Thursday, December 30, 2010

On The Battlefield Of Life

Almost every day is a fight for something on this battlefield called life. Some days we get by without too many struggles. Those days are like cool drinks of water on a hot, balmy day. We try to enjoy them when they come along. What a blessing to sail through a day and be able to tuck ourselves into bed that night with a smile, sigh of contentment and a “thank you Father”. However, sometimes we mindlessly go through them without stopping to “smell the roses”. How selfish of us to carelessly take little to no notice of those easier days. What a blessing from the Father when the pavement seems to rise up to meet our feet. When we hit every green light. When we catch a mint-condition pair of designer shoes on the 75% off clearance rack. (Taking into consideration that we really need them and have the extra money to purchase them.) When our kids come home with 100% on their spelling test and no homework for that night. When our toddler finally decides it’s time to start using the potty. When the checkout line at Wal-Mart is short. When we receive a check in the mail because we overpaid a bill or when we find a considerable mistake in your checkbook that turns out to be in our favor. When our husband calls us just to say “I love you”. When the phone doesn’t ring off the hook and our email inbox isn’t filled to the brim with messages. When our sister-prickle seems to have left her quills at home that day. When that quick and easy recipe you got off of the Internet turns out to be a hit with your family. When you can remember your memory verse from last week and your quiet time with the Lord was amazing. When the barista at our favorite coffee shop makes our drink with absolute perfection. When it’s cold and rainy after work and you have a full tank of gas in your car that allows you to drive home without stopping at the gas station. Here’s the best one…you were able to fix your hair without any fuss and it looks great! Oh, and those designer shoes you bought on clearance go beautifully with the outfit you’re wearing that day.


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

Only Through the Power of the Holy Spirit


I'm the mother of a 6-year-old boy.  A boy that I waited almost 10 years, after the birth of my lovely daughter, to have.  I had no idea what I was missing until I held that big ole' boy for the first time.  Up until that first encounter I was afraid that I would not love him as much as I loved my Tori.  The second I saw his face, I was head-over-heels in love.  Since that time Mr. Reid has brought so much love, joy and adventure into our home.  He is full of witty insight, enthusiasm, hugs and energy.  He literally transformed the atmosphere of our home.  And the relationship I have with him is so very different from the special relationship I have with Tori...and I deeply cherish them both.

It's because I am the mother of a boy that I can't help but think of Mary during this time of year.  Just the thought of putting myself in her shoes makes me begin to hyperventilate.  We all know that it is really through the power of the Holy Spirit that we get this whole parenting thing right...but think about her.  Here she is in a culture that takes purity before marriage EXTREMELY serious (the way it should be, by the way).  She's young, innocent and has a promising future with a man named Joseph.  In her mind, I bet she was pleased because "this is the way it's supposed to be"...every girls dream.  Then everything changed.  It was the power of the Holy Spirit that caused life to form within her.  It was the power of the Holy Spirit that led Joseph to believe that she was still the pure and innocent woman he had asked to marry him.  And it was the power of the Holy Spirit that continued to confirm the holiness of this little one after his birth.

