I apologize for my lack of blogging lately! My mind and heart are focused on "Live, Love, Laugh" and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything else. Although, I believe that is the way God intends for me to be this week...so I guess I don't really need to apologize.
Yesterday, I told you that I had a cool thing to share with you, then I got sidetracked trying to catch up on laundry, clean bathrooms, strip beds, educate my children....and then those little things had the nerve to tell me they were starving! Needless to say, I didn't get back around to sharing this thought with you.
I'm calling it a lightbulb moment. Freedom's Call was sitting in Murphy's upper room(bonus room) having our Bible study. (We are going through an incredible book called "The Heart of the Artist") She shared that over the last couple of weeks during her morning study she doesn't say "Amen" during her prayer time. She waits until she's putting her head on the pillow at night and then says.."Lord, thank you for today and all we experienced...in Jesus name...Amen"
I was taken by this and said it was kind of like having a phone conversation but never hanging up the phone...leaving the line open. In essence, her conversation with the Lord is becoming a continual and unending day of prayer. She is aware that He is listening and right with her.
For some reason, that just excited me. What would happen in our day to day life if we left the "phone line" to God open? I bet some of our conversation would be totally different.
I felt the Holy Spirit say, "But I do hear everything, I do experience your day with you, I cringe at some of the things you think! I don't hang up the phone, you just choose to ignore me!"
Yikes...that hit a tender spot.
Honestly, this week as I'm preparing to lead worship, it has been easier to leave the line open so to say. But on a regular week, I don't live with this mindset. Sure I pray and send up sentence prayers throughout the day, but to live moment by moment aware of His presence....I don't always do that.
My prayer is that I will "leave the line open" every day. That I will acknowledge the presence of God with each breath that I take.
Do you know what else? I believe that in doing this, I'm going to see Him do things and move in areas that I've never been aware of before. I can't wait to see what I've been missing, and I don't ever want to go back!
I'm posting the part of the lyrics to a song I wrote several years ago...I'll be honest, it's my least favorite song musically but the lyrics kind of fit here! Maybe I'll work on it some more. :)
I DON'T WANT TO LIVE UNMOVED
Alarm rings its 6:00 am, another day begins.
Laundry and lunches, groceries and carpool oh does it ever end.
When halfway through the day, I haven't even stopped to pray.
Forgive me, what can I say.
My soul's yearning for more of Your Word, but I pick up a magazine.
Thumb through the pages; get depressed, I'm not what they say I should be.
When your quiet voice inside me gently draws me to my knees,
Change me, Lord change me.
I don’t wanna live another day, unmoved by you.
Cause any day without you, is the day I'm set to fall.
I don't wanna take another step, without you in my sight.
I need you Father, moving in my life.
I need you Jesus, walking by me side.
I need you Spirit, to always be my guide.
I don't wanna live unmoved by you.
Copyright Stephanie Parson 2004
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I apologize for my lack of blogging lately! My mind and heart are focused on "Live, Love, Laugh" and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on anything else. Although, I believe that is the way God intends for me to be this week...so I guess I don't really need to apologize.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/30/2008 04:54:00 PM
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
What a ride this weekend was! Our children's choir presented "Life School Musical" Sunday night and WOW!!! They rocked the house.
I'm so proud of each child. They have worked so hard and God blessed their preparation...big time. :) I'm a little partial to the character "Bugs" she's mine. :)
Here she is getting ready to leave...she did a self-portrait.
"Bugs" and "Miss Knowsalot" who is a 5th grader. She did a great job! It's hard to believe next year Chloe will be a 5th grader and in her last few children's musicals!
Bugs singing about how much she LOVES bugs.
Emma and Colin waiting on the show!!!!
It's Tuesday afternoon right now and our last guests left a little over an hour ago. We have had LOVED having family here since last Thursday. We've shopped, visited, rested and just generally enjoyed being with each other. I'm going to post some pictures..big surprise I know, and then a little later today I'm going to post a thought on something that one of my Freedom's Call sisters said last night. It was awesome!
Colin, Uncle Chad and Paddington in the "boy" chair. No Girls Allowed.
I was attacked by the hugging machine. (I loved every minute of it) If you look real close, you can see that I was studying for this weekend. That's Frydaddy's "The Lamb Has Overcome" book. We're using some of those songs this weekend at the Live, Laugh, Love Conference.
Emma-7 Colin-4 and Chloe- 9
This is me with my younger sister. Yes, she's much taller than me. She passed me when I was in 6th grade and she was in 4th grade. But I don't have any issues with that. ;)
We have NO pictures of the two of us without kids. We thought we were being so smart to let them take a few of us outside, but the sun was SO bright. Maybe next time we'll grab a better shot!
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/29/2008 12:38:00 PM
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Sometimes, it feels as if it would be easier to just sulk in your room than praise the Lord.
Sometimes, complaining comes out of our mouth more often than praise....
Sometimes praise is a real sacrifice...
It's in those times that God ministers to your soul the most.
This song challenges me to come out of my room, quit sulking and praise.
