Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Waiting for My Go

For so long posting on my blog was effortless but since August I have struggled. Part of that struggle was because I felt like I did not have freedom to post. Don't get me wrong, my head would say, "Oh that is a post!" but the Holy Spirit would say "Wait...you are not ready to post that yet."

Most of the fall, I've been waiting for God's "WAIT" to turn into "Go."

I feel in my heart that "GO" is coming in January.

I'm thrilled and excited and praying that the two of you who still stop by will join the conversation. The topic you ask?

Well...it was birthed from this post.

I shared the link to this post on my FaceBook page back in October. Under the link in the comments, one of you said that you agreed, but you were honest enough to say what I believe a LOT of us are feeling! Here is this precious friend's comment:

"thanks, exactly on my mind already last week or so, I just don't know how, you know? Seems like everything is a no, honestly I feel sort of stuck. I am praying though, anyways, thank you for sharing"

If we are honest, there are times we ALL feel like everything is a "no". This comment pinched a nerve in my heart and I have not been able to forget it.

Let's talk about it! Let's start a conversation...bounce ideas around...better than that...

Let's open up God's word and see what He says about personal holiness and purity! And HOW IN THE WORLD, do we live a holy life in this unholy world!

I'm praying you will join us, goodness knows we need each other.


As we begin a new year, will you join me? Let's walk this road together and encourage each other to apply Philippians 4:8 to our everyday life.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thanksgiving Days 3, 4 and 5

As I'm counting the things I'm grateful for, my precious daughters hold an extra special place. We've been home from our mission trip a little over a week now. I can honestly say, I have never been more proud of them.

Serving on the school team with some of favorite ladies and my daughters was incredible. Precious memories were made. Honestly, my heart is undone and I can hardly speak of this trip without tears.

Here are just a few pictures from the week.

Emma hanging out before dinner one evening. Laurel Lake Camp was the beautiful place we called "home" while there. I would love to escape there for a few days and write music.

Chloe playing with some of our "props". These shoes belong to my friend Sarah and were part of our program. Emma attempted to walk in them as she tried to be a supermodel...but since that wasn't what God made her to be, it didn't work out for her.

Chloe and Emma with Scratch. (My friend Michelle) Scratch was the STAR. :)

This is my favorite picture because it was a Ebenezer moment for my baby. Emma had the privilege to help our Shelter team serve dinner one evening. She is still talking about meeting the people staying at the shelter and serving them dinner. She says that she is going to ask to spend time at the shelter next year. (If God tells us to go back.)

At the end of our program, the girls have learned that being who God designed you to be is the best. They did a short karate demo at the end. This was taken at out very last program on Wednesday night. We had three programs that day and we were all tired, but God brought some very special children that evening and it was an honor to serve them.

Moving through my thanksgiving list, this year I'm incredibly thankful for God's word. This year, I have been reading through the Bible. I can testify to the fact that each and every time I sit down and say "God, speak to me today. Show me how to apply this to my life.", He does. His Word is powerful, yet tender and always life changing. His Word is my lifeline and I can not imagine doing life without it or Him!

Finally, tonight I am thankful for Sabbath time. Since Deeper Still in June, God has been placing the concept of Sabbath time in front of me. I have been hit and miss at taking concentrated time to sit still and quiet with God. After our mission trip, God REALLY impressed on my heart that I needed to have some daily "Sabbath time". Each day this week I have done just that. Tuesday, the girls were at school and I had the house to myself. No t.v., no computer. Other than my Bible, no books not even my Bible study. Just me and God. I read a little then was still. It was incredible.

What a special time He and I have had. I'm just beginning to understand the reason He commands us to take Sabbath...to REST. He continues to use my life verse to woo me to take Sabbath time.

Deuteronomy 33:12

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”

My children.

His Word.

Time with Him.

Three things that have changed my life and for that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 1 and 2

Thanks to Facebook,November has become my favorite month. Over the last few years, I have LOVED watching people post the things they are thankful for. Yesterday, along with some of you, I kicked off my month of thanksgiving. My first post was a simple one. I am thankful for a warm home.

After our trip last week, where we looked poverty in the face, I am consumed with gratitude for a warm and safe home. It is a gift. This year, I am sincerely grateful for this place God has given us.

When I say I'm thankful for this warm home, I am speaking of more than the physical dwelling place. I'm referring to the spiritual "place" God has brought us. One of my memory verses from early in the year says "He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers." Deut. 6:23

I believe with all my heart that the home we live in is our "promised land". It is the safe place that God has given us for this season of our life. Last January I had NO idea 2011 would be a year of moving for us! Selling the old house, moving to the new house was not on my radar at all!! But it was God's plan for us. We have seen His faithfulness in a new way in 2011 and selling the old house and moving to the new was just a small part of it.

