Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In Memory of a Sweet, Special Girl

This is our Gracie. We found out a few weeks ago that she had cancer and wouldn't be with us much longer. We had to take her to the vet this morning before she began to really suffer.

Jimmy rescued her as a puppy and when he went through his divorce, I believe she rescued him right back. She was the biggest chihuahua ever! She wanted so badly to be a lap dog! As you can see...not happenin'! But she would just lean into you trying to get you to love on her. She was a sweetheart until the very end.

So if you read this, please say a prayer for us, especially my sweet Jimmy. He is having a hard time. We are drawing comfort in knowing that He cares about our hurts and that if He watches over the sparrow, then He surely must our beloved pets.

"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God." Luke 12:6 NIV

The words of two comedians seem to resonate...In the infamous words of Bob Hope, "Thanks for the memories," and in the infamous words of George Burns, "Say goodnight, Gracie."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morn

Shhh...everyone else is still sleeping, but I just had to say,

"Welcome, Christ child! Thank You for coming to a little manger made from wood that You created. Thank You for coming to a manger that would lead You to a cross - made from wood that You created. Thank You for leaving a throne where You heard the praises of angels crying, 'Holy, Holy, Holy' and coming to hear the oohs and aahs of some amazed shepherds. Thank You for coming as a sweet little baby so that You could become my conquering King.
Thank You for turning the darkness of this heart into a light to shine for You.
This heart is all I have to give You this Christmas morn. Thank You for saying it is enough. Please be blessed by my simple adoration. Give me a Mary heart in all situations - Luke 1:38 'Be it unto me according to Your word.'
And I ask you this morning for the peace and comfort that You came to give in double portion for those who have a new empty place at their Christmas celebration this year.
I praise You, Lord. 'For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' Isaiah 9:6 I love that a child was born, but that the Son was given. You have always been and will forever be!! I kneel in humble awe of You. - Merry Christmas to my Christ. Amen"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Time passes, things change, children grow...but He hasn't

A 20 year tradition is over. I've literally cried over this. I know I'm such a sap, but Santa has visited my house for 20 years!! I've been thinking that it was over, but I have new thought- more on that later.

So earlier I was throwing myself one world-class size pity party. Santa not coming. How can this be? He has come every Christmas for 20 years. (I know I'm so stinking old and my girls are too far apart, but hey, it wasn't MY plan!) So in the midst of my little meltdown of feeling sorry for myself, I started thinking about the whole reason we celebrate Christmas and then I felt very ashamed...So I began to talk to the Lord about my selfishness and sorry attitude and how horrible I was to have ever celebrated the season with anything other than Christ, but I didn't get very far. As we were talking, just the two of us in the Mom Mobile - I had one foot over the line into self-bashing mode- He helped me realize that it was OKAY to be sad about Santa- that it was okay to mourn the passing of childhood and the magic of it - and that I haven't pushed Him out of the season or the celebration. Before it was over, He had helped me to realize that He has become such a part of my everyday life that there is rarely ANYTHING that He does not have a major role in. WHOA! I mean seriously, WHOA!! This isn't the same girl of 24 trying to create magic for my little one. I know Truth and Truth has set me free. Pity turned to praise pretty darn quick. He is amazing. Truly the one who brings comfort in sorrow. He encouraged me and brought me the peace that He came to give so long ago. He is my great High Priest, and He is still my Emmanuel.

So as for Santa. Well, new traditions may start, but he is still coming to my house. Those who don't believe, won't receive! Simple as that. No more talk of him not being real. He may not be who McKenna and Chelsea thought he was, but the love and magic remains in the heart of the one who made that magic happen for them for all these years. And besides, my sweet Jesus told me it was okay. A little magic and a whole lot of praise - I think it is the perfect formula for a great Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Survey -
I answered this on the Living Proof Ministry's blog the other day and thought I would repost here. Leave me a comment and answer the survey and then you can copy and paste it into your blog and see what your friends say. Kind of fun!

