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 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 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 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'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 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'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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Can But Maybe You Can't...So Why Don't I?

I read blogs of God-fearing women that have lost children of all ages. I am on the prayer team of C.O.L.E.S Foundation that supports families and individuals (particularly children) with life-threatening illnesses and injuries. I have read their gut-wrenching words and cried thousands of tears for them. I have virtually and spiritually walked with them the final steps of their child's earthly journey. I have watched their reactions (at least the ones they're willing to share online, which I'm postitive are not even half of what they are truly going through) and witnessed them crying out for just 5 more minutes with their child or to even see the face and know their unborn child. I have close friends that have lost their babies before they ever had a chance to really know them. Oh what a void it leaves in their hearts. Thus far, I've not had to endure the sorrow and burden that these parents have bore.
I love my children. They continue to teach me so much with every day that goes by. I look at them sometimes in true amazement at how they've grown so quickly. My real amazement is that despite my failures as a parent, they have both turned out to be really good kids. The Lord has been so faithful to us. I look at the young woman of God that Tori is developing into. She and I are a lot alike and so you can imagine how we bump heads. The very things that bug me in her are the mirror image of the things I struggle with in my own life. There's nothing like God using your children to show you a reflection of yourself! But you know, the things that cause friction between us are the very things that will make her the leader she's called to be. It's my job to help smooth those things out and tame them down a bit. But overall, I'm glad she's the way she is. As for Reid, that little stinker is the complete opposite of his sister. And boy has he taught me a lot too. He has definitely taught me more patience. I don't always walk in it...but I'm much better than I used to be. It amazes me how I didn't want anymore children after Tori. I held out for 10 years proclaiming that I was done. Then, once I was pregnant with him I sat in his nursery floor in the middle of the night crying, because I was scared I would not be able to love him as much as I loved Tori. I even expressed concern to my nurse when I was in labor. One look at his little face totally engulfed me in unquenchable love. From that moment on, the journey we have taken with him has been adventerous to say the least...and I wouldn't trade that journey for the world.
As I said before, God has taught me much over the years that I've been raising my children. He's been so faithful to us. He's provided everything we've needed and continues to do so today. He has breathed His life into us in the times that we felt we had nothing left within us. He has given us wisdom and discernment in situations that were bigger than us. He's shown us how to be better parents and given us hearts that are looking more and more like His. His Word has been a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. It has encouraged us when we were in the valley of life. It has reminded us of the victory and promises that are already ours and our childrens'. The list goes on and on. So what's my point?
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to get with some great women and play chocolate...and laugh. In the midst of this event, the Lord sat an unexpected opportunity in front of me...literally. I almost missed out on the opportunity, and I'm so thankful that I was obedient to the Holy Spirit. He showed me a lot that night. I expected to learn something because you can't get with these women and not learn another amazing thing about the Lord. (That's the great thing about having Godly friends that take the Word seriously and understand that "iron sharpens iron".) On top of all of that, I received some healing in an area that had been covered up for a long time. That's always a win-win. However, the neat thing is that one of the ladies there had a tremendous passion for more children...particularly through adoption. This lady knew her stuff, and I sat in amazement as she shared some of her knowledge with us. Passion for this oozed from her pores and she didn't know 90% of the people at that table but she didn't was her heart and she layed it out there for all to see. She still to this day has no idea what it was doing to me on the inside.
Now the Lord placed adoption in my heart back when I was a teenager. That hasn't left me. It has been buried with sin and other junk at times...but it's always been there. When I finally agreed to have another child (10 years after Tori) I wanted to adopt....not physically have another one. But Richard wasn't in agreement and neither was the rest of my I gave in (for all the right reasons) and got pregnant with Reid. Totally the will of the Lord for me to have doubts! But I've continued to believe that adoption was/is somewhere in our future. However, Rich doesn't have the same conviction as I do. I've seen a glimmer of hope a time or two but nothing that would have me calling up China for a baby. I've prayed a little here and there for the Lord to line up our hearts with His in the area of more children. There have been times I've longed to have another baby. My poor husband falls out in the floor everytime he hears me say that.
We are blessed in many ways. We physically can have another child...there are those who can't. We have the means to adopt or have another child...there are those who don't. We have relatively healthy children...there are those who don't and can't have them. I can carry a child to term...there are those who can't. I have resources and family that can help provide a well-rounded environment for a child...there are those who don't. Through prayer, I can see the Lord align mine and Richard's heart with His when it comes to more children...some can't. I can spend more quality time with my children...many can't. I can provide for my children...many can't. I can teach my children more of the Word than I do...some can't. I can love on my children any time I want to...many would love just 5 more minutes with their kids...but they can't. I can pray down the Heavens over my children and see changes in their lives...some can't. I can...but many can' why don't I?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Reform

Should there really be any surprise within me about the new healthcare reform bill passing? Maybe a part of me wanted to live in blissful denial that our government would not really pass the thing. Now that it's actually happened...I have a new battle to fight...the battle against a spirit of fear.

Fear that our nation has taken a giant step in the direction of socialism. Fear that my son will be denied timely and much needed medication or treatment in the future. Fear that when we are old, we'll be pushed to the side by our own government. Fear of what the world will look like for my children. Fear that more babies will be murdered every day. Fear that my health insurance premiums and medical services are about to skyrocket, totally rocking our family's financial stability. Fear that the American people will continue to listen to the ridiculous deceit that flows freely from our nation's government.

