Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So much to say....

At the turn of the final page I was crying. I cry every time. "The Fate of the Yellow Woodbee" - a book I have read a few times. I just finished reading it to Catey. I could barely finish it. Catey was soooo sweet as she hugged me and held my hand so I could choke out the last few pages. It is the story of Nate Saint and the other 4 missionaries that were speared to death in Ecuador. I will never get over the beautiful picture of forgiveness. The book ends with Steve Saint(Nate's son) getting baptized in the same river where his dad was killed(the place that the Aucas saw angels after they speared the men). Not only that, he was being baptized by the same men who did the killing. An amazing story. I just pray that I would be as strong in my faith in those circumstances. The story never fails to inspire me.

On a totally unrelated note I leave tomorrow morning for Angola prison. I am feeling a bit anxious tonight and I am not sure why. I am not afraid of traveling. I have done quite a bit and I actually love it. I am not afraid of the prison because I had the opportunity to work in a prison for a few months when I graduated from paralegal school many years ago and I know what to expect. So, I just can't put my finger on it but if you think of me please pray. Pray for safe travel and health. Pray for the weather. The activities are outside on Saturday and it is supposed to rain. Pray for hearts that are open to the gospel and for clarity to those who have the blessed opportunity to share. Also pray for Greg. He has a very full schedule Thursday and Friday and to say he is going to get a taste of what I do would be an understatement.

I am sitting here alone and I should be packing. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Carla and I were talking about taking our bathing suits because the hotel has a pool and hot tub. The idea of these very white legs putting on a bathing suit is making me cringe. Ugh! No wonder I am procrastinating!

Right before I started typing this I was thinking about what my life will be like some day when my kids grow up(they are at AWANA right now) and I came to two conclusions:

1. The silence is deafening.

2. I eat way too much when they aren't here. I don't know if it is because I can eat whatever I want without sharing(sad I know) or if it is just easier to feed one person. Either way I have had too much to eat tonight:)

Anyway, that was totally random but I think it is just another reminder to cherish today because the sands of time are slipping through my fingers and there ain't a dang thing I can do about it.....

Well, I am off to pack my bags. I am leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I will blog again. I will do my best to update at some point this weekend!

Have a blessed night!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not always what it seems....

I had the best time on Saturday doing a training for women's ministry leaders. I am on a team for the EFCA Eastern District. We got to spend the day with leaders from several churches. I just love to be able to encourage women, especially these women in leadership, because so often they are called to be the ones doing the enouraging and they need their own cheerleader also.

God has definetley blessed me in my ministry to women and aside from my family I have found the MOST pleasure in my life being able to be apart of other women's lives.

When my session came in the afternoon and I stood before those women I just had to tell them how beautiful they were. They were from different ages and stages of life with different backgrounds and had different types of ministries but they were all beautiful.

Now if you would have seen me on Saturday you might have thought that I didn't look to bad myself. I actually had a skirt on. Something you will rarley ever find me in. I am as girly as a girl that you can find but I love my denim. I live in a pair of jeans and maybe should be buried in them:) Anyway I had to do this training and attend a memorial service so I actually dressed up.

Here's the thing about being dressed up, I do clean up o.k. I guess. I can put on pretty clothes and some makeup that does wonders. I can fix my hair and smile but that doesn't change who I am on the inside. I NEVER want to be known for my appearance but as girl who loves Jesus with all her heart and lives a life that truly reflects that.

Because beauty is fleeting. I look in the mirror and somedays can't believe how fast. I don't know about you but it sometimes hits me at record speed. Wrinkles appear overnight and gravity takes hold and doesn't let go without a fight and even then some things remain.

I was approached when it was all over by one of the ladies. She said she took one look at me and almost wrote me off as "one of those speakers" who has it all together and she did not want to hear from someone like that again. It caught me off guard because I know my heart and my struglles and I definetely DO NOT have it all together. She was so gracious and beautiful herself by the way and went on to tell me that what I said spoke to her the most. I talked about giving up control and the fact that we can't do a million things to the glory of God. I shared my own struggle with control.

Anyway yesterday as I was cleaning the house, my hair completely a mess, no make-up on my face, and sweat dripping off me I chuckled and thought I wish she could see me now because this is who I am. I clean bathrooms and scoop dog poop. I have cleaned up any number of bodily fluids off places in my home. I do not live a glamorous life. I have struggles and insecurities. I yell at my kids and have the need to apologize often. I fight like wild with my husband and thank God for His grace all the time. I am also thankful for concealer but know better than anyone that some things you can't cover up. Who we are and what we believe is what will show up on the outside.