What is your...?
1. Preference in Christmas tree? Fresh or Fake?
Fresh is my preference, but fake is my reality
2. Favorite Ornament - this one is exceptionally hard for me - HUGE collection, and I have a new one from my sweet Siesta Malinda that I will forever love and cherish, but I think if I had to pick one it would be one of my newer ones - of Linus standing on the stage...push the button...he says, "lights, please." The light comes on the stage and he tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.
3. Favorite Christmas Song - Easy one...My man singing the Dennis Jernigan song, "Hallelujah! Christ Is Born"...I think seeing him sing it in church was the first time I felt my heart in my throat over that guy! Crying over the reality of my Jesus and weak-kneed over my guy...honestly, does it get any better?
4. Favorite Tradition - Making the ugliest Christmas cookies you have ever seen with my girls. Delicious...but hideously ugly. What's up with all that dough spreading when you bake anyway? Or maybe opening one present on Christmas is a tradition my mother always had with us. I can't wait to open a Heavenly present with her someday -what joy it will be!
5. Gift Received - too many to name...probably ALL of them the first year Jimmy and I were married. I had never had so many before...I felt VERY special!
6. Favorite Meal - Ham, Turkey, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry sauce, Green-Bean casserole/Broccoli-Rice casserole Broccoli & Cauliflower salad..Oh, and the cranberry sauce...canned, please. Pleeaassee do NOT make me eat a real cranberry. ewwww...
7. Favorite Christmas Cookie - Those really ugly ones I mentioned.
8. Favorite Place to Be - Home on Christmas morning with the girls and Jimmy.
9. Favorite Christmas Memory - The magic in McKenna's face when she was younger and "heard" Santa and the reindeer on the roof, thanks to my nieces and Jimmy.
10. Favorite Christmas Movie - Tie-Elf for fun, Miracle on 34th Street (new one) for sentiment.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

SHHHHH...It's a secret!!

Here is the one big surprise I was able to pull off for my man this year. We have never done a picture with all of his girls, so we snuck off to do this. Within a week or two we found out our precious Gracie has cancer so our very sweet friend Toby came to our house, took some shots of her and cropped her in. And he captured McKenna perfectly!! Aren't my sweet girls pretty? I know I'm biased!!

The watermark is still on these proofs, but you get the idea.

Oh... and it was after we finished this shenanigan that the girls snuck back out to Toby's and had more done!!

I had him change the Scripture on this one to Ruth 1:16

Chelsea hates this one...Silly girl...she looks like a model!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Lies...we go way beyond secrets!!

Is this picture not adorable? My girls at their silly, funny best!! But there is a story...
The other night I am quite sure I was trapped in a bad Abbott and Costello routine. I had to go to Wichita Falls to do a few errands, and so McKenna stayed with her sister. Good...I could continue the Wii hunt that I have been on. And quite by accident - VICTORY!!! I found one! I sent Chelsea a text and told her so we could both celebrate.
I had also picked up a cobbler to fix for my board meeting the next day, so when I picked McKenna up I said I needed to drop it off at the office. She immediately said, "I'll do it for you." Now I'm not saying my child is not sweet and helpful, but the thought of her wanting to unlock my office and walk into a dark building just didn't make a whole lot of sense. And then, "AHA" - I think to myself..."that little rat knows there is a Wii in the back of this van and she wants to get a look at it!!" So I immediately said that I would do it; that it was sooo cold and windy I didn't want her out in the night air with her cold. So then she asked, "Are you just going to take it straight to the kitchen and come right back out?" Yes, I assure her...then feeling somewhat remorseful for my previous bad thoughts, I added, "Are you afraid to stay out here by yourself?" She tells me she is a little, but that she'll be okay. She then asks for my cell phone...I assume to play games. Then, another "AHA" she wanted me to stay in the office for a second so she can get a glimpse in the back of the van before I come out.

Well...I'll just show her...I pick up the cobbler which I had slid into one of those giant freezer bags that you buy to keep things cold in...and then I picked up the bag with the Wii and hid it behind it then carried them both in. I was feeling pretty smug when I unlocked the door then hooked a right into my office instead of going straight to the kitchen. I drop the Wii just inside my door, then out of habit flip the light on, then head to the kitchen. McKenna in the meantime has seen my office light come on. When I walk back into my office to turn the light off I see four little pictures taped to my computer screen. Oh my goodness! Pictures of my girls! I get a little closer look, but then realize that she would see the light in my office and get suspicious. As I look toward the front door of the building, sure enough, I see her headed for the door. AAAGGGGHHHH!!! I have to get the Wii covered up!!!! So I hurry and go grab the freezer bag and throw that over the Wii. When she gets inside the door she made a comment about me seeing the picture so she was going to go ahead and give me one of my Christmas presents and takes me to my secretary's desk...who apparently had been in cahoots with the girls to give me a surprise...It just wasn't supposed to happen until the next morning....That is the picture posted above. She had been in a panic out in the van calling her sister in near hysterics because I was about to see the surprise. Tooo stinkin' funny, ya'll. Oh, and one other little tidbit...that picture was taken after the girls and I had snuck out to have pictures taken for Jimmy for Christmas. We had to lie then, too. See what I mean...we go way beyond secrets!
Needless to say I ADORE the picture! But between her trying to hide the picture and me trying to hide the Wii...Who's on first!?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Okay, I have a confession. I haven't been very thankful lately...and I've been in a pretty crummy mood. I could go into all the reasons why life has been a little stinky lately, but that really isn't the point. Honestly, I've done that enough. And that dirty dog, the devil, has been replaying it all for me again and again. Sorry sucker. He's been stealing my joy. No wonder Scripture calls him a thief and a liar.