It would have to be the power of the Holy Spirit that sustained her throughout His life.  As she held Him and looked upon His face for the first time, the Holy Spirit was there with her.  Not only did she have the regular "new mom" emotions coursing through her veins, she also had the knowledge of the fact that she was looking upon the face of a holy child.  Little did she know what that would later mean.  Every parent has hopes and dreams for their children, but did she dare dream for Him?  She must have wanted to.  She couldn't help but get lost in His sweet eyes and in His smile.  Yes, she was a woman...therefore she was naturally inclined to dream and love and bond deeply with her child.  I can imagine that at the same time, the Holy Spirit gently whispered into her spirit thoughts of guidance and hope for this little one.  Yes, He was certainly special but His greatness was incomprehensible.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?  Mary could you have ever dreamed so large that you realized He would one day rule the nations?  Mary did you know that the child that you just delivered would soon deliver you?  No...Mary...bless your heart...you didn't know...but the power of the Holy Spirit kept that check in your spirit that something amazing would result from the birth of this child.  And it would be the power of the Holy Spirit that would carry you through the toughest time of your life.  It was the power of the Holy Spirit that helped you find Him when that little sucker got lost in the temple.  It was also His power that helped you not feel so foolish when you realized that it was you that was lost, not Him.  It was the Holy Spirit that helped guide your words when your other sons made fun of Him for believing He was God.  How many times did you pop them in the back of their heads for mocking Him? How often did you go in to say His bedtime prayers with Him and find yourself amazed, filled-up and blessed when He prayed?  And on the darkest day of your life, tt would only be through the Holy Spirit's power that you could possibly watch your son being crucified.  You were a woman, not a god.  No woman could bear that type of burden and sorrow without His intervention.  That was not what you had dreamed!  That was not the way it was supposed to be!  The images of Him helping Joseph in the carpenter shop were burned in your mind.  How bittersweet they must have become on that dark day.  How many times did you call out "WHY" to God?  How many times did you envision yourself attacking the Roman soldiers?  Did you want to pluck out the eyes of the priests?  How did you keep from running out to take His place?  Oh to hold Him just once more.  To wisk Him away to a hiding place and tend to His wounds.  How you must have wanted to protect Him.  The anguish must have been overwhelming.  Just as feelings of helplessness overtook your thoughts, did the Holy Spirit begin His perfect ministry within you?  I have no doubts that He did because that's just how wonderful and loving He is.  As the blood of your Son was washing away the sins of the world...your sins, Mary...the power of the Holy Spirit was with you.  And when your precious son arose from the grave 3 days later...it was only through the power of the Holy Spirit that confirmed what you were seeing and hearing.  It was then that He whispered to you His confirming word, "Yes Mary, this is the way it was supposed to be."


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When The Promise Comes To Pass


Last night it finally happened.  The thing that I have longed for for so long.  My hearts cry.  The deep-rooted structure of my existence.  The joy of my heart.  One of the top three reasons I'm alive.  The pay-off...the reward...The Promise. 

For so long I have fought, prayed, fasted, cried, yelled, made hard decisions, bit my tongue, given up only to jump right back in the next day and worked my fingers to the bone to break a generational curse.  A very unfair and unforgiving curse that, if left alone, would/has destroyed lives and relationships.  Not just any relationship.  The relationship between a mother and a daughter.

Everyone has a yearning to be accepted and close to their mother.  No matter how buried under hurt, anger, unforgiveness, pride...whatever the sin...that innate longing is there.  You can try to deny it, ignore it or explain it away...but it's there.  Oh how broken a life is when one believes they are not loved by their mother.  The Lord certainly loves those that feel abandoned, rejected and unloved, but those feelings of abandonment and rejection prevent us from accepting His love.  We tend to believe the lie of the enemy that says, "If your earthly mother doesn't accept and love you, why would a mighty God truly love you?" Oh the downward spiral that can/will come from those dark feelings and beliefs.  You can try to separate yourself from them, but you ultimately wear them like a smothering, heavy, wet, wool coat on a hot summer day. 

Unfortunately, those beliefs often stem from a mother that doesn't know how to effectively love their child because their only example of how to be a mother is the twisted one shown to them by their mother.  I like the John Mayer song that says, "Girls become lovers that turn into mothers, so mothers be good to your daughters too."  That song reminds me that I'm teaching my own daughter how to be a woman-of-God, friend, wife and mother.  Any hurts, unhealthy characteristics or generational curses that I have battled must stop with me.

I'm blessed that I have a mother who identified curses passed down through our bloodlines and began breaking them.  Her determination to battle the enemy and break those curses has made it easier for me to make the decision to continue her work.  Yes, I believe that she can begin breaking those curses, but I have to choose to continue walking in freedom of that curse.  Sin crouches at our door.  It is always ready to pounce on us.  Therefore, a generational curse continuously crouches at our doors...waiting, hoping, scheming for when we let our guard down.  Many times I have let me guard down.  Too many times I chose to walk in the curse.  Sometimes I didn't realize I was doing it until it was too late...carelessness will get you every time.  We have to be so intentional with our lives, our thoughts, our words, our actions.

It is when we become intentional that we begin to see God's promises fulfilled in our lives.  The promise that if we raise our children the right way, when they are older they will not depart from it.  The promise that a Godly heritage will be passed down for a thousand generations.  The promise of prosperity, love, peace, joy, protection, hope, etc. when we love and obey the Lord.  Then there are the personal promises that are just for you and yours.  Those sweet promises that He whispers in your ear when you sit at His feet.  Oh the sweetness of the day when the Lord fulfills His promise to you.  Oh the tears of relief and joy that flow. 