I don't ever want to appear to anyone as someone who has it all together because things are not always what they seem. We do each other a disservice when we wear that mask and appear that way. I am a real woman with real struggles and real areas that God is still working on. So just remember the next time you look at someone who you thinks has it all....they do not. Perfection is inattainable this side of heaven and no one escapes the hardships this life has to offer.

I guess I just wanted to share that in case you for some reason thought I had it together here all the time. I also want us all to examine our own lives and be sure that we are being real all the time so someone doesn't write us off before they hear our message of hope that Christ has to offer them.

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Frantic!

I woke up this morning and like every other morning as I make my way downstairs I stop and look at my kids sleeping. Maybe if we didn't live in a hundred year old house that requires me to walk through their bedroom to get to the steps I wouldn't have formed this habit but I doubt it. I would still probably peek in on them. I love to watch them sleep. I look at their precious innocent faces and it energizes me. It brings fulfillment and purpose to my life and I relish the stillness when usually they are going a hundred miles an hour when they are awake.

Well today was different. Abijah and Catey were not where I left them last night when they went to bed. They were not in the bottom bunk with Colton. They were not in the top bunk. They were not in Catey's bed or in Cayla's room or in the living room. I started to feel panic. I was frantic. I yelled for Greg who flew up the steps and checked all the places I already checked. I couldn't breathe. I think I was about to call 911 when we heard a faint sound. It came from Catey's room. I found them curled up on the floor fast asleep on the other side of her bed where they could not easily be seen. You couldn't see them when you just looked in the door at the bed. They made a "bed" there to camp out after I went to bed.

I rejoiced and I cried. The thought of a lost child is almost too much to bear let alone two. It took me a while to recover from that. I thought a lot about God, our heavenly Father and how he must feel when He "loses" one of us and the rejoicing in heaven when we are found.

I used to put a lot of emphasis on perfection. Now I put a lot of emphasis on repentance and grace. Redemption not perfection. Just know if you feel like you have been wondering a little too far lately don't panic there is ALWAYS a way home.

Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. The Parable of the Lost Coin: "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." ~Luke 15:3-10

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Can I be o.k.??????

% of Bible Believers.........

Grandparents
65%

Parents
35%

Generation Y
4%

88% Christian Raised Children Leave Church at 18 and....

NEVER RETURN!!!!!!!!

I read these statistics today. I was saddened. When you have a child who chooses to walk away from the Lord the emotions can be paralyzing. "Anything but this" you say to yourself because you know anything else you can help them with. You can fix it. This you can not. You can not believe for them. They have to own it. Isn't that all we want from the beginning anyway? For them to own it. But when they don't our heart breaks.

So today I had two questions I needed to ask myself. Will my child come back like the prodigal son? And if not, can I still be o.k.??? Tough questions. The first I can't answer I can only pray and pray and pray some more. The second though is complicated but at least it has an answer.

YES! I can be o.k. I can choose today, in spite of the sadness I feel, to believe and trust God. To love Him more than anything else in my life. To honor Him even when I don't get the answers I want.

After yet another conversation with my son, in which I felt like I was being pecked to death by a duck by the way, I wanted to give up hope and fall apart. I stood at the same crossroads that I have stood at so many times before but this time I chose to just believe that I am free and even though Satan wants me to lose hope I don't need to.

His word says it is for freedom that we have been set free. It doesn't say that we will eventually be free but that we are free. I don't need that old yoke of slavery anymore. I am o.k. I can be o.k. tomorrow even if the first question doesn't get answered. Even if there is more being pecked by the duck!!!! I AM FREE!

I read an awesome book on raising teens. It is called "The Space Between" by Walt Mueller. I wish I had read it years ago and highly recommend it to anyway with children in their life.

I hope if anyone reading this is struggling with a prodigal child knows that they too can be o.k. God sees our pain. He hears our cries. He knows our heart. What we sow in tears we will someday reap in joy. Praise Him! Hallelujah! Have a blessed night.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Make a Memory

This is a poem I wrote about my son for a group of young moms I was speaking to. I wanted to encourage them to spend time with their kids and not worry about all the little stuff. Some lessons we unfortunately learn the hard way.....


Wash the dishes, do the laundry
Please be quiet, not today
Can’t you see I am busy now
Can’t you see I have no time to play

We’ll play tomorrow if I can
But for now just run along
I have to get the house just right
You know I can’t get this all wrong

I busy myself and days turn to years
I miss your giggles and your grin
Too big now to play with me
As I sit and think what should have been

Did I give you what you needed
I cleaned the house, did the carpool
Thought I’d always have another day
You grew too fast, I was a fool

I see wasted days and wasted moments
Thinking I had all kinds of time
I blink my eyes and you grew up
Where’s that little boy of mine

Where’s the boy I used to hold
He’s taller now than I am
When’s the last time I picked you up
I can’t remember now you’re a man

So young mom you must listen up
Each new day is a chance to be
The mom that God created
Now go today and make a memory!



