Monday, August 24, 2009

Thoughts from "Ongoing Call" Weekend (#2)

Isn't this tree stunning??? It was in the front yard of the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at last weekend. It has nothing to do with this post, I just wanted to share it with you. :)

The second concept that challenged me last weekend was this.

We need: TRANSFORMATION by the Word, NOT simply information from the Word.

9 years ago I could not have sat under the session this was taught in. That one statement would have sent me running. (Although I would have sat in my seat, my mind would have been somewhere else!)

You see, like so many Christians I had been sitting in church and doing all the things on the “Good Christian Woman’s Checklist”. However, I was ignoring the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life. I refused to shut up long enough to listen because what He had to say I did not want to hear.

Then it happened. I was challenged in an in-depth Bible study to ask God for a heart that loved Him more. I started doing that and before long I could not get enough.

His Word was always alive and active (Heb. 4:12) but to me, it had been years since I had felt it like this. Every passage was new. I was realizing that this was not just a “good book” to live by. It was the very food I needed, and the water I craved. His Word became LIFE to me.

He transformed my thinking. I heard someone once say that “God changed my stinkin’ thinkin’!” THAT my friend is what transformation by the Word of God is all about.

Romans 12 tells us that we should not be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind. (That is only done by being in the Word) Then we will be able to discern what God’s will is. You can’t know what God thinks if you aren’t in God’s word.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (ESV)

From one degree of glory to another. Transformation. It’s part of the process of a growing Christian. God is constantly removing the things that are not beneficial and replacing them with things that can only come from Him.

James 1:21 is precious to me. It says to put off all the junk, filthiness, wickedness….and here’s what excites me: RECEIVE the implanted word. Receive the alive and active word of God and allowing it to change us, from the inside out.

Transformation, not simply information. That’s what I pray you have experienced in your walk with the Father.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thoughts from "OnGoing Call" Weekend ( #1)

It’s Sunday evening and I have just crashed. My body has just stopped, but if I don’t get some of my thoughts down RIGHT NOW I’m going to explode.

The retreat was incredible. Sweet, beautiful and most importantly EAGER ladies joined us in worship and Bible study. It was very clear that the majority of those ladies came expecting to meet with God. THAT is huge.

Jill brought such a powerful message to us Friday and Saturday. There was SO much that hit me between the eyes. Rather than just list those statements or concepts, I’m going to share my top two or three with you over the next week or so.

The concept at the top of my list is nothing new. In fact, if you did the study “Me, Myself and Lies” this summer you will identify with this too. That’s why it’s coming first…I’ve been working on this for two months!!!

This was some of what I wrote down during session 4:

What do I believe about myself?

I will act based on what I believe about myself.

Do I believe what God says about me? Press in to Him and ask Him to reveal what HE believes and says about me.

Hard to chew on isn’t it.

Several years ago I was very hurt by a person. She is several years older than me but her actions were very ummmmmm..... let's just say middle school. She is paranoid about everything. If someone looks at her wrong then she thinks they are out to get her. It's really very sad. I have attempted multiple times over the years to encourage her but she really isn't interested in a healthy relationship with me. For this people pleaser who wants everyone to get along, it has been a very difficult thing.

It hit me this weekend that at some point in her life she has been deeply hurt. She is hurting. She has never dealt with the hurt and has become bitter. The kind of things she says in these verbal assaults make it very clear what she believes about herself.

Unlovable. Worthless. Failure. The enemy is playing with her mind and he is playing hard.

Her actions and words are shocking. The longer I know her, the more bitter and hard she becomes. Here is the sad part.

She is a Christian.

She is an older Christian woman who has been in the church a VERY long time, and yet makes the choice every morning to continue to live in this bondage.

She has chosen to believe the enemy over the One who died to save her. What He believes about her is totally different than what she believes about herself.

She believes she is unlovable. God says she is deeply loved and treasured. He is quite taken with her.

She believes she is worthless. God says He has plans for her beyond her wildest dreams. Plans He thought out for her before He created the Earth! She is worth A LOT!!!

She believes she is a failure. God can take what we feel are failures and restore us and USE US to accomplish the good works He created us to do. Doing what God tells you to do is success!!

I know that for this precious person to live without being paranoid and miserable, she is going to have spend some serious time with Him. There are lots of layers to her heartache, but at the root of it all is this:

She does not believe what God says about her.

To sum up all of this…..

One of the ways to walk in freedom is to know what God says about you.

You can’t know what He says if you aren’t in His love letter to you every day.

You know, we all have issues we need to deal with. We are all in process and until we see Jesus face to face we will be working on something! Why do we make it harder than it has to be!