At last, the fervent prayers of this righteous woman have been answered.  The curse has been broken.  My sweet daughter proclaimed, "I am thankful for the close relationship I have with my Mom and Dad."  She knows that I love her!  She is the apple of my eye.  My beautiful little Sweet Pea.  My lovely Song Bird.  A wonderful combination of me and Richard.  A very loving and caring young woman with a heart of gold.  A daughter of the Most High King. 

Now...I guard that promise...for the enemy wants to destroy it.  Unfortunately for him, I am a lot like David.  I have pursued what is rightfully mine.  Not only have I taken back my relationship with Tori, I'm here to collect a lot more. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Very Random Comments

Has it really been over a month since I was here last?  Wow, time is flying by way too fast.  We are quickly approaching the holidays..and I'm just now starting my Christmas Music Concerto.  I'm way behind!

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

"There Is No Other I Love More Than You"

I always depend upon my husband to introduce me to new music.  I don't always like what he likes, but more times than not I find myself stealing the new CD's from his truck and putting them in my car.  (Ssshhhh...don't tell him...) Not too long ago I got ahold of his Deluge CD.  Great stuff...I highly recommend their "Unshakable" CD! 

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

An Honorable 40th Birthday

We are a really fun-loving family that thrives off of joking with one another.  In our family, if we aren't picking on you there's a problem.  However, when I started thinking about Rich's 40th birthday I just couldn't stand the thought of doing the typical over-the-hill, black balloons and RIP tombstone 40th birthday party.  That was not the message I wanted to send to my sweet husband.  His life is far from over.  In fact, as I stated in his invitation, his life is just getting started.  I wanted his party to be a celebration that mirrored what God was saying about him.  I wanted everyone there to see how far he has come over his 40 years.  I wanted everyone there to recognize that "they ain't seen nothin' yet"!  The Lord is growing him, blessing him, and promoting him.  His musical abilities are still increasing.  His wisdom and knowledge continue to blow me away.  His preaching abilities are ever growing.  The anointing of the Holy Spirit continues to flow down over him.  His love for his children holds steady and he continues to refine his skills at being a Godly husband. 

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

Grateful

I've been doing Kelly Minter's Ruth bible study with some really cool chics.  I'm really enjoying it.  Everyone brings their own thoughts and personalities to the study, and the teacher in me hangs on every word they say looking for a point or two that could be used in "growing" a message.

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

So Many Hats




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-guy gal.  I want my life to mean something.  I want to make a difference in the world.  I want to use up everything the Lord has given me.  I don't want to arrive at the throne room on Judgment Day with my pockets full of spiritual gifts and blessings that I should have used here on Earth.  "But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required." Luke 12:48 (NLT)  The Lord has clearly entrusted me with much and continues to up the ante.  So I'll just buy a bigger hat rack and continue to do what I know is right and good.


Lord...help me to balance it all.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vacation 2010

Operation "San Antonio or Bust" 2010 started out as a typical Roberts trip. I threw myself into organizing and packing days weeks before we left. Rich mentioned to one of my friends that I had some OCD going on. (He doesn't know that she told off on him! He gets caught a lot more than he cares to admit.) I came to the conclusion that just maybe he's right he's absolutely right. I suppose that when I wrote each of our names on a post-it note and hung them on the wall over our assigned suitcase I crossed over into the OCD realm. Maybe there most definitely was a part of me that wanted to make it well known (every time you walked into the front door) who was packed and who wasn't. You see, I'm one of those people that believes in packing as early as possible to insure that I don't forget anything. I honestly don't know why I work so hard at it...there's a Wal-Mart in any town/city we may choose to visit, and we're going to be visiting that Wal-Mart regardless of my efforts because....Rich waits until 15 minutes before we're leaving to pack. This always results in him forgetting at least two items, which makes a trip to Wal-Mart necessary. Did he forget something in San Antonio? Of course. We made a trip to the store to purchase hair mousse and lotion and batteries and...you get the picture.

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.