Today, I am thankful for my husband and his work ethic. I'm thankful that his desire is for me to be at home with our girls. I'm thankful that he is willing to sacrifice "fun stuff" to make this happen. It isn't always the most popular or understood choice and I'm thankful he is willing to take a stand on what God has called our family to. God has truly changed our hearts on this topic and I'm thankful that Chad puts God's plan before his own.

Ezekiel 36:26 speaks exactly to this, "And I will give you a new heart,and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."

I'm thankful that God gave us both heart transplants and that our heart desires are the same.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day??

Because I have spent the last week preparing for our mission trip, I have been quiet on the old blog. We leave after church tomorrow. The car is packed and we have done all we can do to prepare, and yet my heart is not sure it is ready.

I was thinking back to the day we committed to go and the excitement we all felt. It wasn't long after that day that God put a passage of scripture on my heart. That very passage was a huge part of this week in my 8th grade girls Bible study. Isn't it just like God to drop it right in front of me again!!?!?!

Genesis 16 tells the story of Sarah and Hagar.

Hagar had been used and mistreated by Sarah. She ran away. She left the family camp and found herself in the desert alone and pregnant. Then God, who had never taken his eyes off of her, sends an angel to give her some guidance.

There is SO much in this story, but the thing that has been on my heart for several months happens in verse 13.

Hagar identifies God as el-roi, God who sees.

God had seen her used. He was fully aware that Hagar despised Sarah and probably had a bad attitude toward her. He saw Sarah mistreat her and He knew the minute she fled into the desert to escape.

Can you imagine what she must of felt like? Sitting in the desert alone when the Angel of the Lord appears? In the next few moments she would realize that she was NOT alone. She was NOT forgotten.

All of us have had times where we feel a bit like Hagar. Used, mistreated, and maybe even forgotten. You may feel that way today. Perhaps you need to be reminded that God sees Y.O.U. He is fully aware of your heartache. You, sweet one, are not forgotten. God knows. God sees.

As we prepare to go this week, God has reminded me that we represent Him. We are to remind those children and their teachers that HE SEES them. He is VERY aware of
each detail of their life.

As we have prayed over the details of this week, I feel strongly that this will be a seed planting trip. I can not imagine sweeter seed to plant than "God sees you. God loves you."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This will make someone mad. 31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 12

This morning, I was catching up in Ezekiel. Instead of one chapter, I needed to read two. (Chapters 33 and 34) As I read chapter 33, verses 30-32 seemed very, well...strong to me. They made me think of other scriptures and I honestly thought about my 8th grade girls lesson tonight and how it tied into what we'll be discussing. And then...

I checked twitter. I saw a tweet that just absolutely burned me up and THIS passage immediately came back to mind. But this time, it came as a challenge to me.

First here is what Ezekiel 33:30-32 say. (This is from the ESV)

As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.' And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.

Oh, it gets better...read it from The Message.

As for you, son of man, you've become quite the talk of the town. Your people meet on street corners and in front of their houses and say, 'Let's go hear the latest news from God.' They show up, as people tend to do, and sit in your company. They listen to you speak, but don't do a thing you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead. To them you're merely entertainment—a country singer of sad love songs, playing a guitar. They love to hear you talk, but nothing comes of it.

So here is the tweet that burned me up.

On the cover of Seventeen Magazine: Be His Best Hook-Up Yet!

As a mom of a teen and a tween I am absolutely infuriated at this, but at the very same time, God is convicting me.

Convicting me that we Christian moms have spent a little too much time doing church and "churchy" activities. We have listened to pastors, Bible teachers, worship leaders speak. We have said "Amen" and "That's so true" and then we walk away and live life.

We watch the same television shows the world does because it is "just entertainment".

We listen to the same music because we "admire the talent of the artist".

We dress in the latest styles and trends regardless of whether or not it's modest because we "need to be relevant".

The list could go on and on. But this morning.

This morning when I read that tweet...I got physically sick because in all our attempts to fit in or be well liked...

We have sacrificed personal holiness on the alter of being "relevant."

The purity of our daughters mind, body and emotions are now being assaulted.

As Christian parents, God has called us to more. It's time to makes some changes.

