Thursday, December 30, 2010
Some of those are rather shallow things but my point is that we miss those neat, little things that help make our day less of a battle. I’ve found many of those things to be blessings in my life and I try really hard to take notice of them when they happen. It is so important for us to enjoy and draw from those breaks in the battle. The battles we face on a daily basis can sometimes be daunting. The battlefield is an ugly place. When I think of a battlefield the mental image I get is not one of joy or pleasure. To me, it’s a dirty place. It’s grimy. It stinks. It’s a place where you’re surrounded by death and/or injury. It’s a place of weariness. It can often times be a place of confusion and overwhelming attacks from the enemy. Sometimes it’s a place of utter defeat.
James 1 talks about “count it all joy…the trying of your faith will bring you patience, endurance and strength”. Thanks James, that’s exactly what this girl wanted to hear. Count it all joy? Really? When you look at the gut-wrenching, dirty, strength-zapping battles we often face, “joy” isn’t the first thing that pops into my mind. It’s more like “Ugh”. Many times I have found myself in a place of defeat…far, far from that place where I can count it all joy. There have been days where you could have found me in the fetal position under my desk at work. Maybe I wasn’t exactly salt and light in the Wal-Mart checkout line. Maybe I missed a chance to help my fellow soldier because I was too wrapped up in my own fight. Worse yet, at times I just gave up right there in the middle of the battle. I just sat right down and waved my little white flag and let the enemy run smack over me. After all, I didn’t go looking for a fight, the battle came and found me. It wasn’t fair. How/why did it happen? (Talk about being a whiney baby…no wonder I lost so many battles!) Folks, I missed the opportunity to “count it all joy” far too many times. It was hard for me to see that the trials I was tackling were actually strengthening me. The enemy was able to way-lay me because I went into the battle unprepared.
This battlefield of life is no place to be if we’re weary, empty, unprepared and naked. Our enemy roams around like a lion, ready to devour us. He fights dirty. He hits us in our weak spots. He uses the ones we love in his battle against us. He loves using the element of surprise. He uses guerrilla warfare. There is no place in your life he won’t attempt to attack. There’s no sacred time either…he loves attacking at the most inappropriate times. His goal is not to strengthen our patience and endurance. His goal is to kill us. We help him in meeting his goal when we attempt to go up against him unprepared.
A warrior is always prepared. They train daily. They are always on the lookout for the enemy. They know how to respond at a moment’s notice. They get up every morning and put on their battle gear. They fill themselves up on life-giving food. We tell our kids that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We convince them that going about their day on an empty stomach makes them weak and ineffective. What makes us think that same principle isn’t true for our spirits? Being a warrior is not just a physical attribute. It is a mindset. It takes a huge heart. It takes endurance, power and determination. It takes knowing who you are in Christ so that you can stare the enemy in the eyes and say to him, “This day I will fight!”
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I can't say that I've got some profound block of text to type up here. I'm known as the Queen of Randomness, so I'll just put down a few random thoughts.
- I've done two ladies encounter retreats this year and instead of being tired...I want more!
- I've been missing friends that have moved off A LOT here lately. Why God? Why can't they stay right here with me?
- I'm reading Christian fiction again after refusing to read it because it steals away my time in the Word. I'm teetering on the edge of having to remove it from my house once again. :(
- I still follow several children with terminal illnesses through Coles Foundation. There's this one father that is hopelessly lost and I want more than anything to show him the only true source of hope.
- I'm still believing for several families in my life to receive Christ. Lord help me continue to be salt and light. I will not give up...you hear me? I will not give up. I will knock until there's a hole in that door. I will plead until the angels have to carry me out of the throne room because I've been there so long. :) (Yes, I know that would never happen. In fact, He's wanting to know why I'm not praying more.)
- I'm so stinking proud of Reid and Tori. They are both doing so well in school. AND they are both growing in the Lord. Reid is showing improvement in wanting to attend church and I sometimes here him singing praise songs in his room. I love walking in to Tori's room and seeing her reading her bible...I caught her in Titus the other night. What teenager reads Titus? :)
- I continue to battle with getting wrapped up in my own little life, doing my own tasks, keeping my own schedule, etc. I have to fight to think of others. That is SO NOT the mind of Christ.
- I'm doing better with memorizing scripture. I took my struggles with memorization to the Cross. Amazing how that works. (ha!) I even have a little spiral book of scripture index cards in my purse. Ssshhhh....don't tell Jenny.
- The Lord is so dog gone faithful. I love Him.