San Antonio 2010

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Things I've Learned Since I've Been Married

  Year 1:
A bulb of garlic is not the same thing as a clove of garlic.

Year 2:
One more dog does NOT equal one big happy family.

Year 3:
Never sit in front of an open bathtub faucet, shining a flashlight into the hole, while your husband goes out to turn on the water...he's setting you up to get very wet, very fast!

Year 4:
Nyquil quiets a sick husband.

Year 5:
The smell of garlic does not come out of drapery...see Year 1.

Year 6:
Do not purchase a new home at full asking price when the seller shows you some crystals that need to be put in the toilet every month to keep them cleared out.

Year 7:
A plumber charges a lot of money to come out and pull 10 feet of tree roots from your pipes...see Year 6.

Year 8:
Life is NOT like a box of chocolates...you get out of it exactly what you put into it.

Year 9:
Insanity is doing the same thing over expecting a different result...see Year 2.

Year 10:
Pregnancy is harder after 30...and it is possible to make a meal out of a bottle of Tums.

Year 11:
It is possible to intensely love two kids at the same time.

Year 12:
1 Jealous Kid + 1 Sick Baby + 2 Overwhelmed Parents = A multitude of problems

Year 13:
A college course can teach you a lot, but it's the life-experiences that you have during
those college days that teach you the most important things.

Year 14:
Teaching the Word of God is a tremendous responsibility, the love and support
of your husband is crucial for walking effectively in your calling. 

Year 15:
Keep friends that are younger and wittier than you and
they'll constantly remind you that they're younger and wittier.


Year 16:
Let someone hurt your daughter and it will take every angel in Heaven
 to restrain the "Momma Bear" in you.  Let your son be given a diagnosis no one understands and it will take every person around you to help you keep your eyes on Jesus.
Hurting and sick children will either
grow your faith or destroy your life.

Year 17:
God is excellent at weaving people together for purposes far greater than
they can imagine.
Marriage is a lot of work, but when you finally get on the same page
...it's one of the greatest blessings ever given to us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ties That Bind



A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Going into full-fledge spiritual warfare and entering the holy presence of God with someone ties you to them for life.  Your relationship is never the same after it.  It takes you deeper in your relationship.  It makes you smile a little broader when you think of that person.  In your heart, they will always hold a special place. 

In February 2010, the Lord took the Three Amigos to a much higher level of friendship.  Jenny (a.k.a. Ned), Chelsea (a.k.a. Lucky) and Shannon (a.k.a. Dusty) dove off into something far bigger than us.  We lead a women's encounter that totally changed our lives, as well as the ladies that attended.  Experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit in such a profound way with them was a first for me.  I had encountered His power and presences many times, but not with these two lovely ladies at my side.  Chel and Jenny had ministered together many times before, but this time they let me come out and play too.  It was cool. 

We prayed together, we loved together, we laughed together, we worked VERY WELL together (at least that's my perspective...Jenny and Chel may say something different when I'm not in the room, but I'm going to move forward with my version...ignorance is bliss!)  We were unified and very sensitive to what the Lord wanted us to do.  We had each others' backs when needed.  We covered one another in prayer.  We took up each others slack.  We stepped in when needed.  We encouraged one another.  We loved on one another.  We held each other up when the power of the Holy Spirit was so strong it was all we could do to not hit the floor.  We all taught the Word of God together.  We were a true team.

I refuse to believe that all of this was a coincidence.  I also refuse to believe that such a powerful team was put together for only this one event.  This triple-braided cord was woven by the Lord's hand.  When we look back on how the Lord brought us all together over time, you can't deny that it was intentional.  This alliance was created for purposes beyond our imaginations.  We have been called to declare the Good News and to see the broken restored and the lost...found.  Until our next event, we will grow together in the Lord.  We will help each other along in our walks.  We will love on one another.  We will encourage one another.  We will pray for one another.  We will remember our first ministry opportunity with great fondness.  However, we will not cling to it.  We will move forward.  We will let go of it and grab ahold of the future.

I look forward to the adventure that lies ahead.  All for one and one for all!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Parenting


Today is not a blog where I feel some great divine revelation from God.  I don't have a neat little scripture to add...although I know there are many that apply.  Today...I just AM...  This is a day when I am reminded that parenthood is tough.  Doing the right thing is sometimes hard...and lonley.  I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time "counting it all joy".  The struggles that we parents face with our kids today can sometimes feel like an F5 hurricane.  You know, where nothing is safe and the storm engulfs everything it encounters.  Jesus, will you just stand up and say "Peace Be Still", because I'm too afraid to even stand up.