This summer has been quite a journey. There have been lots of things I have had to lay down. I have worked through quite a bit of junk and still have a pile to go through! BUT, God has taught me that making the choice to believe HIM and what He says about me versus what others say, is the single most freeing thing I can do. As hard as it is to face some of the hurt it is SO worth it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Getting Ready to Hit the Road!!

Freedom's Call will be in Winnsboro, SC this weekend to worship and hear from the Lord with a pretty special group of women. I can. not. wait. It really is my heart's desire to see women engage in worship and then hear God speak to them during Bible study. It is a high like I can't describe and the deepest desire of my heart. I am so honored to serve Him in this way.

Psalm 66:16..."Come, listen and let me tell you what the Lord has done for me!" stood out to be today. It seems that lately God has been showing me that EVERYTHING in my life has been allowed so that I can use it as an avenue to showcase Him.

Job loss, insecurity, financial issues, miscarriage, family issues, even arguments with the man. :) Yep, we had a little disagreement earlier in this week. (To quote Fran, Stupid Devil. Not Chad, the real one. Not that Chad is a pretend one....I'll stop now.)


It ALL has a purpose. ALL of it.

Here is where it got me. While it's never "easy" to stand on a platform, or lead a breakout session where I'm asked to share part of my story...I find it easier to do away from home and people that really KNOW me. Make sense? I guess I feel like I'm going to leave in a few hours and may never see them again. :)

What God is impressing on me is that there are times He asks me to do that at home. In my church, at the pool, in the grocery store check out line, and the kicker: with my family. Conviction came big time because more often than I'm proud to say, I try to "get out of it". Anybody else?

Heavy stuff to be dealing with right as I prepare to leave. I know from past experience that BLESSINGS FOLLOW OBEDIENCE. So why in the world do I fight Him on this?

I'm asking Him today to give me the same passion for my hometown people as I have for the women he allows us to serve on the weekend.

This probably makes NO sense to you and I will probably come home Saturday and ask myself "WHAT?" but right now, I just needed to talk it out. :)

Thanks for listening...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last week I re-arranged our living room furniture. Not really a new thing for me, but this time I didn't plan the re-arrange. It was brought on by a freak accident.

Last Tuesday, Chloe moved our coffee table out of the center of the room so she could practice karate. When she was putting the table back the leg got caught on our area rug and the silver tray on the table went sliding off. The over sized glass jar that was holding some shells and a small bird nest, along with a special tea pot that I was given at a women's retreat several years ago, flew off the tray and shattered into thousands of little glass pieces.

My initial reaction was to make sure Chloe hadn't been cut. She was physically okay, but she was very upset with herself for doing this. She ran upstairs in tears.
Emma and I were right behind her to offer a little love and assure her it was okay!

I let the girls pick out a movie to watch in the loft while I headed back downstairs to clean up the mess.

I started with the big pieces...they were easy to see and get to. Then I started on the smaller pieces. They blended in with the carpet and were harder to see not to mention pick up.

After working for about an hour I wound up moving the area run to make sure I had picked up all the little pieces around the edges. That prompted me to move the entire area rug so I could vacuum under it...then I got the bright idea that I wanted to move the rug to the dining room and totally redo the living room.

The girls got in on the fun and we pushed, pulled tugged and towed the furniture around until we found a "new" look. The hard work was worth it and I'm very happy with the new look in our living room.

God reminded me later in the week that sometimes a life-shattering event can bring about much needed change. Sometimes He uses what we view as a catastrophe to remove the old stuff we've become accustomed to. You know, the junk we hang on to because at one point we thought we couldn't live without it!

The process may be intense and at times hurt, but. The long term benefits are far more valuable than the things we think we've lost. When God takes away that old junk, He replaces it with things like love, joy, peace, patience kindness...self-control.

I'm thankful Chloe broke that glass jar. I'm thankful it forced me to focus on the living room for a LONG TIME last Tuesday afternoon.

God used it to remind me that the glass shattering thing going on in my life right now can be used for His glory. It may be a little while before we get done, but the clean out is going to be a good thing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's Official I am Old

Last Sunday my oldest baby turned 11. Since she was born on a Sunday all day long she talked about what was happening "at that exact time on the day I was born". Even with her friend here, she was watching the clock waiting for 5:28 pm when she would be exactly 11 years old. Goodness I have no idea where she gets this from. :) (Do you see the big ole' finger pointing at her mommy?)