So, this morning, Thanksgiving morn, I woke up and spent time being grateful to the Giver of all good gifts. First I confessed to my Sweet Savior that I have not been looking much like Him lately, especially on the inside...even if I tried to make the outside look and act right. I'm glad He sees that yucky stuff on the inside, too, though. I didn't have to worry about Him being surprised or shocked when I told Him what a jerk I've been lately. Not with what came out of my mouth, but with the running dialogue in my head.

Then, I thanked Him one by one for my sweet blessings.

For sisters- for Kitty, Penny and Amy - all unique, all special, all mine. And praise God, we are all still here. Seems we've suffered too much loss in our lives the last few years, so I thanked Him for keeping my dad, my step mom, my sisters and our families in tact for the holidays.

For jobs - I'm just grateful that Jimmy and I know that we will be getting paychecks. Not everyone has that assurance, so I prayed for those who don't.

For my country - I thanked Him for allowing me to live in a country where His Word can still be taught and for those who defend it. For young men like Cody Hanson and Mike Brown and the countless others like them who sacrifice their Thanksgiving with family so that we can all celebrate our blessings and our freedom, and so that others might know the same privilege.

For my staff - One by one, name by name, family by family. Each one is precious to me...and make such a difference in the lives of children. I prayed blessings on them and expressed my gratitude for the humbling opportunity to serve them.

For my board - Eight great guys with families and lives outside of the schools they serve. I prayed for each of their families and thanked God for the humbling experience of working along side them and learning so much from them.

For my home - small by any standard, but also cozy and easier to clean than if it were doubled in size! I thanked Him for comfortable surroundings, sentimental mementos, irreplaceable memories.

For my in-laws- A mother and father, sister and nieces, who are as dear to me as if we shared the same blood. So grateful for those precious relationships. I thanked Him for allowing me this incredible privilege and blessing.

For my church, our youth, our ladies so faithful to studying His Word - My brothers and sisters in Christ who have supported me through some of my darkest times and celebrated with me in times of joy. I cannot imagine who I would be without that body of believers. Who would have ever thought God could use this wretch in a shared ministry with my husband? Wow. I thanked Him for using His church to change my life and for allowing me to serve alongside so many that look like Him to me.

For friends - Too many to name here, but in particular, Melissa who is doing so much in service to children, Gina who has been with me through thick and thin for over 30 years, Diana - my listening and advising mentor, Casey - the one I desire to mentor in some small way, who I laugh with and grow with. These three dear ones probably know more of my junk than they really want to, and I thanked God that they love me anyway and I prayed for each of them in their unique situations.

For my beautiful girls - I thanked Him for choosing - of all the women of the world - to be Chelsea and McKenna's Mom. I thanked Him for guidance, for laughter, for tender moments, for love that is beyond me, for two distinct individuals with such unique attributes and characteristics and a bond that runs so deep.

For my husband - I thanked Him for writing a love story beyond this princess's dreams and for allowing Jimmy and I to be the exclamation point at the end of the story!!!...for giving me a spiritual leader for my girls and I, for a man who appreciates and loves me - and isn't afraid or ashamed to show it, for a guy that makes me laugh, and a love that continues to grow. Oh, and I thanked Him that Jimmy is really good with Christmas lights and lawn work - I know that made Him smile.

As you can imagine, by the time I went through that and many other things, like Siesta and blogworld friends, an infallible Word that sustains me, venti peppermint mochas, and learning from the likes of Beth Moore and Max Lucado, and on and on and on, I realized a couple of things. I was sorrier than before that I had been having such a bad attitude, but I was also ticked off that I had allowed Satan to steal my joy...and my strength.

So the Word for the day...Nehemiah 8:10 "Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sitting in an airport...