Have a great Sunday, I pray that you will enter your time of worship Sunday with an attitude of true praise.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/26/2008 01:13:00 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I had the coolest time with God this early this morning. AND I MEAN EARLY!!! We're talking 1:30AM. I could not go to sleep for anything, I guess I was still bummed that Carly went home on American Idol last night. At this point, I'm going to be bummed every week. I have grown to love each one of those kids in a different way..
Anyway..back to 1:30. I could tell this was going to be a LONG night. Normally, I can pull an all nighter and survive but last night I was exhausted. I flipped the light back on and reached for the book I'm reading, when I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me toward my Bible instead.
I'm going to be totally honest here, I was reaching for my other book because I knew it would help me go to sleep. I really didn't want the guilt of falling asleep reading God's Word. But I grabbed it and said.."Okay God show me what to read..." and I'm not kidding you my next thought was Haggai. HAGGAI! Who in the world picks up their Bible at 1:30 in the morning to read Haggai. Psalms, Proverbs, John....but Haggai?
I read it. The whole thing..impressed? You shouldn't be, it's just two chapters!
So I'm reading it but I was just not seeing what I was supposed to see. I asked God to settle my attention on the verses He wanted me to soak in. It was chapter 2 verse 19
"I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn, before you have harvested your grain and before the grapevine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have produced their crops. From this day onward I will bless you." (New Living Translation)
That was what He was giving me. You see I have been pouring my heart out over several situations that are very close to my heart. Situations that are in need of God's provision, His need, His touch. I KNOW that He hears. I know that He cares. I believe with all my heart He will provide what each situation needs.
Yesterday morning I asked Him to give me some sort of confirmation that I was even praying in the right way! I'm telling you, I have been so consumed by this thing, I needed to know He was hearing me! He did that two times yesterday. Once while I had coffee with my dear friend after choir, and then later..in the wee hours of the morning through His word. (Hmmmmm, maybe the coffee was why I was awake?)
I have to say, for as little sleep as I got last night, I have felt great today. Thank you Lord.
So where in the world does Habakkuk come into play? Well....
This morning as I was turning to do my reading, my Bible just kind of flopped open, and I do mean flop, to Habakkuk. I laughed and said, "Okay God, Haggai last night, Habakkuk this morning...you're funny." Then it caught my eye.
I had this written next to the verse 3:17-19 verses..."Nov.17, 2004 God brought me to this two times this morning on two different broadcasts on WMBW (Moody radio in Chatt) Isn't He faithful!"
I was intrigued so I started at the beginning of chapter three. The first couple of verses stuck out, but when I got to 17 this is what I read...
" Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains."
I have never thought so much about figs, pomegranates, grapes and barren fields! But I have thought a lot about these situations, and I have felt like each one was fruitless in it's own way...
God showed me this morning that He is in control. Even though I don't see much fruit right now, and the harvest is looking pretty slim, I can trust Him. I am choosing to praise Him today for what He is going to do in each situation that has burdened my heart.
To quote Esther Burroughs, "God knew from the foundation of time that this was going to happen. This is no surprise to Him." He knows exactly how this plays out. I know that I can trust Him. We have a pretty cool history and one day, all of this will be part of it. He was Lord over that and He is Lord over today....He can handle whatever comes next.
Psalm 81: 6-7
"Now I will relieve your shoulder of its burden; I will free your hands from their heavy tasks. You cried to me in trouble, and I saved you." (NLT)
"You thrill me Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done."
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/24/2008 03:43:00 PM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Last night we had the first of Chloe's dress rehearsals for the week. Her small group met late afternoon and then drama team was after dinner. It was a busy day, but Chloe lives for weeks like this. She LOVES this musical and the part she plays. It is by far, my favorite children's musical so far and that includes "American Ideal". (Yes, it was a take off of American Idol)
I had an interesting experience yesterday. While I won't go into details, I will tell you I got slammed by another mother. Growing up the daughter of a pastor and an elementary school teacher, I'm fully aware that there are always people who are going to complain. But my word! My role in this musical has nothing to do with the group this child is in. I was a mom just like her, just hanging up my child's costume. I found myself really close to saying "Excuse me??"
As I stood there completely shocked that this mother, who I do not know, proceeded to "share" with me her questions/concerns/complaints about wardrobe requirements, one thing passed through my mind: "Do everything without grumbling or complaining." The old Stephanie would have shared that verse with her right then, but I knew better and held my tongue.
Later that evening I thought through the conversation again. God showed me two things. First, was that money was a concern for this mother. She said "I don't want to spend money...." God reminded me that I know this well right now. I get this one big time. So I can understand feeling frustrated at the thought of having to fork out anymore money than absolutely necessary. Looking back, I recognize the worry in her eyes. Why didn't I see that yesterday! Lord forgive me for not seeing that.
She was hurting and her verbal jabs on this human punching bag caught me totally off guard.
Second, this mother was not in rehearsal and had second hand information as to what had been said in the rehearsal. She was reacting to something she had not seen or heard for herself. Gossip. She had allowed another person's frustration to work her up into a tizzy. Goodness. Being a mom today is hard enough, and we don't need to waste anymore energy than we need to! She wasted a WHOLE lot of energy and emotion worrying about something that just wasn't true. I'm exhausted for her.