- I'm thankful the elections are over. I'm sick of hearing, "...and I approve this message." I'm also thankful for Romans 13:1 that reminds us to submit to the authority of the land and that God establishes all of those authorities. Hhhmmmm...well, I guess I'll be correcting some of my attitudes now... BTW...that's one of my memory verses. I didn't even have to look it up...it just came right to me! :)
- I'm working on being thankful for what I have and not focus on what I don't have.
- I must be salt and light where ever I go...
Friday, October 1, 2010
So one night, not long ago, I'm listening to #12 Come In My Courts...my all-time favorite on the CD. I've listened to this song 101 times in the past...over and over and over again. (Yes, I'm one of THOSE people!) When suddenly one line of the song jumps out of the speakers and grabs me by the heart. The line is, "there is no other I love more than you".
Earlier this year the Lord showed me that I didn't truly believe that He loves me. I sat in a room full of women watching the Beth Moore simulcast on "So Long Insecurity" and weeped like a baby as He exposed my prideful heart to me. I couldn't believe the truth He was showing me. How was it possible? I had even stood before women and taught about His love. But the evidence could not be denied. I was insecure and pridefully felt that His love couldn't possibly cover my multitude of sins.
So here I am, one unsuspecting night, sitting in Rich's truck...listening to my favorite song for the 3rd time in 15 minutes...and there is comes...the line that took my knowledge of His love to another level..."There is no other I love more than you." "So come, my beloved, come." "Come in my courts, I am calling you"...(I'm fighting back tears as I type.) You see, I still had a touch of that pride left. I still had a smidgen of belief that there were other people that He loved more because...well...they are just better Christians than I am. You've got Billy Graham, Beth Moore, Peggy Fitzhugh, Dora Eason, Melba Meyers...my list went on. But He was breaking that mindset that night by telling me "Sweety, I do not love Billy Graham more than I love you. I love you both the same." The revelation was water to my soul.
He loves me so much that He calls my name and invites me into His presences. "if your name isn't known, then it's a very lonely feeling." ~ A Wind in the Door
My Father knows me by name. The Maker of the Universe...the Great I AM...knows me and calls me. He chose me. There's no denying His love. I simply want to grow in it....bask in it...
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Simply put...he's getting better and better and better. Not necessarily "getting better with time". It's just not that simple. He's getting better because he's crucifying his flesh every day (some times multiple times a day). He's spending time in the Word. He's sacrificing selfish ambitions in order to serve within the Body of Christ. He's loving me like Christ loves the church. He's a daddy that's there for his kids and for many spiritual kids...it's not always easy when you feel like you're spread thin. He's making intentional choices to be a man that is full of righteousness, peace and joy. He's a warrior. He's a friend. He's a servant. He's an amazing man that will not be denied the promises of God.
He is clearly NOT over-the-hill...
So we decided to celebrate his roots. We threw a big ole' Mexican fiesta. Sixty of our closests friends came out to honor him. Had I opened up the party to any and everyone that loves him, I would not have been able to fit them all in the room. I'm not kidding...he is loved by so many people! Bryan and Kassie Atwood at The Woodshed catered some great food and I filled in with some side dishes. I have to give a shout-out to Bryan...the food was great as always! The sweetest part (no pun intended) is that my sister-in-law, Carolyn, made two homemade Carrot Cakes. They were oh-so-good! Kassie had another lady make a homemade German Chocolate Cake and I made a really yummy Blueberry Cream Cake with a Lemon Glaze. Needless to say, I don't think anyone left the party hungry. But that's the way we do things. We want to feed you til you pop.
My friends were so great about chipping in and helping with decorations, serving food, clearing tables and photography. Jenny worked her bottom off making sure the food stayed stocked on the buffet line. She graciously helped me serve people. She helped clean up. All of that after fighting a 2-year-old at a high school football game for 3 hours and staying up late on Friday night to help decorate. She's such a trooper. Then there's Bobby and Melanie which drove 3 1/2 hours after work on Friday, attended the football game, then showed up to help decorate until after midnight. Bobby saved me from climbing up a really tall ladder (yes, I'm afraid of heights) and Melanie did a great job directing his activities to make sure all of the decorations were just right. Ken and Jenn were also there to help put out tables after a long day at work. They've got mad set-up and clean-up skills! (They were sooo tired, but came out anyways because they just love us that much!) I can't forget Steve and Lisa who took pictures and I can't wait to see them! Steves an amazing photographer and Lisa is really great at putting them together in electronic scrapbooks. Last but not least, I cannot overlook Matthew and Chelsea. They were in charge of the "plethura of pinatas" and they delivered! Not only did they supply enough pinatas to fill up my backseat, they also brought in the best fake mustaches, sombreros and sarapes...oh, and I can't forget the chili pepper beaded necklace. They showed up decked out in their Mexican costumes and passed out the little mustaches to anyone that would stand still. All of this after driving 5 1/2 hours to be with us.