I'm sitting in airport in San Antonio, TX. It is kind of cool because there is a long walkway/hallway that goes from security check in to the gates and there are rocking chairs along the walls. Nice respite from the yucky chairs at the gate.

I'm always fascinated when I fly. I love to people watch and in this high tech age in which we live it is always interesting to overhear other cell phone conversations. No I'm not eavesdropping...they just talk loud. So far today, I've overheard someone giving a directive to an office manager to drop the hammer on a receptionist who is really botching things up; someone making a business appointment with "Joe Don" Somethingorother (must be a Southern boy, don't ya think!?); a lady heading to Iraq - not military, but private contractor of some kind; a mom connecting with her child - oh, that was me - never mind that one; ANOTHER mom checking in with her babysitter; and the list goes on. Nothing earth shattering or even very funny or interesting for that matter, but I have watched literally hundreds of people either coming or going and I think, "Wow. Where are ALL these people going?" It's kind of like when I take off and am stuck in traffic or at a mall with a bajillion people and I think, "Don't you people ever WORK?" Then I realize I'm not either. Oops. Still strange though. Well, have to go board now. I have more conversations to overhear!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keeping it Real

I was recently hit square between the eyes with an accusation that hasn't come my way in a very long time...But it still makes me sick at my stomach, and hot - you know the "even my ears are hot" hot. The words weren't really not slung, but the concept was heavy in the air. "YOU ARE A FAKE." Oh, I had plenty to say, plenty to use to defend myself against the accusations of being unsupportive, unkind, unprofessional. But the defense would have been given somewhat in a sound proof booth because the accuser had long since stopped listening. And the outcome of the situation would have stayed the same. So why give it a second thought?

Why not just let it roll off my back? That is what my colleagues in similar positions would advise me to do I feel sure. Why not just consider the words in context of the situation and in relation to the history of this person? Well, because SHE really wasn't the issue. The issue with her was resolved.

The reason I couldn't just "blow it off"? It's because it is one of my greatest fears. Again, not really in the context of the situation in which it was accused, but rather as a general statement of life. Duplicity. Hypocrisy. Fake. Imposter. Being one thing one place and a different thing somewhere else. Dear God, please don't let it be so.

If there is one thing I crave desperately is consistency. I want to model for my precious daughters what it is to be a woman of God in every aspect of their lives. If I am not who I claim to be with them then I might as well not be at all...yes, at all. Motherhood is such an incredibly challenging role, isn't it? I think my sweet girls can live with me failing. They know I'm human. But what if I am a Godly woman in the outside world, but then I close my front door and become someone else. What we have is a potential foothold, a sin. Can you say 'trainwreck'?

So I am allowing some time for some reflection and correction if needed. I'm so grateful to serve a God who doesn't require us to have it all together to come to the foot of the Cross. I want to have a teachable heart and even in opposition be open to hear from the Holy Spirit.

One of the things the Lord has directed me to is one of my all-time favorite poems, IF by Rudyard Kipling. I hope it encourages you. Keeping it real-

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a day! God has been so very good...not that He ever ISN'T - It's just that today I desperately needed His encouragement. Did you read that wrenching entry at about 4 o'clock this morning? I woke up at 1:30. So, if this entry makes NO will understand why! Anyway, not only was I awake, I was desperate. I have been listening/watching too much media. I guess I got caught up in all the campaign hype. And in reality, this is definitely serious business. But, seriously, I think I turned into Chicken Little in the middle of the night.

The previous entry was just me being raw before the Lord. But let me share with you how He answered my prayers for encouragement and strength.

All day, He spoke encouragement and peace into my spirit. Innumerable songs praised His Sovereignty. When I began to dwell on the thoughts that disturb me so about this election (no-not race or economics, but the things that clearly fly in the face of God's Word), I would pray and feel the peace of His immediate presence.
"Darlin', I'm still on My throne, you know." "
"Guess what? I'm not surprised, nor am I worried."
"You need to let Me be God. Okay, Darlin'?"
"This is just one event, darlin', on a Kingdom calendar you can't see...But it's okay. I see it. I even planned it."
"I know you are afraid. But I'm here with you...I promise."
"I am the Ancient of Days. ; ) I KNOW how everyone voted...and the promptings of their hearts that you don't know."
"Darlin', you are my child. Do you think I would let harm come to you? Let's do a little review, sweet girl." And we did.

