Monday, November 29, 2010

Goodbye, Sweet Boy

I'm feeling a little blue. I found out today that one of the kids that we have sponsored through Compassion International has dropped out of the program. John Mark stopped coming so the folks from CI went and encouraged him to come back. He didn't. When they went back to talk to him, he wouldn't talk to them. From the letters I have received from this little guy over the course of the last three years, he loved attending school and was truly loving his Jesus. What has happened in this little boy's life? I can't imagine, and perhaps my God is keeping me from knowing too much. I know that many children around the world grow up far too soon and far too quickly. And because I don't know, I can't even speculate, and probably shouldn't.
I don't even know what to say. I get to write him one more letter. The workers there in his little village in the Phillipines will make sure he gets it. I'm sure the Lord will give me words, but right now, well, my heart just hurts so I don't know what to say. I do know what I am to do, though. I will continue to pray for this sweet little nine year old boy. And I will continue to love him - this child who has left an indelible mark on my heart - I've often thought of it as John's Mark. And I will trust my God who loves him far more than I do and who knows and sees all things. I am so grateful for a God who is trustworthy - in ALL things. Aren't you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

On the Occasion of my 46th Birthday

I'm facing a big decision at work. One that will greatly impact the entire organization and its well-being, and thus, the well-being of those entrusted to me to lead. Sometimes being the boss is just plain hard. So after a whopping 3 1/2 hours sleep, I woke up, tossed and turned, and finally just got up.

I came to my favorite quiet time place of the recliner, bowed my head and prayed for wisdom, for those who are sick and hurting, for my children, my husband, my nation, and that God would bless the study of His Word - not unlike most mornings. And also not unlike most mornings, I picked up my Bible study and dove in. Also, not unlike many mornings, I found myself a day behind in my study because, well, the week before I got a day behind and hadn't caught up.

I read about Boaz's kindness to Ruth and read and reread Ruth 2:12: "May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."  That last phrase reminded me of and then the lesson further explored one of my FAVORITE images of my God. Majestic and Powerful. Wings stretched out so wide it creates a cool shadow underneath. Then we read further in Psalm 91 about the beauty of living inside that shadow and the blessings of it. Outside of that shadow is a world set to destroy me. Wrought with dangers - physical, emotional, spiritual - literally ablaze with evil set against me. And yet there I am - tucked safely beneath His wings. Not crouched down in fear at all, though. I see that blazing inferno around me and yet I am safe, loved, protected, cool and cared for. A smile on my face and a joy in my soul because of a God who snatched me from that inferno and called me His beloved. He set my feet on solid ground and as if that weren't enough, chooses to hover over me in love. He even calls me His inheritance. So my response - I wept. I wept with tears of gratitude and love and joy and peace - so much emotion that it can only be expressed through tears. Oh how I love Him.

So you see, my first birthday present of the day was from my Father. A blessed reminder of how precious I am to Him, a glimpse of His glory, and a refreshing of my spirit.

Please be blessed by these 16 short little verses - be careful though, you may just get overwhelmed by Him!

Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On being loved

How I love my Savior. He came as a baby. Leaving a throne so splendid we cannot even grasp its magnificence, He took on human flesh so that He could feel what I feel, be tempted as I am tempted, and yet live in perfection that I cannot. He did it so that He could carry a cross, allow Roman soldiers to nail Him to it, and suffer and die a horrific death. Why on earth??? Oh, yes. I remember now. It wasn't because of earth. It was because of what comes next. He did it because this isn't all there is. And He wants to offer us the best and save us from Satan's worst. His preference was to leave the throne instead of remaining there without me...or without you. Today as we observed the holy ordinance of the Lord's Supper, I held that little piece of cracker then that tiny cup of juice, and I thought several times as I prayed, "Was I worth it? Was I really worth it, Lord?" I knew by the peace in my heart and flood of joy I felt that His answer was and emphatic, "Yes!" How do I know? Because according to the Holy Word of God, He says that when He comes again as the conquering King, those who are called His own will come with Him, clean and pure in the finest of white linen. He wants us to be a part of His triumph.

His resurrection that we celebrate today is what we experience now. Forgiveness that is beyond my comprehension. What a blessing. But seriously, we 'ain't seen nothin' yet'!!!!

Revelation 19: 11-16
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He, himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood and His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepresses of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

He's alive today, and He is coming back for us. So although I know I am unworthy, He sees me as worth it. Praise God!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Could it be?

As many of you know, I have been feeling for quite some time that the Lord is likely building a new ministry for me. A speaking ministry. I know what some of you are thinking..."I thought He equipped the called, not called the equipped." Very funny...I know I speak - A LOT. But this is a very distinctive of ministering to women beyond my own church. God has given me several 'messages' for lack of a better descriptor but as of yet, I've not delivered them...not 'out there' like at women's conferences, retreats or events, just in classes or studies I'm leading at our home church, and then just in partiality, not in completion. So as you can see by all of this rambling, I'm still in a bit of a quandry. The primary question is, "Where do I even get started?"