To conclude, I have to mention how honored Rich was when he was roasted and toasted by a group of men that are so special to him. Kohlten, Jerome, Ken, Chris, Bobby, Matthew and my dad. Every one of them has played an important role in Rich's life and they all hold a very special place in his heart. I think one of the greatest moments for Rich was when he had the opportunity to publicly honor my grandfather for being such a Godly role model for him. He and my dad took Rich in like their own grandson/son and loved him and taught him so much. My children and I get to reap the benefits of them pouring into Rich. "Thank you" will never be enough.
BTW...The day was rounded off with the first Razorback football game of the season. It was only fitting that they won the game...in honor of Rich's birthday of course!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Ruth...what an amazing woman. I feel as though there have been times in my life that I have walked in her shoes. Then there are other parts of her life that I could only dream of walking as she did. Such nobility, integrity...the true virtuous woman.
One thing covered in the study was the word "hesed" which in the Hebrew means kindness. Some of the questions in the study made me stop and remember (once again) the amount of hesed my hubby has shown me. According to the world, and the Old Testament, he could have/should have thrown me away. The way I trampled on his precious heart is sickening to me. But no matter what I said and did, that man loved me and showed me amazing kindness. Now I'm no fool. I know there were times he must have contemplated smothering me in the night or poisoning my soup. (Thankfully he was far too afraid of prison!)
He has never stopped showing me kindness. There are times I think he has a bad motive behind what he's saying or doing...when it turns out there is a really logical and selfless reason behind his actions and words. (I hate it when that happens.) He just never stops.
I'm so grateful for his love, compassion, kindness, gentleness...the list goes on. He's a great man....and he's MINE :)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Several years ago, one of the top 3 women in my life talked about us women wearing so many hats. She was talking about teaching a message on that topic. (I think she dreamed she was teaching it, and I'm believing that God-given dream is going to come to pass!) For some reason that dream has stuck with me all these years. She's so right. We run from one thing to the next, all the while changing our hat as we go. We can go from teacher to mother in 0.1 seconds. We go from employee to wife in one phone call. We switch from wife to friend and back to an employee all in a matter of minutes. We are the "Chief Cook and Bottle Washer". We are the self-elected plumber when the garbage disposal gets clogged. We are a counselor in ministry. We are notorious for balancing our relationships with everyone and then coming up dry in the end because we forgot about ourselves. We always take the burned toast.
But God made us this way. Proverbs 31 talks about a virtuous woman that truly wore many hats...and wore them well. Of course, balance must always come into play. God didn't call for us to run ourselves into the ground to the point that we become useless. He makes it clear that the only way we're going to keep going (effectively) and the only way we're going to be able to balance all of those hats is to stay tapped into Him. When I don't draw from Him on a regular basis, I find myself wanting to fight all of these responsibilities. I dream of moving away to a private island and living peacefully and leisurely with my family. Even a big 1,000 acre farm in the middle of nowhere seems appealing. At least then I could limit my hat wearing to simpler, less stressful hats. But I know that I wouldn't be fulfilled. Running away never works anyways. I would just be running into the arms of a whole other set of problems. There would be a hurricane on the private island or on the farm I would be required to milk a cow or something. If nothing else, I would be unfulfilled and fruitless if I only had one or two hats to wear. The "simple life" comes with a price tag too.
"the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied." Proverbs 13:4 (NIV)
I don't want to be an ordinary-average-
Lord...help me to balance it all.
Friday, June 25, 2010
I say all of that from one side of my mouth and sing his praises from the other side. This was the first time that he was packed BEFORE going to bed the night before we were to leave. But that's not even the best part. We were scheduled to leave our house and be in my parent's driveway at 5 a.m. He got up, made coffee, got ready, helped get the kids up and ready, helped get everything in the car and we pulled into my parents driveway at 4:50...that's right folks...EARLY! This is nothing short of miraculous. I was so stinkin' proud of him. This ended up being a vacation that broke many molds. Rich did an excellent job driving us around in a big, unfamiliar city. In the past he preferred to "drive" from the passenger seat. I worked hard at not trying to have every minute of every day scheduled and on an itinerary. I feel like I was pretty successful. We really threw ourselves into this vacation and we all had a great time. It helped us to realize the importance of family vacations. The memories that we made are priceless. I can't wait to fill up our family memory album with many more! Of course, if all of the other places we visit are as great as San Antonio, we won't have any problems making great memories.