(Did you notice how often He calls me darlin'? He is so tender. )

Do you get the point of that constant dialogue? He was working overtime with me today. And somehow in the midst of keeping the sun in the sky and the earth on its axis, He spent A LOT of time with me today. I know this is very me focused, but that's exactly what I needed today from Him. I hope you have those days, too. Aren't they sweet? When even though it's a busy day with all of life's distractions, He is RIGHT THERE every time you turn around. May you find peace today, my precious child of God. You are going to be okay. No matter what happens in this election. I know. I know you will be more than just okay...Shhh...don't tell, but I've read the last chapter. AND...I've spent some time with the Author. He told me how it all ends. It's good, trust me.

Prayer for our Nation

Dearest Father,
I know it is no accident that I am up at 3 a.m. on election day. My heart is heavy, Father, and You know it is because I am listening to the cacophony of the media regarding this historic election day. How can this be? This "Nation under God"? How can we seem so ready to plunge down a path so contrary to Your Word, Your teachings, Your Love? God, I don't feel very eloquent or humorous or cute right now. Just desperate. When it all comes down, God, may You have the victory this day.

Father, I confess to You my own sin of selfishness in times of abundance and in times of scarcity. Help me, Father, to understand my duty to serve those less fortunate than I. Help me to fulfill that role rather than expecting my governement to do that. Change me, Father, again and again to become more like the precious Christ. Forgive me for not being bolder in my proclamation that we must cling to You and You alone. I am but one small voice crying out for forgiveness for this nation, God, but I know You hear all the others who join with me in saying that all life is a gift from You and only You. Forgive us for denying that truth with our treatment of the unborn.

I know others, even those who are my brothers and sisters in Christ do not agree with me. May You have mercy on them and reveal Your truth to them. I remember, Father, being able to defend such an unrighteous act. Thank You for showing me the Truth. Please continue to fill me with Your truth and humility in understanding that we aren't all on the same timetable of growth. And, Father, allow me eyes to see every situation, every issue through Your eyes, not my own. For even in these things that I believe You have impressed upon my heart, God, if I am wrong, show me.

Lord God, I pray for the voters of this nation who are seeking hope in promises of men rather than the truth of Your Word. I pray Your blessings on this land and on her leaders...whomever they may be at the end of this day, not because we are deserving, but because we need You so incredibly. May Your Spirit fall afresh today. God, You are mighty to save. Come, have Your way this day so that Your victory can be proclaimed and all glory given to You.

Thank You , Father, for Your presence, for meeting me here, in my time of need. I needed an infusion of courage and hope. Thank You for hearing my cry and renewing my hope and strength once more. I will wait upon You , my Sovereign King. Thank You, thank You. I love You.
In the Most Precious Name of my Jesus,

Monday, October 20, 2008

Therapy...sort of

I just got home a little bit ago from therapy...not anything too serious like physical or psycho, but the REEAAALLLLYY good know, girl therapy. I just had my hair done.

Now I know that any sweet ones who have virgin hair won't get this, but it really is the best. So much cheaper than those dr. types- not that you shouldn't seek them out if you need them - it's just that I love to have some "laugh therapy".

Now Diana, aka. miracle worker, takes such good care of my locks, but she also is very good for my soul. We have a blast in Jesus together. And she is very kind, too. I know she has to wonder why she has to keep creating that magical concoction when she knows I am actually blond to the brain stem so all those roots should just grow out blond anyway. But, ya know, she has never once said it out loud to me. And somehow, she always manages to tell me a story that makes me laugh so hard I always want to double check and make sure she's not actually trying to CUT my hair at that point. It really is a disaster in the making, but I can't help it...she makes me laugh. I love that about her. Oh, we have both seen our fair share of life junk, but we are also both keenly aware of His incredible gifts...Like girl therapy. I hope, sweet sisters, you have someone to laugh with...and cry with when you need to...girl therapy is a necessity of life, don't you think?

Thank you , Beth Moore and Living Proof

This is from a post on the Lifeway site celebrating 10 years of Living Proof Live events with Beth Moore. The offer was to leave a comment of thanks. Well, of course, a simple thank you would never do for me!...

This box they have me typing in seems awfully small for the overflow of feelings I have. When I was 32 years old, shortly after I had my second daughter, my oldest daughter, Chelsea, had just given her heart to Christ. I had become absolutely dumb-struck by the incredible responsibility and privelege I had for my daughters' discipling. I was completely unprepared. I was saved at an early age but never really discipled and to say I made some lousy choices wouldn't even begin to describe my wreck of a life...But God. He encircled me with a church that reached out to the girls and I and loved us like crazy. And my first big step was doing Experiencing God. Huge change for me. So what does all that have to do with the question posed here...