Last year, as I pondered this and have asked this question, I began to explore the possibility of attending the She Speaks Conference. But I knew I wouldn't be able to afford to go, so I put it out of my mind. I've continued to follow Proverbs 31 Ministries, and the other day, "OH MY GOODNESS!!" One of my favorite Proverbs 31 women, Lysa, offered this opportunity to attend this year's conference - FREE!! This conference would not only answer the question of where to start but also give clear direction on so many issues I've wondered about in terms of becoming a 'speaker' for a broader audience but a very specific, targeted audience. Most of you know that I spent a great deal of my professional career as a 'teacher' for adults - training and professional development, and, admittedly, God granted me success in that role, but I happen to believe that He used that growth in me as a speaker so that He could use it for His glory. The reason this conference is so important to me is that it is intended for that purpose as well - to equip women to use their gifts of speaking for His glory. So, honestly, I want desperately to be a part of that kind of conference.

So, now the question at hand is, "Could it be?" Could this be how my Lord provides for this ministry opportunity? Could it be that the time is now (or at least this summer!)? It has been my humble experience that He often lays a plan, plants the concept in His people's mind - specifically mine in this scenario - and then makes us wait. Anyone else ever experience something like this: "I know what He wants, but somehow it just isn't happening. Do I really know for sure? Maybe I got the message wrong. Oh, no. What if I've allowed myself this dream, but it isn't really His plan or His will? OH, NO! I missed it. I'm so living outside of His will!!" And then you experience an almost panic-like feeling. And you seek Him with all you have. And then He speaks - clearly, deep into your spirit. And again, you are left to the wondering, and the work that He places before you until it is His time to complete the new work. So, now the question at hand is, "Could it be?" We'll see in a few weeks if I am selected to attend free. And if not, then I'm going to be waiting to hear Him speak again. The best news of all - He will.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Come Running...

Casey and I - along with 505 other women- had a wonderful and unique opportunity this weekend. At the beginning of 2009 we accepted a challenge by Beth Moore to memorize two scriptures each month. We were to log onto her blog, post our sriptures, write them on our notecards and, well, WORK HARD to memorize them. A few months later, Beth revealed her plans to celebrate the accomplishment by inviting anyone who memorized their verses to a special event at FBC Houston. Casey and I did it!! And we went!! Casey drove us to Houston; we settled in at the hotel, and we were off! That small group (honestly Beth's events are known to have upwards of 10,ooo+!!) met at the church Friday night and Saturday morning. Travis Cottrell leading worship and Beth Moore teaching - Now that is my idea of celebration!!

It was an amazing weekend of worship and learning at the feet of a true servant of God. We got to eat good food, have sweet girl time, laugh and cry together, meet many of our blogging friends face-to-face, and then to top it off for me, we had lunch before we left with Gina - truly one of my very dearest lifetime friends - and her sweet daughter Ashley. God truly blessed me with a wonderful weekend.

Now any of you who know us, know that Casey and I are Beth Moore groupies. SERIOUSLY. If she teaches it, we study it. If she recommends it, we try it. If she says it, we listen. If she invites us, we go! And we, of course, made sure that we were at the church early to be able to get a great seat. And we did!! Up close and personal with one whom I consider to be one of the most annointed teachers of our time. I mean that genuinely. She can bring the Word of God to life like few others can.

BUT - Friday night, during the event and even later as I tried to sleep I felt a certain uneasiness. I couldn't figure it out, but I couldn't seem to shake it. I woke up before 5 a.m. and as I lay there in the stillness and the quiet, I began to pray and ask God to reveal Himself to me so that I could understand what this nagging unrest was. He did. And it was so obvious. And it was so convicting. And it was so good. I needed it. IT was perspective. IT was priority. IT was this question posed by my God,
"So, how many of those women, including you, who are so quick to line up early and rush through the doors to see my servant are as quick to rush to sit at My feet?" Then He got really personal, "How many days do you literally drag yourself to your quiet place for an audience, not of 500 to 1, but 1 on 1, with Me - God Almighty, Lord of ALL?"

Ouch. That hurt. Actually it broke my heart. I confessed my sin before my God and arose that day forgiven and ready to start afresh, but the question continues to follow me. Honestly, any eyes that fall on these words, I hope it rattles YOU, too. We are so excited about so many things we go to see, people we hear, events we attend, and yet, our time with Him is often last on the list and often undone. Or even when done, as part of our 'routine' or done in a rush or half-heartedly. Never doubt, sweet one, that although He is unseen, He remains greater, more vast, and more powerful than anything that IS seen. My prayer tonight is that He would simply blow our minds with the overwhelming knowing of HIM - The Great I AM. Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer - HE IS EVERYTHING. Let's rush to Him. To await what He will tell us, to sit in His presence, to feel His good pleasure. Come running, sweet one. He is waiting with arms wide open!