San Antonio is a beautiful city. We so enjoyed the architecture, the culture, the FOOD...the list goes on. It was great for our family to nestle down into Richard's family heritage. San Antonio's population is made up largely of Mexican-Americans. Their culture certainly drives so many aspects of the city and the tourism trade. I loved every minute of it. We, of course, visited the Alamo. I kept up with the kids while Tori and Rich took a good tour of the buildings and displays. The parts I saw were pretty neat. We spent half of a day at the Market Square which reminded me of a market in Guadalajara. I had so much fun going through the booths. I ended up buying more there than I did at the outlet malls in San Marcos. I got a really cute top that I can't wait to wear! I also bought a few decorations for Richard's 40th birthday fiesta. I also went crazy in the famous, Mia Terria Mexican bakery. Oh My Word...I loved the pastries. I have found that the Mexican pastries as not as sweet as other pastries, so you can better enjoy the flavors of the ingredients and you don't have to drink a gallon of water afterwards.
We did a lot considering what little time we were in San Antonio. We visited the Riverwalk area which I dream of one day spending an evening or two down there with my man. So romantic...bcbc...We took a boat tour which I was convinced was going to be "the bomb" and the kids would rave about it. Uh, no. It was hot. We were smooshed onto a boat with about 40 other people and the kids didn't care one bit about it. Oh well, one little "fail" doesn't ruin the entire trip. We took the kids to see Toy Story 3 at the IMAX. That was great. The screen was 7 stories tall. Did you just hear what I said? 7 stories tall...it ended up being a great little movie and yes, I cried. Before we left the Riverwalk we also took part in a new dinosaur display. It was pretty good I guess.
Sea World...where do I begin? It turned out to be a breezy day and temperatures were only in the mid 90s. (Can't believe I just said that using the word "only" but I guess we had prepared ourselves for very hot and humid weather that it was a pleasant surprise to not be dealing with that. I believe it was the favor of the Lord because I had prayed for good/mild weather.) It wasn't too terribly crowded so lines were extremely short. The shows were great and I have to say that the best one was the new Azul show. The look on my son's face at Sea World was worth a million bucks. And what makes it even better is that Tori seemed to really enjoy it too. She's always been an animal lover, so she had great fun...even when we tricked her into getting onto one of the water rides. Mid day it got pretty hot, so while the rest of the group took shelter in one of the cafes, I took Reid and Ember to the water park. That was so relaxing and so worth the hassle of trying to put on a bathing suit in a skinny bathroom stall...in 98 degree weather...with a 5-year-old. The day ended well with Reid carrying out his 4-foot stuffed Shamu, slung over his shoulder. He had the biggest grin on his face. Just like a man that just reeled in a 20-pound bass. (SIDE NOTE: It is hard to get a 4-foot stuffed Orca whale home in a Honda Accord.)
Our "down" time was spent at the hotel pool or a local restaurant. We stayed in a great Staybridge Hotel that was nice and clean. They served a great complimentary breakfast buffet, laundry room and very nice courtyard/pool area. We were so pleased with our stay. And we were in a location where there was plenty of good restaurants around. I have to brag again on Pappassito's Cantina. That was the best Tex-Mex food I have ever put in my mouth! It got the stamp of approval from my dad and husband too...so it's official...they are the best. We also had some great bbq at The County Line BBQ. They had the biggest ribs I've ever seen and their homemade bread is Amazing. They also serve homemade cobbler and homemade ice cream. Wow! We had a couple of "fails" in some of the other eateries, but for the most part we were extremely pleased.
San Marcos was a big fat disappointment for me. But let me be fair here...for the first several hours we had men and children with us. Big fat mistake. That put a huge damper on things. We ended up (just me, Tori and my mother)having a couple of hours alone at the mall and those hours were productive. I don't know why we thought it would be a good idea to take the men and children. We were asking for it...weren't we!?
This pretty much sums up our trip. It was great. I can't wait to go back in September for business where I will be staying in a hotel on the Riverwalk. Too bad Rich isn't going. I don't know when our family will get to return to San Antonio, but until then...we'll hold that city close to our hearts.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Here we are...and June is baring down on us pretty hard. In just a couple of weeks my daughter makes the transition from Junior High to Senior High and she's dreaming of cars and turning the "magical age" of 16. My son will make it out of his first year of school far better than we could have imagined. PTL!!! Of course, he has to polish off the school year by breaking his arm on the playground! Little toot!