When I wouldn't participate in the bashing and encouraged her to go take it up with the person she had the problem with, that she quickly said "thanks" and walked away.
Girls, I'm tired. I'm so tired of the way we Christian sister's beat each other up. You know what I'm talking about? Life is hard enough, we don't need to walk into church and feel like we are stepping into a boxing ring!
Who needs to go to church for that? We get that in the world! When my girls are fighting I'll take them to the window and say, "Look out there. That is the world. That is where life gets tough. You're treating each other the way people out there treat each other. In here, this is family. This is home. This is safe. We do not treat each other that way. This is God's house and we operate under His rules. In here, you are loved and treasured, act like the princess you are." (and can I just tell you the last few weeks, I've needed to do that several times!)
To quote some reality show I saw about 5 minutes of last week....
"Check yourself, before you wreck yourself."
I cracked up when I saw this table full of well dressed women having dinner at a sweet New York City restaurant discussing who knows what....one of them said this to another who is apparently very animated in her reactions. BUT, it preaches doesn't it...
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really guilty about taking things way to personal and reacting before I process everything, much less before I pray about how to proceed! It's an area that God continues to bring to my attention.
Here's what God has challenged me to this week: Look beyond the reaction and realize that more than likely, there is a hurt there that needs heavenly attention.
I'm sick that I didn't see the hurt in that mother's eyes last night. I'm praying that if God sees fit to put her in my path Friday evening at dress rehearsal, that He will fill my mouth with words that will encourage her. Whatever she is going through, He really is all she needs. I pray that she knows that.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/22/2008 12:44:00 PM
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I LOVE it when Provident Label Group shares new stuff! Thanks Brian and congrats on the new baby!!
Earlier this week, I received a copy of Matt Maher's new CD "Empty and Beautiful". The day it came, Chad and the girls had Karate, so I waited until they left and popped it in. Wow! I listened to it from beginning to end while I cooked dinner.
Let me tell you that I LOVE this CD. While the music is "fun" to sing along with, these lyrics are powerful. God has gifted Matt with the ability to bring a lyric and melody together in a way that draws you into worship. As I listened, these words took me straight to the throne room and broke down some walls around my heart. I found myself in a place that I love. A place where it's God and me. The place where He never fails to speak...and on that day..I was desperate to hear Him.
I can't say that one song is my favorite because as soon as the next track plays, it becomes my favorite...however......the title cut "Empty and Beautiful" and "As It Is in Heaven" have really ministered to me this week.
Can I tell you something else? I LOVE that this CD rocks out one song and is reflective the next. I also LOVE that I can hear some piano rocking out!!! LOVE to hear that....not that I'm partial to the piano or anything.....:)
Please, Please, Please...GO BUY THIS CD!!!! You can click on the Matt Maher Album cover on my sidebar and order it there. It's as easy as that and I PROMISE...you are in for a blessing.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/19/2008 09:33:00 PM
Sometimes you just connect with a song. This week, I connected with this song. I've been humming it since Tuesday.
I hope your Saturday is restful and that you worship Sunday as someone who is free! Don't hold anything back!
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/19/2008 01:58:00 PM
Friday, April 18, 2008
This is the worship team I told you about yesterday...all but one I had the privilege of serving with before our move. They are some of the sweetest things you'll ever meet. Our lone man is part of our band for the conference...He is one brave man..
Some of you read Angela over at Refresh My Soul. I am so blessed to count her as a dear friend...She jumped out of a meeting last night to say hi...and of course we had to have a picture...(You'll probably see the same one over at her blog!)
These ladies worked so hard last night and I can not wait to worship with them in a couple of weeks...
It was a quick trip, but I was so glad to pull into the driveway this morning. Chad convinced the girls to go ahead and do their Friday schoolwork yesterday afternoon, so they have had free time today. They've read, played games, practiced for their karate tests that is Saturday morning....and now, I'm ready to have some quiet time! I think it's time for a nap! :)
See you Saturday for Then Sings My Soul.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/18/2008 11:50:00 AM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Today is my little sisters birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY VAL!!!!! Sure wish I was there to celebrate with you. :) But, we'll have cake when you are here next week!
In addition to Val's birthday, we are eagerly waiting for the phone call or text message from our friends Ron and Pam...they are at the hospital waiting on the their first grandchild to be born! That little girl should be here anytime! Please say a quick prayer for a safe and healthy delivery and recovery for the new mommy!
In just a few minutes, I'll be jumping in the car to head to Chattanooga for a rehearsal with the worship team and band for the "Live, Love, Laugh" conference I'll be at in May. I'm so pumped!!! I love these women so much and can't wait to worship with them tonight in rehearsal. (I've thrown my camera in the bag so you'll probably see pictures Friday night!)
God continues to amaze me. Last week, our worship pastor e-mailed and asked me to share a song during our worship choir's devotional time. Last night was the big night. I was so nervous and completely lost my train of thought as to what I was going to say before the song. I was praying on that long walk down the stairs to the piano that God would have me say what He wanted said and no more. I honestly can't tell you what came out of my mouth before I sang, I don't even know if it made sense....I sang and that's about all I remember... :)
Chad and the girls are preparing for their big karate test on Saturday morning. I'm not sure I can handle the stress of all three of them testing on the same day... mercy...I'm going to need to brew some very strong coffee Saturday morning.