Then came my first Beth Moore study. I learned so much. And your two girls were just older versions of my own. I was inpired and encouraged. Thank you.

I remember completing two Beth Moore studies before going to my first LPL event. And unlike one of my Siestas who had it right from the beginning, I had to guard myself from worshipping the messenger instead of the only real Message! Yes, I became an official Beth Moore groupie in Moore, Ok (pretty appropriate, huh?). One of the first Christian music CD's I bought was the LPL CD from Travis - oh my, it might have even been on cassette back in the day! What a praise team!! No words will ever do them justice. Thank you. I've completed all but I think one of Beth's studies, and after either leading (who would have ever dreamed - oh, yeah...Him.) or attending them, I had to buy the trade book, too. I didn't want the truth she taught me to slip away. Thank you.

And, Beth, I remember somehow you were booked to speak in...of all places...Seymour, TX, which is a little over an hour's drive from my house. Which, of course, all Texans understand is "just up the road." I think that was before you really hit it "big"... ;)I attended that event and cried from the start to the finish and healed more than you can imagine. You see, just a week or so before, my husband of 16 years had told me he was finished. I needed you and even more I needed Him...and you lead me to Him. That was in 2000. Thank you.

And this summer I got to be a part of the Siesta Fiesta. What fun and what joy!! How far we have come!!! Thank you.

Beth, I remember so vividly you talking about the two people who inspired you to be hungry and love God's Word and to love Jesus with abandon. Well, my dear sweet sister, YOU have been that mentor for me. Even if from afar, even if from words on a page, even if from a message from a video. No other single teacher has had a greater impact on me than you. And I pray that the influence I now pass on is one that is absolutely glorifying to Jesus alone. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will continue to pray for you, your precious family, and your team.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Get Thee Behind Me

Get thee behind me, you deceiver of old.
You have no authority, no power, no control.
Go back from whence you came.
For Jesus lives in THIS place.

O you have trapped and even ensnared me before.
But Jesus reigns supreme here now and forevermore.
You have nothing to show for your decietful ways-
For all that you set to destroy me with
Are now under His control.
And He is using those despicable things
To bring Hope, Faith and Love
To those in such desperate need.
Because now they can believe,
"If He can use one such as she, surely He can me!”

Crawl on your belly and leave me at once.
For haven’t you noticed that my stumblings
Are fewer and further between?
But we both know it is not me. Oh, no.
My Strength and my Confidence are not my own, of course you see-
But of the One you believe in and fear
And of the One I adore.

You with your beauty and pride are no match for Him.
You lose. Yes, you lose. Your crushing will come.
For His love, His mercy, His grace
Are beyond your ability to battle.
Perhaps you enjoy small victories of sin in this fallen world.
But make no mistake, you slithering snake, your Foe is the victor.

Truth is His name; Love He proclaims
And freedom for the captured soul that you have failed to destroy.
Get thee behind me, you deceiver of old.
For there is room for only One – the Lover of my soul.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fleeting moments

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed by God's goodness? I mean like "fall on your face" overwhelmed. To be honest, while it happens for me fairly often, it probably doesn't happen nearly often enough. Not because His goodness isn't always overwhelming, but because I don't seem to notice as often as I should. Anybody else get that?

Let's take today for example. I was sitting at dinner with my family and observing the interaction of my two sweet daughters. And then BAMMMMM!!! - I suddenly was so overwhelmed by the fact that they have been entrusted to me or more specifically to each other. That God would somehow deem me worthy of this kind of joy. Sweet moments of joy that are fleeting at best because they are so tied to that precise moment.

You know the kind. That momentary rush of color at sunset that seems to vanish with the ray of sunlight that it rode into your vision on. That momentary "warm all over" feeling when you watch your man across the room as he laughs his unmistakable laugh and you realize God meant him for you - and he is. That momentary silence before dawn when the nestling under the covers brings a comfort of sleep unmatched by the other five hours you've had.

Sweet joy. One nineteen, finding her wings, but still needing her mom. The other eleven, innocence embodied, also still needing her mom. But the bond between them is not me. No, it is a soul connection designed by God for His glory. I'm just so humbled that He has allowed me to be the witness to it. The observer and the nuturer of it. But the relationship they have will carry them far beyond my watch; prayerfully far beyond my life.