In just 4 short months, my hubby will turn 40...an age that isn't looking so bad to me now that I'm officially in my late 30s. (He and my young-buck friends remind me of this on a regular basis.)
The year's almost half over. What have I done so far? How much more do I want/need to do? I can't say that I'm disappointed in the strides I have made in every area of my life this year. I sometimes take two steps forward and then one back, but as Beth Moore points out...doesn't that mean that I'm still one step ahead? Yes it does. And I am optimistic about the strides I will make in the second half of the year...and I'm going to start that out with our first REAL family vacation in June...a much needed vacation...I can't wait. My hubby is even excited and that makes me smile a whole lot.
Reflection...it's good for the soul.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Take Reid for instance...
Super smart. Super loving. Super into whatever his little mind sets itself on. Super handsome (if I must say so myself). Super devoted. Super high maintenance at times but takes his tasks very serious. (I mean, a ringbearer has a HUGE job in a wedding. Therefore, a foot rub is much needed to enable his body to travel down the aisle while balancing a pillow, right!?)
And super giving...
I love how yesterday he was not satisfied with the wonderful Happy cologne Rich gave me for Mother's Day. As far as Reid was concerned, that was not from him because he had not physically made it or purchased it himself. (I really love that about him!) So he set out to make me a Mother's Day gift...much like the birthday present he made me just a couple of weeks ago. It's amazing what that little man can do with cardboard, crayons, tape, scissors and a stapler. :) Needless to say, I cherish all of his gifts.
Tori is pretty super herself. Super gorgeous (her tanning abilities and awesome hair make me very jealous). Super determined to be herself. Super funny. Super polite. Totally super in fashion. Super considerate of others. Super protective of her brother. Super smart.
Super at night...not so much in the mornings...
Yesterday morning was very special to me, because as soon as she woke up...she stumbled into the kitchen and gave me a hug (with a sincere smile on her face) and told me happy Mother's Day. Ya'll that's a big deal for that little woman. Smiles on Tori's face are few and far between before 9:00 am. The fact that she overcame her normal grumpy, don't-talk-to-me, I have stayin' -at-home-with-the-bay-bay-hair and crusties in my eyes self to honor me....TRULY honored me!
I honestly had a great Mother's Day yesterday. My sweet husband had a really busy week and the fact that he took the time to make sure that the kids had a gift for me was amazing. Bless his heart, he didn't have time to wrap it. So he gave it to me in the store bag and said that it was a special new wrapping. That if you would hold it a certain way, it would roll out for you and turn into a gift sack. (He had rolled the box up in the plastic sack...) Innovation is the name of the game when you run out of time and he scored an "A"!
Even though they batted a thousand this year for Mother's Day, there's something that is more special to me that takes place all year long. They call me "momma"... not "mother"...and believe me, there is a difference. "Momma" shows a true sense of love and honor for me. "Mother" simply means that they recognize they must show respect for my position over them. I don't want that...I want them to love ME. In the past, Tori's main name for me was Mother. I'm so thankful those days are pretty much over and that she calls me "Momma" most days.
Being a momma, rather than a mother means that I'm building Godly relationships with my kids. It doesn't mean I'm their best friend...just the one they run to when they need love, support, help, and supper. It means that the nurturing relationship I should have with them is in place and functioning for all parties involved. It means that I've broken generational curses...and that my friend...makes me weep tears of gladness. I pray that when I'm old, they will want to be with me...that I will be able to look upon them and know that I was a true momma to them...I started a legacy, a heritage that will be passed from generation to generation.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
On to more important things...
I feel like I've spent the past few days literally trying to climb out of the revelations of insecurity the Lord gave me during the Beth Moore simulcast. He cast His light upon my life and suddenly I could see the pit I'm in. I've been overwhelmed by the reality of it all and I've mourned the sheer existence of insecurity in my life. And the truth is, the depth of the insecurity is what has thrown me off. It goes way deeper than I thought. I'm just thankful that His revealing light cuts to the heart of the matter and NO darkness can exist in His light. I've been reminded of the following verse through this entire process...
