chance you messed up- don't worry- you can always figure something out to start over.  How is this working out for our society? 

I believe God absolutely gives us freedom of choice in regards to our actions, and I believe He is fully capable of using all of our decisions- whether good or bad- to bring glory to Himself.  I also believe, however, that sometimes the consequences of our actions will still have to be dealt with and addressed.  Someone who has abused their body with drugs and alcohol may change their life and choose to live a life honoring the Father, but they may deal with the affects of that abuse on their body for years.  The consequence of an unplanned pregnancy will have lasting ripples in the lives that are touched- no matter what decision is made- life will not be the same afterward.  Even words spoken in anger against another cannot be taken back- forgiveness can be sought and received but a mark in the memory remains. 

I think, as a Christian, this helps me to understand why my decisions are so important.  God can and will use anything, including my failures, for His glory to teach me to be tender, more compliant, and less judgemental of others.  I also believe that He rejoices when I take the time to think through my actions and do my best to honor Him with my decisions.  The realization that some decisions will have lasting consequences should make me more alert and on guard against the enemy- he is seeking to destroy believers. Nothing pleases the evil one more than to destroy the testimony of one who professes Christ.

I read this Beth Moore quote, today, during my quiet time, "The biggest sacrifices of our lives will be those times when we chose our own way and forfeited God's pleasing will for us."

We all have failed.  We all have forfeited God's pleasing will for us in something.  So, we need to understand that loving restoration is a part of all of our lives and as believers, we need to cast a hand to help rather than casting a glance of superiority.  Let us live with focus and determination to honor Him and build each other up with encouragement and support because we are all just a decision away from wishing we could rewind a moment.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Heart of the Issue

Being real, honest, and vulnerable is something that God has grown me into over the past several years.  There are some areas of my life that I will openly share without a second thought, but areas of deep, emotional sensitivity I do not share well.  I think God has a purpose in all this and I have learned to share only when I sense Him saying, "It's time."  Yesterday, became one of those moments for me.

For several months, I have been dealing with an issue with my heart- physical, not emotional.  I first had some concerns when I was pregnant with Carson and then Kendall.  I had many numerous episodes, while pregnant, of my heart racing to the point of nearly fainting.  I would feel so hot on the inside and yet cold and clammy to the touch.  I would feel so light-headed and things would start going dark, and I would just fall where I was in order to avoid fainting.  Afterward, I would need 1-2 hours to recover from the episodes as I just wouldn't feel normal for a period of time.  My doctor assured me that this is normal for some women while pregnant as your heart is trying to pump blood for two.  After having the boys, I didn't have issues.... until, February of this year. 

One morning I was enjoying my second cup of coffee when I felt pressure building in my chest which was uncomfortable, but not painful.  It built until I had to "catch" my breath.  While only lasting a matter of seconds, I knew something wasn't right.  I soon figured out that I was skipping heart beats and that the coffee was a factor.  So, in my attempt to "fix it" myself, I changed my coffee to half-caffeinated and limited my sodas.  This worked for a few weeks, but then at the end of April I began having the spells again.  Over the past six weeks, they have progressed quite a bit.  I do believe that caffeine is certainly a factor, but I have had episodes when my caffeine intake was very low.  I have also had some heart racing spells again and times where the pressure in my chest lasts longer than before. 

So, I went to my family practice doctor.  To be honest, making the call for the appointment was so hard for me- it was admitting to myself that something was wrong.  At my appointment, my doctor ran an EKG and the results were "slightly abnormal" and he decided it was best to refer me to a cardiologist.  Yesterday, I went to the cardiologist and he has scheduled an ECG and stress test in 2 weeks- which I am dreading!  I will also be wearing a heart monitor over the next month.  I am glad that both doctors are taking my concerns seriously and I still believe that the treatment may be as simple as a diet and lifestyle change or it may mean a medication.  I guess time will tell on that and I am okay either way- I just want to know what I am dealing with- having answers helps me process and proceed.

This is  what I do know..... I believe God wants me to share my journey in this life- the good, the bad and the ugly!  Not that I am special, but quite the contrary, because I am just like everyone reading this.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed, and sometimes I fail in my attitudes and actions- I rarely have it all together.  However, my God has never failed me and if my being honest, real, and vulnerable encourages someone else in their spiritual journey then I must share.  I appreciate your prayers, and I know God has a plan in all this to grow me closer to Him.  Plus, there may be some really funny stories out of all this- I wonder what the heart monitor will indicate when all my boys return!?!?

This is the scripture that God just keeps bringing back to me and maybe it is an encouragement to you too.
"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."  Isaiah 41:13

No issue is too small or too great to bring to the feet of Christ.  Whatever you  might be battling right now- fatigue, financial, physical, emotional, and fears- He holds you close and has beautiful plans for you.... He will not fail you.... and that is the heart of the issue.