I'm still praying about that "thing" going on in my life I mentioned in my previous post. God hasn't delivered the answer yet, but He will. He is showing me passage after passage of situations where He came through. I believe with all my heart that He will. Until that time, I praise Him for today and what He is showing us through this time. I will praise Him regardless of His answer in this situation....He is so good!
Okay...I'm off to pack my car and fill up my coffee mug!
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/17/2008 12:09:00 PM
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Three families that are in need of God. Three sets of children in situations that are far from God's plan. They have never met, and are in three different states. But their needs are the same. I know each of their situations...and our God is the only One who can fix what is broken.
Several friends across the south, trying to sell houses that they can longer afford in a market that is less than friendly right now.
Other friends trying to keep their heads above water financially...
Friends grieving over the loss of a parent.
A young mother hospitalized and in isolation due to a very strange illness. She is separated from her precious little baby born the end of last year.
Is your heart heavy yet?
These are just a few of the requests that have flooded my e-mail and telephone line the last few weeks. It would be very easy to become discouraged and ask where in the world God is in all of this. And to be quite honest with you, I have.
Even in my life I'm seeking the Lord about this giant thing that I just can't seem to put to rest. It is exhausting..but as exhausting and hard as this is, I know God is using this to chip away something that is keeping me from radiating His glory. But right now, it is hard.
I'm sure some of you can relate and have felt that same dry, flat, unsure, feeling. It's not that you are doubting God and His ability to handle your situation, it just seems like the need is urgent, and His response seems to be on a different schedule! Anybody hear me?
This morning I was talking to God about this, pouring out my heart about the human time-line I'm facing and pleading with Him to DO SOMETHING!!!!! Anything!!! Just let me know TODAY that you hear me! This is where He took me in my study time.
Psalm 105: 40, 41 and 45
"They asked for meat, and He sent quail. He gave them manna bread from heaven. He opened up a rock and water gushed out to form a river through the dry and barren land. All this happened so they would follow His principles and obey His laws."
His children needed food and He gave it to them.
His children needed water and gave them water from a rock. A rock!
If God can deliver bread from heaven each morning to the Israelites, He can provide for your need today.
If God can break open a rock and make water gush out to form a river in the desert so His children can drink and be satisfied, He can satisfy the dry part of your heart today.
I don't know about you, but I'm asking God to break open a rock and pour out a gushing river of His adequacy into the situations on my heart today. I believe He will too!
I know that it may not be in the way my little human brain thinks it should be, but that makes it even better. He's going to show off in ways I can only imagine.
I can't wait to share them with you!!!
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/15/2008 03:15:00 PM
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sometimes our children just put it all into perspective for us.
Chloe has always had a soft spot and a generous heart, but let's be honest...she's nine (almost 10) and sometimes a girl would just rather spend her money on shoes or the latest Hannah CD.
Today she received the latest copy of the Samaritan's Purse newsletter. It came as I was fixing lunch and the girls were having "recess". I saw her intense eyes as she read it cover to cover.
I called them to lunch, they ate and she was quiet. (Which should have been my first sign something was up.) After lunch, Emma headed upstairs for her reading time and Chloe went up to finish up her math and language arts. I....
I began to pick up a few things and just straighten up. The Samaritan Purse newsletter and donation envelope was on our coffee table. I just added it to the trash pile and went on with my chores.
In a few minutes, Chloe came down to tell me that she was done with math. Before she could get that out she stopped and said..."Mom, where is my newsletter?" I told her I thought she was done with it and I threw it away..I apologized and she went upstairs.
I was so occupied with my chores that I didn't realize she was crying in her room.
Chloe came down a little later and pulled that newsletter out of the trash. I found her at the kitchen desk reading every word again. She was mesmerized by this newsletter.
I asked her if she needed the envelopes and she said.."I need it all, please."
My heart still did not seeing what was going on.
Just now, I walked into the kitchen and looked over at the desk. There is a sealed envelope sitting there waiting to be mailed. The return address is ours, it is addressed to The Samaritan's Purse and let me tell you.....
That little thing has stuffed it full of her hard earned allowance, birthday money from last August, Christmas money and tooth fairy money. I honestly have no idea how much money she put in there.
I just asked her what it was and her comment was "I just needed to do it." She was being obedient big time. A couple of you have posted on Then Sings my Soul Saturday the song "Little is Much", those lyrics ran through my mind when I saw her face as she told me "I just needed to do it."
You see, she didn't care what anyone else thought about her gift. She just knew it was what God told her to do. She did it without reservation. She was completely abandoned to her God and what He called her to do today.
I wonder...what has God asked you to do today? Do you think your gift isn't large enough to be used? Can I let you in on a little secret? ........
There are no little gifts with God.
This is the God who spoke and created our earth!
This is the God who took just a few fish and a couple of loaves of bread and fed thousands... THOUSANDS.
This is our God. He deserves our obedience...
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/14/2008 03:45:00 PM
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I have been waiting all week for this week's edition of "Then Sings My Soul". Sometimes you just need to saturate your mind with the Word and Truth. One way to do that is to turn up the praise music and listen with your head and your heart. Saturday evening when I sit down to go through the link list over at Amy's, I am so encouraged! Thank you to all of you who participate!