"But this is a people robbed and plundered; they are all of them snared in holes and hidden in houses of bondage. They have become a prey, with no one to deliver them, a spoil, with no one to say, Restore them!" Isaiah 42:22
I used this verse at the last encounter I taught. These very words came out of my own stinkin' mouth! I hate it when something I've taught is shown to me again, and I'm not living it out (or in this case, I am living in it). HATE IT! And that, of course, tries to make me feel even more insecure. So sorry, there's no more room left on the merry-go-round of Shannon's insecurities...I just can't take that one on. (I'm learning!)
So here I go, climbing my way out of the pit of insecurity. The enemy has truly robbed and plundered my life and kept me in bondage through insecurity. But Praise God I do have a Restorer. There is Someone who has already delivered me from the enemy. Where all of the insecurities began, no longer matters. Why I've held on to them and allowed them to suffocate me spiritually, is of no concern to me at this point. I'm tired of "looking down" at the bottom of the pit and dwelling on what I've been living with...I'm now looking up at my Deliverer.
That's not to say that I haven't been mourning the sin of it all. When I realized just how deep insecurity has rooted itself in my life, I was overcome by a tidal wave of emotions that I've been trying to climb out of ever since. I've been in a state of mourning since last Saturday. I've felt myself draw inward. At times I've wanted to close my eyes and pretend it's not true. I've just been in flat-out denial. I've tried to reason it all away. I've had the "But, this...." conversations. (I still have one every once in a while.) I've cried (of course)! I've battled some depression. I've fought the urge to just quit...stamp a big "F" for failure on my forehead and stick me in the reject pile...no insecurity in that, right!? (Thank you Lord for Your still, small voice of reason and love that won't let me do that.)
I love what Isaiah 42:16 says, "And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness into light before them and make uneven places into a plain. These things I have determined to do [for them]; and I will not leave them forsaken."
Have I been blind? Yes. Have I been so prideful that I thought God would love others more than me? *gulp* Yes. Have I allowed relationships here on Earth dictate the way I perceive God's incomprehensible love? Yes. Will I ever be good enough? Not in my own strength an knowledge, but most definitely through the blood and power of Christ I
Dealing with sin is never fun or easy. I'm just so thankful that He's been there every step of the way...making those uneven places into plains...
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Have you ever noticed that disputes with your spouse seem to happen on the way to church? Maybe it's because that is about the only time that Rich and I are together in a small space with no means of escape. Of course, I also believe it's because the enemy wants us so distracted and funky by the time we get to church that we're not able to worship, minister and receive the Word like we need to. Well, a few weeks ago, on our way to life group, we had one of "those fights". You know what I'm talking about. The kind of fight where you look over at the other one and have a vision of yourself reaching over and wrapping your hands around their neck. Or when you sit there thinking, "God said you're a gift to me...He must have been in a dirty Santa kind of mood that day!" (Oh the things we will think, say and do when we get angry or frustrated!) Fortunately, we have both matured in our walks with the Lord and we both secretly knew that we had to shed light on this issue, so we both shared during prayer time. I was so thankful that when Rich and I got in the car to leave, we were able to rationally share our hearts and that we had asked for prayer and accountability at life group. Just knowing that the other person recognized the seriousness of the issue and shared during prayer time was a comfort and the walls began to fall! I love how the Lord operates even through our hard-headed, stiff-neck selves.
When I opened up and spilled my guts to the ladies, it was like opening up a dam and letting the flood waters go. Nearly every woman in the room started sharing their experiences. It was very obvious that our marriages needing some strengthening. I believe that will be the case until the day the Lord returns. No relationship can survive without investing time and effort. As the days went by I prayed for various couples as the Lord would bring them to my mind. Then the next life group rolled around and the discussions continued. I love how the Lord loves us so much that He puts us with people that will love us through the difficult times and will lovingly hold us accountable. (Those ladies did that for me. They were praying for me just like I was praying for them. During the week, they would ask me how things were going. They are so amazing!) So I immediately went home and pulled out the old, tried-and-true "The Power of a Praying Wife". I began to read a few pages and the words began to jump off the page at me. It really ministered to me and stirred up my spirit. I started sending out texts with different points from the book. I just had to share them...I couldn't keep this life-sustaining word to myself. As the day went on, I really felt that the Lord was drawing me to do a bible study on this book. So I began writing, reading, referencing and praying. Without knowing what I was already doing, our spirit-lead life group leader asked me about teaching this to our life group. hehehehe... Of course I accepted with a big 'ole "ABSOLUTELY"!!!
In the mean time...