Will I ever be able to do enough?  Will I ever be good enough?  Will they even care about me in 10 years?  Where is the line where you push good kids into being bad kids?  (Because according to them that line has already been crossed!)  I don't want to be popular...just loved.  That's all they want too..so what exactly does that look like?  Oh yeah, the Love chapter...that's right...

Now to overcome the frustration and loneliness.  The feeling that you're the only parent on the planet that enforces rules.  The only parent that isn't a "Disney Channel Parent".  You know, the parents that are always wrong and bow down to their kids and are made out to be dumb.  It's also hard being the disciplinarian in the house.  It's just plain ole' hard. AND one size never fits all.  Each kid requires a different approach.  The very things we celebrate about them are the things that throw a kink in our parenting styles.

I sit back and think though...I have really good kids and a great husband.  I also have family and friends that are a great support system...  HOW do some parents feel and cope that don't have all that I have?  Particularly the power and relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Man, the burden on them must be tremendous.  If I feel this heavy and overwhelmed, how do they feel?

Lord, help all of us that are trying so hard to raise up a child in the way they should go.  We need you...may Your Godly heritage continue on from generation to generation...

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 2010...Really?

I can't believe we are already looking at the middle of May 2010.  Remember when we all thought we would be flying around in spaceships by 2010 because it sounded so futuristic?  Heavens, we couldn't even get past the thought of 1999...

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

Being a Momma...Rather Than a Mother

Sometimes I still can't believe I'm a mother. Just yesterday I was telling my mother that in my mind I'm still really young. Too young to be in charge of anything...especially two kiddos. And not just any kiddos..we're talking about Tori and Reid. I know, every momma thinks their kids are super special, but I have to tell you that mine truly are! :)



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

Peace of God



...Peace to all men and women on earth who please him. (Luke 2:13)

Peace...I love it.  The peace and quiet of nature.  The peace of lying beside your sleeping child in the comforts of a blessed home.  The peace of wearing high-quality earphones in the house of a musician.  The peace of finding a totally awesome pair of comfortable, designer shoes on 75% off clearance when you have birthday money to spend.  The peace of finishing an on-going project.  The peace of a good marriage.  The peace of the Lord! 

I haven't always been able to rest in it though.  The great thing is that I've been able to work through insecurities and other sins in my life that has helped me to rest more in the peace that only comes from the Father.  His peace has always been a constant, it's just been my decision and ability to walk in it that has been a little choppy.  I remember going through my final two years of college.  It was one of the most difficult times of my life...new baby, nursing, no sleep, no money, daughter who had a hard time "appreciating" our scaled-down lifestyle, a husband that worked himself into exhaustion trying to keep the finances afloat, studying that only seemed to work out between the hours of midnight and 3 a.m.(I refer you back to the new baby part), and the overall expectation that I put on myself to be the perfect student, mother, church member, wife, etc...yet still there was always the peace of God in my life.  Never once did I doubt that, despite all of the difficulties, I was exactly where I was supposed to be and God was pleased with what I was doing.  I also know what it's like to make decisions without the peace of God while knowing the entire time that He was everything but pleased.

His peace truly is beyond all earthly understanding.  It's sweet.  It's calming.  It's liberating.  It's what keeps me going when the world gets crazy.  It keeps me sane when there seems to be no answer to a problem...or when that answer is delayed far longer than I think it should be.  It's absence let's me know something is wrong...like when I go into Sam Moon's :).  When I don't have the peace of God, it prompts me to start investigating where the problem lies.

Here's what's absolutely ridiculous on my part...