This has been one of those weeks. So many needs, prayer requests and pleas for help have flooded my in-box. All week I've found myself saying, "Lord...I don't even know how to pray for this!" Our God makes a way in every situation. He is a way maker. One of the lines from the following song has been stuck in my head for a couple of days...."you tore the veil, you made a way..."
God reminded me that He conquered death and the grave, and that He was able to make a way in each circumstance/situation that was and is heavy on my heart. Here is what God has put on my heart this week. This is Hillsong with "At the Cross".
One more thing, did you know that the Darlene Zscech, the worship leader in this video, wrote the song "Shout to the Lord"? You know, the one we've all been talking about this week?! Just a little bit of trivia......
Have a great weekend.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/12/2008 10:41:00 AM
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thanks to Big Mama for hosting the first annual..Spring Fashion Fiesta! I have to say, I was so nervous to do this...honestly, I fully expect for this to qualify me for TLC's What Not to Wear....but that may not be such a bad thing. (Other than the secrect footage..then the world would know I talk to myself. Do you think they would believe me if I just told them I was praying out loud? That is somewhat true!)
Anyway...I'm going to start with my everyday wear. The things that I wear in my ever so exciting day to day life. The life that I LOVE by the way...the daily wardrobe is just to die for let me tell you...
Here we have the pink hoodie..
I am usually cold, so a good hoodie is handy for me all year. I have these in black, brown, pink, green. Thank you Chloe for holding this up for the world to see.
Since I pulled out my summer things earlier in the week, you are getting a sneak peak into my summer every day clothes. The winter is pretty much the same color scheme just picture sweats/yoga pants..
I know, the excitement is almost too much for you to handle.. I do have some pretty cute shoes to go with these.
Okay this is my "going to the store, kid's karate class, mall" uniforms...and I say uniforms because I wear them so much, they feel like a uniform...
You may spot me in this on Wednesday evening at choir practice, Sunday night church, or a lunch date, or a hot date with the man....it's comfortable, cool and pink...I do love pink...the skirt I bought at Wal-Mart last year for $9.00 and the white cotton tee also came from Wal-Mart...I think I got two of them for around $10.00. Anyway, they have held up much better than I expected them too! (If truth be told, I do most of my everyday clothes shopping at Target or Wal-Mart and when I can get over there, Steinmart. We are home so much, I just don't see spending too much on lounging clothes!)
Here is part of my Sunday or I'm speaking/singing somewhere line-up...
I also wear black trouser pants and different colored tops or jackets on Sunday. (Our choir wears solid color tops to avoid looking a field of wild flowers on Sunday morning. Wild flowers are beautiful and they are part of God's creation, BUT. When you put 200 different patterns in a choir loft....well...it tends to distract rather than encourage worship! Quite frankly, it hurts my eyes!!!!)
So there you have it a glimpse into my very limited world of fashion...I just realized I took NO pictures of shoes or jewelry...and THOSE are the things I love the most!!!
Hello to those of you stopping by for the first time, I'm off to browse through your on-line closets and see what you've posted...Blessings!
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/11/2008 01:19:00 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I'm still in complete shock this morning. We discussed it around the breakfast table and the girls were just as surprised. We can NOT believe that "Shout to the Lord" was the finale on American Idol's Idol Gives Back show last night.
"SHOUT TO THE LORD" people. When Ryan introduced it, I looked at Chad and said "our, Shout to the Lord?" And YES it was...I was a little disappointed that they started by saying "My Shepherd" instead of "My Jesus". But oh. my. goodness.
I loved the arrangement, the choir coming out, it was great. I just kept waiting for them to kick it in high gear, but overall it was pretty cool.
Here's what I saw. I saw a couple of faces who looked like they just might be intimately acquainted with what they were singing and that excited me. Sadly though, I saw faces of singers who were just singing words. It didn't appear that they fully grasped what they were singing..."All of my days, I want to praise, the wonder of your mighty hand....My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength...."
I may be stepping out on a limb here, but I think the reason the finale left me feeling a little disappointed, was because even though there may have been some believers on that stage, there were unbelievers singing words they don't fully understand. They don't fully understand because the Holy Spirit isn't living in them to make them understand.
They took a HUGE step to use that song last night. THANK YOU LORD. So I'm asking God to bless them over and over for that. Good choice to whoever picked that song.
Would you join me in praying that the words those young people sang last night would begin to penetrate their hearts? Pray that they would, in the midst of the celebrity lifestyle they are living right now, be drawn to our Jesus? Pray that God would place passionate Christians in their life even today? (Christians who will show them that it's fun to walk with Jesus. That Christianity is so much more than a list of do's and do not's!)
Remember that verse that says. That every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord? WELL...I think that we saw a little of that last night.
If Idol Gives Back did anything for me, it gave me a fresh passion for those in need. In physical need like those children in Africa and those who are suffering here in the US, but also spiritual need......
Oh Lord, open the eyes of their hearts.....let them really see you for Who you are and how much you love them...