That's what the enemy wants me to stew about. That's his way of taking me hostage and causing a trainwreck in my spiritual life. Fear is not from the's from a lying enemy that has no truth within him. Romans 8:15 tells us, "For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a fearful slave. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him , "Abba, Father."

I'm a woman of God...Daughter of the Most High King...I cannot serve two masters. (Matthew 6:24) So I have to choose to not walk in slavery to fear, but in the freedom that has been given to us as children of God. I have to rest in the fact that none of the decisions that our government makes are a surprise to God. The best part is that ultimately, He's in control. My Dad...My Protector...My King...The Lover of my in control. Isaiah 9:6 is a great reminder of this...

Isaiah 9:6 "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace." Now "the government shall be upon His shoulder" is speaking of the Heavenly government that exists outside of the earthly and corrupt government of this world. Oh, what a perfect and peaceful government it is! I also know that my God dictates what happens on this earth. Yes, we have freedom of choice...and we all see the death that results from this freedom. However, Romans 8:28 says, "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose."

It all boils down to the fact that God has a plan. I don't have to fear. There will be bumps in the road. There will be things I don't like. Evil will continue to get worse. But the Word promises us that the Lord will work ALL THINGS for the good for those who love Him. So I've just got to keep my eye on the prize. The prize being my relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I have to obey Him and listen to His voice. I just have to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me, counsel me, teach me, protect me, and intercede for me. I just have to be everything He's calling me to be...and He'll take care of the rest. He's got a plan and no decision in Washington D.C. is going to change, destroy or threaten His plan. His plan is untouchable. His plan rests on the shoulders of His Son, Jesus Christ. His plan involves a government that we (this side of Heaven) cannot fathom. But on day soon, my friends, we will see His government be put into place...and oh what a happy day that will be!

Peace to all...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ephesians 4

In Ephesians 4, Paul is writing a letter to the church. (Seems like that's all that man ever did...babysit the hard-headed, stiff-neck church.) He is talking about walking a life that is worthy of our calling to live a holy and righteous life. Some of the things that stand out to me in this chapter is:
  • Verse 2: be humble, unselfish and gentle; be patient and love people right where they are - right through all of their faults. I fail miserably at this. I'm better than I used to be, but I've still got a lot of work to do. And WHO AM I that I would lay the hammer down on someone out of anger or walk away from a relationship when they seem "jacked up"? I know there are plenty of folks that should have and sometimes still want to throw their hands up in the air on me.
  • Verse 3: shows me that peace and unity don't come easily and naturally outside of the Holy Spirit. He tells us to guard the harmony and oneness. This means that they are the very things the enemy attacks in hopes of stopping the Body of Christ. Guarding it also means that I should treasure it and understand that it is valuable. You don't guard your trash, do you? No, you guard your valuables. After all, a house (or body) divided against itself will fall. The next several verses help support this.
  • Verse 11: lists the gifts that the Lord gives. He appoints them to certain men(women). (Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) ALL of these people are needed in order for the saints to be fully equipped and perfected. Ther are all equally important. The word says that there in no honor for a prophet in his own home...why is that? Why are we so shallow that we can't give honor to the people that God has obviously given these gifts to?
  • Verse 13: is a great reminder that Christ is the standard that we are to measure ourselves against. Everything and everyone else falls short in stature. So why do I still sometimes try to measure my worth, giftings and abilities against what I see in someone else?
  • Verse 14: reminds me that I must be a woman of the Word so I will know truth (truth that can only come thru Christ, since He is the Truth) and not fall for wayward teachings. These can even come from within the Body of Christ. I've got to be a woman of the Word!
  • Verse 16: shows me that we are all part of a Body that is so intricately women together that every aspect of me (that God gave me) fits within His plan for His Body. Wow - ponder that for a second! In Him, there's no such thing as accidents or coincidence. He did not create or condone my sin, but He sure uses it to grow and mature the Body of Christ! He takes that which was intended for death and destruction and uses it for life and restoration! Can Buddah do that? Oh wait, he's dead!
  • Verse 18: shows that the world's alienation from Him and their ignorance of Him is all a choice. It is willful blindness and self-banishing. They find it far easier to live through their fleshly desires and ignore God.
  • Verse 20-22: reminds us that if we've really accepted Him as the Truth, we are to no longer live that type of life.
  • Verse 23: Constantly, let me say it again...Constantly renew your mind and put on the new holy and righteous nature of God. "Put on" tells me it doesn't come naturally. It's a choice and requires action on my part.
  • Verse 25-28: talks about sins: lying, anger, stealing - don't give the enemy a foothold into your life by participating in these sins. I use the "participating" because it is our choice to operate in these sins...
  • Verse 29: "worthless talk" stood out to me. Well, what does God consider to be "of worth"? The scripture goes on to tell us - "But only such speech as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others." Ouch! My speech is often careless and worthless...yuck!
  • Verse 30: This struck me how in this laundry list of sins, "do not grieve the Holy Spirit" shows up. Yes, these sins obviously grieve the Spirit BUT when we grieve Him by putting Him in a box and limiting His power and access in lives...when we ignore is sin as well!