So I purchased the Beth Moore "Esther" bible study CDs and workbook well over a year ago. I got about 3 full lessons under my belt and to be honest with you, it just wasn't doing much for me...so I quit. I put it up on a shelf, and I had often thought about how I needed to one day get back to it. I've learned that just because it didn't minister to me then, doesn't mean that it won't minister to me later. I wasn't ready for it. Maybe I couldn't appreciate it. Maybe my mind was on something else. Well, the Holy Spirit had me get those CDs back out this week and listen to them in the car. All I can say is WOW. From the first word out of her mouth, I have been eating it up like a cheesecake and Nutella crepe. (That one's for you Jenny!) Man, how it has ministered to me. I have found myself clapping, laughing, "amening" and talking to Beth while driving down the road. Thankfully I recognize my limitations so I do not try to take notes while driving down the road. Anyone that has ridden with me is giving a hearty "Praise God" right now.
If you have much experience with the Holy Spirit you know that He doesn't lead you to do something without there being a purpose behind it. There is a purpose for everything that He says and does and this time was no exception. It has amazed me how much the Esther bible study and the Power of a Praying Wife book are intertwining and giving me excellent material for my bible study. It's gorgeous! It's exciting! I can't stop talking about it...my poor friends. I start talking and I have to remind myself to take a breath. I
I'm going to leave us with a quote from Michael Omartian in "The Power of a Praying Wife". I believe if given the chance, our husbands would say the same. Our men need us, more than they may even realize. I'm Richard's helpmate. The question I have to face is, "am I really helping him or am I fighting against him?"
"I cannot imagine what my life would be without her [his wife Stormie Omartian]. It gives me comfort and security and also fulfills the mission the Lord has for us to pray for each other and bear one another's burdens. I can think of no better way to truly love your husband than by lifting him up in prayer on a consistent basis. It is a priceless gift that helps him experience God's blessings and grace."
Friday, April 9, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Lord, she's not a little girl anymore. She's grown into a young woman. How quickly time has flown by. What amazes me is how she has evolved into a young woman of God. You, Lord, have been so faithful to her....even when I wasn't. She hasn't always seen Your love in me, but Praise You for
Lord God, you know the plans that you have for this little man. You love him far deeper than I do...and that's saying a lot because he melts my heart. The world labels him as "special" but so do You...and I like Your definition of "special" way more! I continue to pray for You to heal his little mind...but don't change him, Lord. I love him just the way You created him. Where there was once fear and uncertainty for his future, there is now joy, hope and expectations. Thank You for calling him Your Own. Thank You that our Godly heritage will continue through him. Thank You that he is going to help reach a dying world for His soon-to-be Savior. Thank You for the changes You have made in me, through him. Thank You for every day that You give me with him. Show me how to guide him down the path that You want him to take. Continue to prompt me to teach him Your Word. May he always demand a lullabye about Jesus. Help me to teach him how to pray deeper. May he always see You in me!
Monday, March 29, 2010
This is for my one friend that is currently reading this blog....not sure if I'll ever share this "place" with anyone else....so comment away!
The Lord has been bringing my friendships to mind recently. I'm one of the blessed people in this world that can say that I still have close friendships with people from my childhood. Good quality friendships that only time and trials can build. It amazes me how the Lord knew that we would all be serving Him side-by-side even as adults. When I look back, I see how His hand guided so many situations that have all played a part in our friendship today. Of course, it also helps that those childhood friends passionately love the Lord. There really is something about a three-stranded chord!
But here's what's really cool...I have newer friends that are just as dear to me as those that I've had for 20 years (or more). I would like to think that in all of my "wisdom" I'm just really good at picking out quality friends...now that I'm nearly 40. But we both laugh at those words, don't we!? The truth is, the Lord has woven my life together with folks that I wouldn't have ever picked. People that I felt were too different than me and would not really like me...or vise versa. Now, I celebrate those differences. I cherish the diversity within my friendships. Each friend brings something different to the table that greatly enriches my life and makes me a better follower of Christ. I'm so much stronger because of my friendships. For instance:
1) My friend Melanie insists on using her car blinkers (usually way too early, but nonetheless she uses them consistently)...I now use mine more...not always...just more. Through her actions, she continues to remind me about being hospitable and loving my children right where they are. She is also my only friend that is right there with me in the mornings teasing and spraying her hair...let's hear it for big hair! See, she's keeping me in touch with my roots...ha...no pun intended! She's the only one I would ride around town with on a moped at 35-years-old. I've helped her move more than all of my friends combined. She has an incredible ability to decorate. She gives my husband a harder time than anyone else...that's worth a million bucks in my book! Most importantly, she's been through so much...and still she stands. She is someone I can call up (even though she's 4 hours away) and vent to without being condemned. She loves me right where I am. And oh how she loves my children. She takes an insterest in them and knows them like a loving aunt would. She serves her family so well...and she teaches me to do it better. She loves the Lord and her faithfulness to Him is evident in every area of her life. She wears so many hats as a woman...and she does it with style, grace, dignity and tremendous organization and energy. I long to have more of all of those in my life. Ministering together again is something I long for, so very much!