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/10/2008 08:50:00 AM
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Jenifer has tagged me for the 5 things meme. Thanks Jenifer, I've enjoyed getting to know you over the last few weeks. :) I love new siesta's.....
What I was doing 10 years ago: (1998)
1. I was working for EMJ Corporation in Chattanooga
2. On the weekend I was playing piano at a couple of different churches..
3. I was loving being an Aunt to Baily and Shelby
4. Chad and I were settling into a new home because...
5. I WAS PREGNANT WITH CHLOE!!!!!
5 things on my to-do list today: (This is what I did today, since I waited until Tuesday evening to post this.)
1. School with the girls.
2. Clean out master-closet. Swap out winter/summer clothes.
3. Put listening CD in mail for the band and praise team I'll work with in May
4. Remind Chad to pick up his pants...(Apparently when you lose 25 pounds, things have to be tailored. I wouldn't know anything about loosing 25 pounds...)
5. Find 20 minutes to be alone at piano to work on lyrics for the melody I have running in my head.
5 snacks I enjoy:
1. POPCORN - it's a staple in this house.
2. Apple and peanut butter
3. Chips and Salsa
4. ?????? I'm not a big snacker! I can't think of anything else!!!
5 things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Give above the tithe
2. Pay off our house and car. Then invest the rest of the money to make it work for us so we can do mission trips whenever we want to.
3. Send my parents around the world and buy them the cottage they've been looking at
4. Pay off all our siblings debt and set up college funds for our nieces and nephews.
5. Take ALL of our siblings and their spouse, nieces and nephews to Disney World.
5 bad habits:
1. Ummmmm, have I told you about my silverware drawer???
2. I pop my fingers.
3. I skip breakfast.
4. I bite my lip.
5. Do bad habits and OCD go hand in hand? If so, I have more than 5.
5 places I've lived:
1. Chattanooga, TN
2. Raleigh, NC
3. Dacula, GA
4 & 5 are wide open....that means, it's up to God. :)
5 jobs I've had
1. Candy Striper or "junior volunteer" for the American Red Cross IT WAS THE HARDEST WORK EVER.
2. Desk Clerk for Courtyard By Marriott.
3. Various things at EMJ.
4. Church Pianist/Children's Choir Coordinator/women's ministry co-director
5. Stay at home Mommy!!! My Favorite by far. :)
Okay, so I'm tagging: YOU!!! If you haven't done this yet, then consider yourself tagged!
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/08/2008 08:43:00 PM
Monday, April 7, 2008
For some reason this is what went through my mind when Chad showed me this picture of Emma...
"Let's get physical, physical...." I do not recall the rest of the lyrics.... :)
If we owned a pair of legwarmers, she would have had them on I'm sure....
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/07/2008 11:14:00 AM
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Don't you love it when your pastor stands to preach and begins with a passage you had read just a few hours before?
Last night, I was struck with a case of "I can't go to sleep!!!!" Part excitement, I was on piano today. (Whoo Hoo! We sang "let the praises ring" and I couldn't help but think of Travis Cottrell's arrangement and that makes me thing of San Antonio in August. So this morning, while we we worshipping here in Georgia I was thanking God for the time we are going to have in August!)
I would be lying to you if I told you that I didn't have a heavy heart, that was another reason I was up. There are several situations and needs around us that I'm just waiting for God to move in. So I read, and read and prayed and asked God why in the world it was 1:00 A.M. and I was still awake! Who and what did I need to pray for...nothing. Did I need to just be quiet and listen for Him....nothing. He knew I needed to rest, but for some reason it just wasn't happening. I read some more.
I wound up in Matthew...the passage that settled on me was F.A.S.T.I.N.G.
Our pastor stands up this morning and begins to teach on, you guessed it...fasting. From the exact same passage that I read in the wee hours of the morning.
I'm not going to broadcast everything here, it's between me and God. The world doesn't need to know. I would like to challenge you the way our pastor challenged us this morning. Is there a need, or an area of your life that is desperate for God's touch? Are you feeling like you are in a rut? Are you distracted and not feeling real good about your prayer and quiet time with the Lord or maybe the lack of of your prayer and quiet time with the Lord?
It may be time to take some drastic measures and enter into a time of fasting. Maybe one meal a week, maybe one a day...or as our former pastor in TN once said, why not fast from that favorite television show and use that time to pray and sit quietly with the Lord?
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm excited to see what God does in the life of those who seek our Father in this way over the next month.
Today is special for another reason. Today the second set of twins in our family turn 3 years old.
Pey Pey and Spartacus are precious to us. I wish we lived closer so we could get our hands on them more!!!! This is a picture from their visit here in October. They hid behind some furniture with a bag of popcorn. I think they were hiding from the four big girls!
Happy Birthday!!! We love you....
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/06/2008 04:10:00 PM
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Once again, thanks Amy for hosting this!
This song is from one little lady I really admire. First, let me just say....despite my Tennessee roots, I really don't care for country music. There are country artists that I like and I do occasionally really fall in love with a country song, but overall....it's just not my thing. BUT...that ALL changes when it comes to Dolly. For whatever reason..I really like her and her music. She grew up around the corner from where my sister lives now and Dolly continues to pour blessing on that area of Tennessee. Plus, she's an incredible songwriter..I would love to have 10 minutes with her. Of course, I probably wouldn't have a clue as to what to say to her once I got there..