But for that fleeting moment, I glimpsed a bit of heaven. Two smiles in a restaurant full of people that spoke volumes and was meant only for the other. Sweet relationship that will sustain, support, and even remind or reprimand at times. But oh, for the privilege of watching it bloom and blossom. And then the moment was gone. The conversation moved on. Others, me included, entered the moment and moved it past their concentration on each other.

But that moment, that fleeting moment I was overwhelmed by His goodness. Isn't He good?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Awed by His Presence

As the wife of a youth minister, you pray for young people to really "get it." Well, it's happening! Praise God!

I can't even seem to express what is happening. We don't have a huge church so the numbers might seem almost laughable to those in larger cities. We live in a very small town, but serve one of the larger churches. By larger, we are talking real excitement to see 300 in worship on a Sunday!
As for our kids, to say we have been in a drought would be an understatement. We have been starving for some youth to step up and take some leadership, and we have been praying for our young men in particular. Two years ago, we graduated a large group but the strength of the group was primarily (not completely) with the girls. All of last year, we kept waiting for something and feeling at times like maybe it was time for us to move on...maybe He is finished using us here.

Last spring, we battled Satan like never before over our Disciple Now the point I was saying we need to just cancel the whole thing. Kids were so busy with other things, I just didn't seeing the time having much impact. I'm so glad He hasn't put me in charge. He so knows I can be an idiot!

It was incredibly attended and God began to really stir the waters. As a result of that weekend a group of high school boys began an accountability group - the Skyhawks. Their first meeting was in my teeny living room (my whole house is about 1200 sq ft!!). There were 17 of them. I think they were stacked 2 high! I stood in my kitchen listening to these guys not just read scripture but really DISCUSS it. What it meant. Why He used those particular words. What does it mean in practical terms? I was so stunned and blown away. I cried and praised Him for the work He was doing.

Then we attended a Student Life Camp and God continued to teach, stretch, and grow our kids. Worship began to take on a new feel even in the summer.

So tonight was the first "back in the groove" Wednesday after the hectic summer. We always sing a few songs and then Jimmy brings the message, but tonight some of the Skyhawks wanted to share. We literally were packed from wall to wall. I saw kids worhsip in Spirit and in Truth - which meant different things for different ones - Yep, even in a Baptist church! ;) Two young men shared their favorite verses and their applications. Two other young men talked about worship and why we worship...He is sooooo worthy! and finally, one young man actually brought a message from Joshua 1:1-9 (some of my favorite scriptures!) and helped the kids see how to appy those to their mission field - their school.

I was completely blown away. Whoever reads this...Be encouraged!!! God is moving among the young!! The next generation will do incredible things in the name of Jesus! We had 6th -12th graders tonight who are being used by our Mighty God! I sat at the back of the room and couldn't stop crying.

One of those young men who shared, we have had in our group since he was 11 years old in the 6th grade...kept to himself, never said anything, actually came because his parents made him, I think. I couldn't have been more proud ( in a Godly sense!) of him. He spoke confidently and passionately about why Jesus is worth our worship and praise and that praising openly and honestly is okay. Whoa. That is an incredible turn-around. Who is THAT kid? Then it hit me.

I sat and pondered what I was seeing and thought, "God, you didn't just do this in the past 6 months." And I thought of the conversation I had with my own daughter to encourage and support her through a class with a particularly aggressive evolution-supporting professor. We truly are wonderfully and fearfully made. Each of those young men who shared and each young person that was there had an appointment on their divine calendar with their God on this night and in this way. And that appointment was set before they ever drew a breath. So was mine. He has spent their whole life preparing them, and me, for that moment. Common truth, I know, but I love it when "old" truths keep being delivered with such power and with new applications! I'm always stunned by it.

Hallelujah!!! He knew this was coming and in our times of discouragement, how often have I held onto the words God spoke to Joshua? (see previous post...David and I both think Joshua was pretty awesome!) I almost let Satan have back some ground that we had gained. But not only am I kicking him off my property, but I'm not giving him an inch back of the ground we have claimed and conquered!

I'm not sure where He will have us head next, but I can't wait for the ride! Please, Father, show us YOUR glory!!! Be praised and be glorified! Amen.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This is my first attempt at this. I have no idea who, if anyone, will ever read this, so I am going to write this as much as possible in a way I would approach my friends or ladies in one of our Bible study groups. Here goes!