With this house situation issue debacle opportunity...I have a peace that everything is going to be fine.  The Lord is going to provide the right house at the right time for us. (Yet I continue to remind Him where we are...as though He's forgotten!)  Like I said, there's a peace within me.  I even have a peace in me that we're just fine even though my mother-in-law had to move in with us sooner than we all expected.  We planned to be in a larger home before that happened...of course, the Lord wasn't surprised.  However, there are times in the midst of this on-going opportunity that I have been tempted to jump out of the peace I'm walking in.  The enemy tries on a daily basis to steal my joy and my peace.  I check realtor.com everyday...sometimes twice a day.  Yet, my heart is for one place...one home...that I don't believe I'll ever see on realtor.com.  The dumb thing is that I get let-down when I don't see any new houses on the market.  This spirits of desperation and depression try to overcome me...sometimes I step out of God's peace and over into the darkness of the "it's never going to happen" lie.  Why?  Why do I listen to the lies of the enemy?  Paul, I'm feelin' ya' with the whole, "why do I do the things I hate to do?"  I cannot deny that I possess a peace about our home, so I hate when I fall for the enemies plot to get me over on his side.  Quit being double-minded, Shannon...quit being double-minded!

So I sigh and laugh at myself as I'm typing this.  I have a GREAT life.  I have a home that would be a palace to so many people in this world.  I have so much to be thankful for.  I love that we are not financially bound up in debt, mortgages, medical bills, etc.  We are able to bless other people at the drop of a hat.  I don't ever want to get to the point where we can't bless others.  You want to talk about peace...now there's you some peace.  The peace of the Lord will absolutely saturate you when you're serving and loving others...so I'm going to continue to sit back in perfect peace and enjoy this day...I will choose to see the blessings within the situation.  I will walk in the peace and know that every storm and situation is completely under His control.  Do what you need to do Lord, and I'll just sit here in the joy of Your peace and actively wait for Your instructions...



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Climbing Out of a Revelation

First, I'm really mad that something happened to the ultra-elegant, glass-paned door background I had on here.  I guess they discontinued it...dog gone it Google!  That was a perfect background for my blog title.

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 will. am.

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

Bible Studies and Lessons Learned



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 hope that I'm able believe that I'm going to transfer this excitement to the ladies in our group.  I pray that this study is going to light a fire within them like it has me.  I have so far to go in becoming the Proverbs 31 woman.  But I'm going to get there...I'm learning MANY lessons along the way, and I can't wait to share them with others.

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

Anger Belongs in the Garbage


Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
James 1:19-20 (MSG)



Anger...anyone else struggle with this?  "Anyone"...ha...meaning do "you" struggle with it?  Of course "you" do!  Well, I've been a little angry today off-and-on for a while now.  I did get pretty angry today and knew in my spirit that I had to immediately deal with it.  I started off at www.biblegateway.com just plugging in the word "anger" to see what the Word had to say about the subject.  (As though I didn't already know, but I needed a good reminder.)  The first few pages showed scripture after scripture that talked about God's anger.  "See, even God gets angry" was my first response...."good for me" I thought, "I've got a right to be angry.  He got so angry He left them, cursed them, punished them!"  

Well...I only made it to Numbers 14:18 before He smacked me in the back of the head with this scripture, "The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion..."  Man! I can't help but recognize how patient He is with my stubborn self.  He surely is abounding with love for me and is always quick to forgive my sins and rebellion.  Okay, so my anger has started simmering down a bit.  So I continue on...

After reading about not letting the sun go down on your anger and that anger sits in the laps of fools, I came across James 1:19-20 (in the Message bible, of course).  I love the way we are given an "order of operations" in the first part of this scripture.  First and foremost, LISTEN.  Second, be slow to speak. Meaning I need to process what I've heard and seen before I say a stinkin' word.  Then, let anger fall behind in irregular/scattered intervals.  Today I listened...but that's as far as I got...I started dropping the ball on step 2 and by step 3 I totally crashed and burned.  I went down in a flaming ball of anger.

I press on into verse 20...

My number one goal is to grow in righteousness and holiness.  This year, more than ever, my spirit has been crying out for more righteousness...more holiness.  But verse 20 clearly points out that the righteousness I seek is not going to grow out of my anger.  How counterproductive anger is in our lives!  I know that if I let it stay it will kill everything within me...all the ground I have conquered spiritually will be lost to a very unfair and unjust enemy. 

"...So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage..."  This anger within me stinks.  It's dead and rotting.  It's deadly in itself...it's cancerous evil.  Those are two words that we as humans do not like to hear..."evil" and "cancer".  Both of those words bring up a sense of fear, as they should.  Because as creations of God, we inherently recognize the seriousness of those two things...whether we've surrendered our lives to God or not.  We know that both only produce pain and death and they are not "of the Lord".  So James tells us to throw that anger in the garbage....it's trash...it's not worth keeping.