Dolly sang this song on American Idol Wednesday night and I loved it. It sums up what I've been praying for awhile. I never want to get "to big for my britches" again. If God never allows me to play a note in front of another person, I can honestly tell you I am okay with that. I'm satisfied with Him. He is who I play for, and if that only happens in the quiet of my music room, then so be it. I've learned the hard way that He will be more than willing to take me down a level or two if I start to think more highly of myself.(Romans 12)
It was worth it to hear Dolly say, "I've got Jesus and you Ryan have Simon." That just cracked me up!!!!
By the way....Emma says "I just LOVE her outfit." Can I go ahead and request prayer for those teenage years!?!?
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/05/2008 12:06:00 PM
Friday, April 4, 2008
Adequacy. When Jill (Freedom's Call) assigned this word to me for this week, I chuckled. God had already placed this word on my heart and I shared some of that with you back in March. Obviously, He still had some things to show me in regards to this description of Himself. So I began to pray.
I asked the Lord to take me back to the point in my life when I experienced the deepest feelings of inadequacy and to remind me just how horrible that feeling was. He had me pull out some old pictures from that time in our life. It was about two years after Chad's diagnosis with Crohn's disease and we were still trying to figure this disease out.
We had decided to start trying to have a baby. We kind of took the approach of, if it happens great, if it doesn't it's okay. At the time I was in my early 20's and figured I had plenty of time to be birthin' babies. No pressure.
Then it happened. Two very young and very unmarried family members announced their pregnancies. Now let me say to you....we love these family members very much and we all know where we stand with each other. One has had a complete turn around in her life and is serving the Lord in really awesome ways. This is just part of our testimony. It's not meant to throw stones. Okay...with that out of the way...
About a month later, we found out I was pregnant, and due on .....Christmas Day. We could not have been more excited. FINALLY, it felt like God was giving us some much needed good news.
Almost as soon as it really sunk in that we were really going to have a baby, things changed and I miscarried. I was devastated, lonely and full of questions. I felt like such a failure, after all...those family members could "stay" pregnant, why couldn't I? I felt like a shell of a woman and completely inadequate.
The lowest point was one weekend several months later. An older lady (part of the family but someone who didn't know me very well)asked Chad and I when we were going to try for another baby. We were both still grieving the loss, and Chad just answered "oh, I don't know". She then went on the tell us that we wouldn't be a "real" family until we had children. I know she didn't mean it to be cruel, but I was deeply hurt.
She spoke what the enemy had been whispering in my ear for weeks. "You are a complete failure as a woman, even a teenager can carry a baby, why couldn't you...where is your God now.....You and Chad will not be a real family until you have a baby" Insert your own situation and I'm sure you've had similar emotional attacks.
The Lord took me back in time so to speak, to a time when a woman's worth was tied to her ability to have children. To be without child, well...you might as well walk around with a a red "B" on your robe. B - for Barren.
Hannah's story became life to me. Take the time to read the entire account in I Samuel 1. She was taunted by the "other" wife who could have children. Year after year Hannah remained childless, but she knew that God could change that, and He did. He gave her that bouncing baby boy named Samuel, and she gave him right back to God. What a woman.
And then God reminded me of Sarah...remember she laughed out loud when she overheard a few holy visitors say that she would bearing a son. She had gone as far as to have her "personal assistant" give Abraham a son. I'm not sure I can even begin to comprehend how it felt to watch another woman pregnant with your husband's child. All the while wanting it to be you. Talk about inadequacy. But just like our God always does, He kept His promise and gave her a son.
Then there was Elizabeth. She was, as her husband said in Luke 1:18 "well along in years". Translation: OLD. But she had an incredible little boy that grew up to be John the Baptist.
And who can leave out Mary. If anyone had the right to feel inadequate...can you imagine! She was to not only conceive in a miraculous way, she was to raise the Son of God. God was more than adequate to handle every little detail for her, including softening Joseph's heart.
God used all these women to remind me that I wasn't the first and I would be far from the last woman to deal with feelings of inadequacy when it came to birthin' a baby. He took me in my complete inadequacy and began to fill that shell with confidence. Confidence that He was adequate to supply all my needs.(Phil. 4:19)
Emotionally, spiritually and physically he became my adequacy. He reminded me that He wanted to give me the desires of my heart, but He also taught me that the more I'm seeking Him, those desires will change. My desires were no longer to have a baby, but to be a mommy. Whether through adoption, natural childbirth or mothering my middle school care group, I would praise and thank Him for the children He brought into my life.
I don't know what your need is to today, but God does. Have you come to the place where you acknowledge that He is the only one who can fill that need? I promise you, He is more than Adequate to do it. Better than that, He would love to show you just how adequate He can be...why don't you let Him?