Thursday, April 8, 2010

It works!

I just finished up my 15th small group Bible study. I can barely believe it. Where does the time go???? All total I have had the privilege of spending around 125 weeks in group studies not to mention the time I have spent just digging up treasures on my own. It is truly a treasure hunt. It all started a few years ago with a few ladies huddled in a small office at our church doing the study "Believing God".

My life was forever changed. I will NEVER be the same. From that point on a fire was lit in my heart to know God and a fierce hunger grew in me for His Word. It was not always easy. Some of them I had to fight through with tears. Some I almost wanted to give up on because the work was too much. I have been on a journey over the last few years and have learned more about who I am in Christ and who God is than I could have ever imagined. I always finish a study with mixed emotions. Happy I finished. Sad it's over. Wonder of what will be next because each one teaches me something new and different.

All I can say is it does work. Studying His Word will have a profound effect on your life. The key is to not give up when the work gets hard. Wrestle the thing out and be tenacious about your time with God. Be fierce and stand firm. He is faithful.

Maybe the Bible hasn't ever seemed very exciting or very applicable to your current situations. I promise you it is. Ask Him to light a fire in your heart like He did in mine a few years back. He will do just that and when He becomes the One Thing you know you could never live without you will know twhat I am talking about. I don't think I would have ever survived some of the things I was going through without it. If you feel like your barely surviving right now give it a try. It will work. It will work. IT WILL WORK!!!! I promise.

I am not special in anyway. In fact because I have such a need for His Word it shows me what a mess I really am or could be without Him. What I am sharing here is available to anyone. Be diligent and it will work wonders in your life.

What's next for me????? One never knows.....I am reading an excellent book right now about the warden at Angola Prison in Louisiana that I will be visiting at the end of the month. I can't wait to see what God does in my life while I am there.

I have finished a few good books over the last few weeks and hope to blog about them soon. Until then have a blessed day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beyond theTattoo.....



The newest tattoo...yes, this is my oldest son. He got this "little" piece of artwork last night. How do I feel you might ask??? Well, this is his third tattoo and of course I have all the thoughts a mom would have. Will he regret it someday? Will it hinder him from a job in his future? Should he be spending his money on this? What will people think of me as his mom?

But in the end God is always gracious and gives me a new lesson to learn and insight into this son I love. God has taught me to look beyond the tattoo to the man my son is becoming. I learned to pray about each of his tattoo's.

One says "R.I.P. Grandma" in honor of his great grandma who he was very close to. I pray everyday that he would remember the godly woman that she was and desire to honor her life through the way he lives his.

The other is a skateboard bent in half in the shape of a heart. He says he got this because skateboarding was his first "love". I thank God that he gave him a gift and a talent that he loves. I pray that God would take this thing he loves so much and use it in a mighty way someday for God's glory.

And finally this tattoo, "In God's Hands". Oh yes baby that is where I have had to place you almost daily for 19 years and struggle every time I took you back because I wanted to be in control. You will never believe what I have gone through to put that child at the foot of the cross and leave him there. I have sowed many tears and I praise God because I know He is faithful and I will reap a harvest of joy someday. I have also experienced the thrill of victory when the time between when I lay him at the cross and when I am tempted to pick him back up has become longer and longer.

The lessons that God has taught me through that child have been priceless. Eternal. Things I would not have learned any other way. I am a better person, mom, and follower off Christ because of all this. Because Chris and everyone else who I dearly love are "In God's Hand's" it gives me a stronger desire to be close to God so to be close to those He holds and has "tattooed" in the palm of His hand!

When I finally got to the point that I cared more about my child and his relationship with God and my own freedom in Christ rather than what other people might think I was finally free. Caring about how we will look or own pride is bondage.

My son is searching right now. I know that. I pray the heavens down on him daily. I choose to trust God. I know that in Chris' search to fill the "void" and find out who he is, even in the valleys, is where his walk will become real. If we could only learn as parents to let go and let God do His work. I know too many times I interfere. "In God's Hands" yep, that is exactly where my son is and that is exactly where I want him. So today I look beyond the tattoo and to the future. The place where God has a plan and purpose for each thing me and my son go through.

So what about you? Is there someone in your life that you have struggled to lay at the cross? Have your kids made decisions that scare you half to death? Go to God daily and leave it all there. He is faithful and He will do a wonderful work in their life and yours.

Have a blessed day!