2) My friend Chelsea (where do I begin)...she challenges me to read old books by old authors and I now know who Oswald Chambers is, and I actually own a devotional based on one of his books. She also keeps me young by teaching me about technology and cool lingo that makes me look ridiculous when I try to use it. She's also made me very aware of the random comments I have a tendency to make. I now watch my words a lot more. She brings great passion into whatever it is that she loves. Her sense of style makes me smile because it's just SO RIGHT on her! She's fun. She's beautiful. She's funny. I love her belly laugh. She has gorgeous teeth. (I know...random...but just sayin') She loves good food...enough said. She's adventurous. She's more high maintenance than me! ha! I've watched her grow over the past few years and I love what I see! I love her solid knowledge of the Word. Words can not express how wonderful it was ministering with her at a ladies encounter retreat. I love the way she teaches, the way she worships and how she's the opposite of my style...which makes us a great team in ministry. She brings the "this is a fact" Word of God and I bring the Kleenex...Bring it on Lord...Bring it on!
3) My friend Tammy...if I ever had a blood sister, it would be her. The Lord's hand was truly in the midst of our friendship that started back in the second grade. We have been through a lot. She is one of the most forgiving and positive people I know. When you have Tammy as a friend, you have someone that will always be true to you and will always look for the good in you. You won't hear her talk about people...ever. She encourages me. She is so real. She keeps me young by keeping me laughing...it's always an adventure when you go somewhere with Tammy. She's a horrible driver. This has made me a little more aware of my own driving. :) She never gives up. She's the hardest working woman I know. She may be little, but she's tough as nails. If she can do it...so can I!! When she loves you, she loves you with her entire being. She has taught me how to be a devoted friend and she's helped me to look for the good in people. She's so stinkin' beautiful...always has been...and she doesn't even care...she doesn't work at it...it's just a natural beauty from the inside out. She's a tom-boy in a beautiful body. She has 4 kids and not a spot of cellulite on her body. She is a major veggie and fruit eater...she eats her salads dry...hence the "no cellulite on her body" comment. She has gorgeous skin which she simply washes with hand soap every night before bed. Whatever to ya'! She can really sing and I'm sad that she doesn't use that voice more. Oh, and she can play softball like nobody's business! I smile at the thought of ministering with her one day...
4) Last, but certainly not least...there is my new friend Jenny. How close we have become in such a short amount of time. I was certain she and I wouldn't "click"...but man I was wrong and I'm so glad I was. She is exactly the missing piece I've been needing for so long. God knew I needed her. I call her the "Voice of Wisdom" because that's exactly what she is...a voice of wisdom. She challenges me in the Word...but she doesn't just challenge me, she gets down in the trench with me and fights by my side until the challenge is completed. She calls me out, with compassion, when I'm wrong. And taking that correction is so easy because it is wrapped in love. She's the only friend that has asked me to whip out the Word and read it to her in the checkout line of Wal Mart. I love it! She walks out the Word in every area of her life...including her friendships. She uses reusable bags at the grocery store...she's teaching me to go another shade darker of green. She loves food and plans vacations around food...that's how my parents raised me...finally someone who understands that vacation is about food! She lives simply. She doesn't weigh herself down with stuff and requirements and unnecessary lifestyles. She's reminded me about what's really important in life. I'm a lot freer because of it. I don't find myself trying to live up to some self-imposed standard when I'm around her. She's beautiful. I love it when she sings. Even before we were friends I loved hearing her anointed voice. She sees and speaks with clarity...clarity that only the Holy Spirit can provide. She has an amazing ability to memorize the Word...that pushes me to work harder at memorizing the Word...and the best part is that she's right there helping me. I love ministering with her. The ladies encounter was truly amazing...there is no coincidence that we were brought together...I await (anxiously) to see how the Lord is going to use us next!
As I read through these, so many things that I say about one really apply to all the others. I'm just so very blessed. I pray that they can say the same about me being in their lives. I would hate to think that this is a one-way friendship. I'm just so much stronger and richer with these 4 particular ladies in my life. There are others that have played a role in getting me to where I am today. I'm thankful for them as well.