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/04/2008 01:02:00 PM
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Sweet Mercy. I had church during American Idol last night. Actually, it started Tuesday night when Jason Castro sang "Traveling Through" and David A.'s song mentioned Jesus. I tell you what....I'm so proud of these boys, especially Jason for taking that chance. (And did you notice? They are both still there.) Anyway...Simon's "I didn't get it" comment reminded me of the night a couple of seasons ago when a special lady from Nashville stepped onto that stage and proclaimed freedom as she sang Mary Mary's "Shackles". Anybody else remember that night? And we all know what God is doing in her life don't we!!!
God moved me last night between 9:00 and 10:00. He used all sorts of things to remind me that each one of us has a story to tell. An important story to tell. As a believer, it's a story of redemption. It's a love story of being found by the One who loved you enough to give His last breath for you. It's a story of living day by day knowing you have Jesus in your corner, calling you to a better life. An abundant life. Not always a problem or hurt free life, but abundant life.
Too often I'm guilty of not sharing what God has done or is doing because I worry that my excitement will turn people off to Jesus, or they will think I'm sort of crazy "religious freak". I know, that is silly! And if someone said that to my face, I would tell them that is silly! AND it's a lie straight from the pit of hell. I'm just being honest here girls. Deep down we want everyone to like us and sometimes, it seems easier to make the choice to NOT share. Not at all the right thing, and it grieves my heart that I struggle with this. It's something that God is constantly working on in me. Just feels like that even in church, we can be surrounded by casual Christians who never fully grasp just what a ride a day by day, or minute by minute relationship with Jesus can be!
Okay, I'm on a rabbit trail....God showed me last night that if these young people can stand for Christ before 60 million viewers, and three judges (one of which never gets a song that speaks the name of Jesus) and proclaim the name of our LORD, then here in this little corner of North Georgia, I can do the same thing.
I was thrilled when Ryan introduced the Clark Brothers. Chad and I were fans of theirs (and Denver and the Mile High Orchestra) during the Next Great American Band. In fact, we remembered the "shorter" arrangement of "This Little Light of Mine" that they did on that show and commented that we wanted to buy it.
I sure hope you'll watch and listen to what they are saying. And then ask God to help you let your little light shine in your corner of the world. (And if you need a healin', ask Him for that too!)
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/03/2008 12:31:00 PM
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
As we drove into my parents subdivision on Good Friday afternoon, our entire family took a deep breath and I said "Green Grass!". Each home sits on a spacious, thriving GREEN acre of land. To this car load of drought stricken Georgians, that color was so vivid and those lawns were just begging for our bare feet to come and play. These lawns aren't just green, they are manicured...big time. Beautiful flowers and shrubs add a rainbow of color to each home. We oohed and ahhhed all the way to my parent's driveway.
This weekend, Chad and his dad made a Home Depot run and picked up pine straw for our flower(less)beds. They came back with two dogwood trees for our backyard, one pink and one white. I can't wait for them to grow!!! Yesterday evening, the girls helped Chad plant those trees. They took great care to dig the holes deep enough, carefully place those little trees in and then fill those holes back in. We know that the hard work will result in a beautiful addition to our backyard. (I'm looking forward to adding a hammock and a picnic table! That's where I'll be once they are in place!)
As I left for rehearsal and Bible study last night, I saw several of our neighbors working in their yards doing the same sort of things we've been doing. Everyone is sprucing up for spring, working hard to make the yard look good. Everyone waved, smiled and I left thinking what a great neighborhood we have.
When I came home last night it was dark. I pulled into the neighborhood and all those people who had been outside when I left, were now indoors. Garage doors were locked, and curtains pulled. While I could see lights on in a few houses, most appeared dark. Everyone was at their "homebase". They had retreated into their domain and I wondered....what do they live like inside those four walls.
What are these families really like? Do they watch American Idol and Survivor like we do? Do they sit around their dinner table and enjoy conversation or do they eat in front of the t.v. so they don't have to talk! Do they ever have a messy family room, or is everyone always on the go and not really home long enough to mess it up? What really goes on in these homes? What are these homes filled with?
Proverbs 24:3-4 says "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." In the margin of my Bible at some point I wrote "What am I filling my home with?". Maybe a better question is "Right now this second, is my home filled with holy treasures,(love, joy, peace...) or temporary "fixes" to my human desires?"
Chad and I have a deep desire that our children and our children's friends feel that our home is safe. We want them to know from the moment they step into our home that first God is here and second it's safe. You can let your hair down here and we will still care and love you. You can be honest about your struggles and your hurts and while we may not have an answer, we have an inside line to the One who does! We will pray over, for and with you.
We can't have that type of environment if our house isn't filled with the right things. (And NO, I'm not talking about the latest and greatest video game, surround sound OR a plasma t.v.) I'm talking about love, joy, peace, patience. The type of place that is a haven or a hiding place...
I guess as we prepare to enter the next stage of parenting I'm feeling God give me a new desire. My heart desire is for God to create more than a manicured lawn at our address.
So, let the bike gang hang here again this summer. I will not have a melt down if they make figure 8's in my front yard. Let me find strange pairs of shoes and extra pool towels in my garage. May I run out of ice cream sandwiches and coke the day after I go to the grocery store. It all means there are little ones here. And if there are little ones here......there are little ones needing to be loved. I wouldn't have a manicured lawn over that any day.
Posted by ocean mommy at 4/01/2008 02:03:00 PM