The Siesta Fiesta stressful just to get ready to be gone the weekend before school didn't have the money to needed to be at church with my Sunday School needed to be at home helping my baby girl get ready for junior needed to be with my man workin' with the youth on Sunday night. So hard to be gone that weekend...SO WORTH IT!!!

I was able to attend a Beth Moore Living Proof Live event in San Antonio this past weekend. As you can see above, the enemy really didn't want me to go. And if he couldn't keep me from going, he wanted to steal the Word God had for me. But, praise the Lord, he failed miserably! Once again my Jesus prevailed!

So many wonderful things came from this weekend. I was able to travel with four of the most precious women. My older sister and my niece have both done a couple of Beth's Bible studies in the past. My cousin had heard of Beth Moore, but not done any of her studies, and my very special friend who is my fellow road warrior in Bible study...she organizes and plans them, I teach/facilitate. We make a great team if I do say so myself! ;) We've been called Beth Moore groupies, but just so you know, we HAVE done a few other studies NOT written by Beth.

Back to the weekend...Casey, my friend, and I are part of a blog community known as Siesta's, who all LOVE Beth, her work, and her family. As part of that community, we were able to be a part of some special events, like some a reserved seating section and a question and answer session with Beth and her daughters...more on that later.

The weekend was filled with lots of laughter and fun, but the most amazing thing about the time was the time spent with the Father. There were approximately 9,995 women and 5 poor guys in the Alamodome, but the place was completely filled with the Holy Spirit. I'm still wowed by it. I always want to be wowed by Him. Don't you?

Here is a thought that I briefly posted on the Siesta Fiesta blog about the weekend. I still want more time to reflect and roll it over in my heart and mind, so I will try to post more at a later time, but I want to talk about one thing in particular.

In her teaching, Beth referenced the fact that Joshua was David's hero. I love that. I thought about how Beth seems to be a hero so many of us have (besides our Jesus, of course! - And I think another Siesta was so right to say that we need to be careful not to worship our teacher-as precious as she is-but to allow her to point us to THE Teacher!) Sorry. Back to the David thought.

I just have really been mulling that over. Joshua being a hero to David. Beth being a hero to me & to so many of us. So, who am I a hero to? Who are you a hero to? Overwhelming, humbling, and inspiring thought, huh? You may think, "Not me. I'm not anyone's hero." Are you absolutely for sure?

I teach ladies Bible studies and high school girls Sunday School and lead a creative movement praise and worship team - have done those things for years, so in all likelihood, I am some one's hero. In fact I've had a unique opportunity on a couple of occasions to have one of my girls write about me in their "required for English" hero essay. Usually it is their sweet mothers who have shared the essays with me. Let me say that you pretty much have had to mop me off the floor when I read them. On other occasions I've had some sweet lady share her admiration. Whoa! Hold the phone. Are you talking about me?

So what about you? What roles do you play? Maybe you have some of the same roles as I do, maybe not. Maybe you teach in a public school...maybe you coach one of your kids' ball teams...or help with Scouts...or maybe you are "just" (I hate that connotation) a Mom. Uh-oh. Guess what? I'm fairly certain YOU are some one's hero! Pretty scary, huh? And if you are like me I really don't want to be on a pedestal. Only One deserves such a lofty place.

I know the blackness of my heart, the harsh words spoken, the thoughts too awful to even give words to. Hero? ME? Surely you have mistaken me for someone else...someone who has it all together, someone who is doing great things for the Lord, someone, well, admirable. But I also know that most of those who may call me hero, know I'm not perfect...and all of them who have shared such sentiment with me always talk about Him...Him in me. So somehow, even with my huge human failures, perhaps I'm pointing them to Him. Please, God, let it be said of me. What about you? Are you, ever-so-humbly and ever-so-shaky at times, pointing those looking up to you to One much loftier? Asking them to look past you to see Him. I bet you are. I pray you are.

And when the thought seems too much - picture yours truly face down on the floor!- remember that Joshua is the one who had to be told REPEATEDLY - "Be strong and courageous." So David, the greatest King of Israel, a man after God's own heart, looked up to that guy? What kind of hero has fear?

Hmmm. Joshua, didn't he do some pretty amazing things? Didn't he become a mighty fighting warrior? Didn't he conquer enemy after enemy? Wasn't he in a tremendous battle when he asked the Lord for help in a pretty unusual the sun standing still!?! Hmmm...and he started that whole being used by God thing with some fear, huh? "Be strong and courageous...Be very strong and courageous." Not bad advice for us hero types.