I immediately thought of Oscar the Grouch...hence the picture.  Oscar lives in the garbage, he feeds on the garbage...therefore his heart, mind and mouth reflect garbage.  Not only do I need to throw my anger in the garbage can...I also need to make sure I don't jump in there with it and start "feasting" on it again...because...here comes the great part...

"...In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life."

God wants to landscape me with His Word....making me a beautiful, life-giving garden of salvation.  I live with a landscaper.  I know the amazing things they can do with a simple plot of land.  They can take it from an abandoned, barren, heap of rocks to a gorgeous, well-designed piece of eye candy.  A place where people can relax and enjoy their surroundings.  Well, everytime I get angry I'm taking a rock or a piece of trash and throwing it right in the middle of God's beautiful garden.  Rocks cause damage.  They break things. They stop water and Son light from getting to the plants.  Therefore, they cause death.  Trash stinks.  It attracts rodents and bugs.  It will eventually turn the garden into a dump.  I hate it when people litter...I should remind myself of that the next time I litter God's garden with anger...or other sin.

Now...my anger is gone...I can now go home...right after I go get that piece of trash out of God's garden...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Forgotten God


Dear Francis Chan,

My toes are no longer suitable for flip flops this summer because your book has stepped all over them!  As I finish up the book and move on to "Crazy Love" I can't help but wonder if I'll have any toes left at all.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with my pedicurist, counselor, I mean, the Holy Spirit.

This book has been great for me.  This past year I decided I was going to dive deeper into knowing Him...I'm talking really knowing Him.  Not just for the sake of teaching about Him, but for my own personal relationship with Him.  I finally read all the way through "Good Morning Holy Spirit" and then moved straight into "Forgotten God" and those two books have really beefed-up my relationship with Him.

One thing Francis discussed was how we spend so much time focusing on the "grand plan" that God has for us someday that we totally miss what we need to do today.  You know what I'm talking about...those divine appointments in the grocery store, serving at church even when it means sweeping the floors, showing random acts of kindness to people you don't know or believe don't "deserve it", taking your sick life group member a pot of soup after working all day, taking the time to call and pray for someone that has been on your heart all day, stepping out into a ministry that intimidates you or doesn't seem to be "setting you up" for the grander plan that you have in mind...He pointed out that we often hide behind the "one day God's going to show me the bigger plan He has for my life" and so we end up sitting on the sidelines doing nothing.  Therefore, we never achieve the "bigger plan" that God has because He can't trust us. 

If He can't trust us with little...He definitely cannot give us much.  Luke 12:48 reminds us that, "Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!"  If I'm not willing to serve the people in my church by sweeping the floor or feeding them when they're sick, then what makes me think the Lord can trust me enough to place me over those very same people?  That concept is simply Leadership 101...even the world knows that principle!

As my wise old husband says, "it's a process".  We've got to go through the daily process of being led by the Spirit at work, home, church, and yes even Wal-Mart in order for the foundation to be laid that the Lord will use to build His overall plan upon in our lives.  Trying to go straight into the Grand Plan without laying the foundation is like trying to building a house without a foundation...what happens when you do that?  The house falls.  Just the same, the calling on our life is only as strong as our spiritual foundation.  I believe it was Christine Cane that said, "What's on you will destroy you if what's in you can't sustain you."  (Something like that!)

Father, I want to keep on, keeping on!  Let what I perceive as "small" responsibilities and steps become very big within my spirit! 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beauty and Boldness


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 second buzillion chances!  She's beautiful, from the inside out...not by chance, but for a very specific purpose.  You've created her just as You want her.  You've given her a heart that still amazes me every time she reveals it.  Her wit, charm, beauty and humility help make who she is in You.  Lord, thank you for giving her the mind and will to be different.  Thank you that she's determined to love those that no one else wants to love.  Thank you for the boldness you have put within her.  Thank you for her beautiful voice.  Thank you that we can laugh and cry together like friends.  She is a joy ... She is amazing ... Best of all, she is Yours!

Hardcore Outdoorsman!


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

Friends In High Places


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.