Because of all the stuff going on in our life right now, Chloe thought it would be neat to have a combined family party with her sweet cousins M & M who were 3 the first of August. I'm so glad we decided to do that. With my mamaw's fall and surgery there was no way our family could have come all the way to the ATL this year. This is proof that God cared enough about Chloe to have us plan this ahead of time BEFORE all the stuff with my grandparents came up. He is in the details my friend.

Those three girls had a luau complete with a surfboard birthday cake. We had so much fun visiting with family. I'm hoping that my little brother will e-mail some pictures. (We left for Chattanooga so fast that week my camera was the last thing on my mind and I have NO pictures!)

We spent last week preparing for Chloe's b'day weekend. Chad's dad and stepmother came in late Friday night for a visit. Chloe was thrilled to have them here. Zuzu had been here last month when all our cousins were here, but Granddaddy wasn't able to come. It had been too long since our last visit.

We had a very lazy weekend. Saturday we had a special pre-b'day dinner at Medieval Times. Here we are before the girls scooted Chad around so they could sit with their grandparents.

We were blessed to have front row seats so we could talk to our Knight. He even gave Chloe flowers and Emma the ribbon sash thingy.. Sorry, I don't remember the official name!

Saturday night we had cake, ice cream and gifts.

We made the decision a couple of weeks ago to disconnect our home telephone. The only calls we received on that line were for Chloe! After a few days of my cell phone receiving LOTS of Chloe calls, we decided to surprise her with her own cell phone. She has VERY strict rules and will be sitting with down with Chad and I to sign a contract agreeing to the rules. Here she is shortly after she opened her eyes to see what Dad had placed in her hands. I love that you can see Granddaddy in the background calling her. :)

We have started a new tradition of working a puzzle a week so we spent the majority of the weekend trying to finish that blasted puzzle that I will never work again. :) THAT one was too much for me. We finished about 11:00 Saturday night. (Well, the adults finished. The girls gave up and went to bed!)

On her actual day, she invited her best girlfriend over. G.L. and Chloe spent the afternoon swimming, giggling, singing and just being girls. We talked about "middle school" and how nervous they both were. It was a sweet day. A simple b'day but sweet and one that holds extra special memories for Chloe.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Summer Pick Me Up Winner

Happy Monday!!! I'm so excited to give away this CD! Our Winner is:

Tiffany! My old elementary carpool buddy. :)

Okay Tiffany, e-mail your address and I'll get your CD out to you this week!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Need an End of Summer Pick Me Up? Me too...How About a New CD?

Boy I sure did need a pick me up!! We took off for Chattanooga on Tuesday morning. And by took off I mean...we packed fast and I forgot my favorite pair of flip flops and the pants to my second favorite pair of pj's. (After San Antonio last year, I have this thing about sleeping in the same pj's two nights in a row thank you very much Jenny Hope!)

I'm thrilled to tell you that after a very touch and go day, my 92 year old grandmother surprised everyone and did great in her surgery last Tuesday. God was gracious and He anointed that surgeon. (Who by the way, is precious man of God. If you are in Chattanooga and need a good orthopedic Doc. e-mail me! This is one Doctor you WANT.)

Mamaw is now in a nursing home working on getting back on her feet. We are praying that she will participate in her therapy, work hard and be well enough to move to an assisted living facility. Lots of decisions for my parents who are both only children. It's in times like this, I wish I was closer.

So about that pick me up....

The week before I left, I had an e-mail from a sweet intern with Provident Label group asking if I would be interested in listening to a new sister duo. Of course I said yes and I was introduced to Tal and Acacia. They have a Nora Jones or Six Pence None the Richer sound and I LOVE them.

Of course the CD package arrived while I was helping my parents last week. Chad brought it to me last weekend when he joined us in Chattanooga. Sweet Rachel put not one, but 2 preview CD's in there!!!

Chloe and I listened to it on our drive back to the ATL on Sunday. She loved this sister duo as much as I did and maybe a little more. While I like each song on the album, "Yahweh" is ministering to me right now. I LOVE THE LYRICS TO THIS SONG!!!!

Quirky is one adjective their site uses to describe them. I say, FUN, refreshing and the perfect end of summer pick me up! SOOOOOOOOO.

FIRST: Go HERE and listen to the three songs on the playlist.

SECOND: Come back here and tell me which one speaks to you right now.

THIRD: Tell your Internet friends.(Or imaginary friends as my daughters call you)AND COME BACK NEXT WEEK! I'll be giving away one of the preview copies on Monday August 10!!!

I'm going to try and type my LPM verse from memory here. It is the verse that has kept me going over the last few weeks.

He who dwells in the shelter of the MOST HIGH will rest in the shadow of the ALMIGHTY!!! Psalm 91:1