It's time to as James demands...quit being hearers only! (James 1:22)

It's time we quit saying things like "well...it's okay for them to listen, watch, read (fill in the blank) because they know what the truth is and it's just entertainment." Sorry. Not an excuse.

Three times it says in Song of Solomon Do not arouse or awaken love. THREE times. (2:7, 3:5 and 8:4) The vast majority of media (T.V. Music, Magazines, Books) our children are exposed to, are nothing but an alarm clock to passion. And this alarm clock? Well, until we say "I do" should NOT be ringing.

Here is what God pressed on my heart.

As Christian parents it's time to stop wimping out in regards to our children's emotional, physical and spiritual purity.

WE, have to be willing to take a stand. Willing to say "no". Willing to change what we allow to invade our homes. Through the television, the clothes we purchase, the books we read. And not just for our children, for ourselves.

We have to stop being "churchy" and be Christlike.

It's time we stop allowing culture to influence our homes and start asking God..."is this acceptable for our family."

Will we be asked to walk away from all sorts of things that right now may seem okay? Yes, we probably will. Philippians 4:8. I know at least 80% of what is in my DVR right now turns the stomach of God.

Will it be hard? Yes. Isaiah 55:8 His thoughts and ways are not mine and His, are much purer than mine.

Will we be faced with questions from family, friends and even other believers? Yes.

Is it really necessary to set ourselves apart and be so extreme? Yes. Why?

Because as 1 Peter 1:13-16 says,

Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

1 Peter 5:8 tells us that our enemy is waiting to devour us. We don't have time to worry about sticking out or being strange.

The physical, emotional and spiritual health of our children are at stake.

Mom and Dad, it's time to quit having our ears tickled and start applying what God's word says to our everyday life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days Transforming my Quiet Time (Days 8-11)

Over the last few days, God has been reminding me why time with Him is so important. Our weekend was crazy busy. This is very unusual for our family as we are careful to guard our weekend family time. Last weekend was one of those few weekends where each day was F.U.L.L. BUT..

Each thing was very important and we had an awesome weekend! (Well, all good except TN's loss to GA which resulted in a tacky GA flag being placed in our yard for the week!)

I will admit that I did not get to my quiet time first thing Saturday morning. We had to leave our house at 7:30 that morning and I slept until 6:00. My body was tired and I needed that extra hour. It was totally okay, God gave me some time a little later.

Sunday morning was an early wake up. Chad left at 4:15 AM for a triathlon so I was awake SUPER early. I spent a little time just being still. Awake, but just thinking about God. I thought about how The Message words Psalm 46:10

Step out of the traffic, take a LONG, LOVING, LOOK at me, your High God.

God didn't prompt me to turn on the light and pick up my Bible. I felt at complete peace just being still in His Presence.

And He spoke to my heart.

Since the beginning of school I have felt like I'm on a roller coaster. (Which I do NOT like at.all.) God has totally changed my direction in some areas. I love what He has me doing but at times, it can seem a bit overwhelming. He is stretching me.

Last weekend, I was emotionally exhausted. The longer I concentrated or meditated on Him, the more scripture He brought to mind. I simply needed to be still long enough for God to do a little heart rejuvenation. :)

Those few hours early Sunday morning were precious to me. It was sort of like a mini-retreat before the day began.

Here is where I'm at in my daily reading.

For Today:
Psalm 71
1 Kings 6
Ezekiel 33
Romans 5:1-11

I still have to read Ezekiel and Romans tonight. So from what I have read today, my light bulb verse is Psalm 71:18

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

Friday, October 7, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 7 Praying for the Nations

God has certainly been showing off around these parts lately. One way He has shown His handiwork is in this weather. It has been absolutely beautiful today! When I came out of school today, I gasped at just how beautiful it was outside. In fact, I feel like I was living my light bulb verse of the day.

Psalm 67:1-2 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among the nations.

Sunday evening our service will be focused on praying for the nations. I've been thinking about that service quite a bit. As I read this Psalm today, I couldn't help but notice a few things as I prepare my heart for that service.

First, this Psalm has 7 verses. In those verses the word nation is used 3 times.
(I should tell you that I'm reading in the ESV.)

Verse 2 states the sole purpose for God's way being made known is so His saving power may be known in all nations.

Verse 4 says "Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity, and guide the nations upon earth." We can rejoice that we have a just God. Our God's heart is for ALL to know Him.

The second thing that stuck out was the phrase "let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!" Twice it appears. That fairly long phrase is found in verse 3 and again in verse 5. The only difference was that in verse 5b it said "let ALL the peoples praise you!" Once again...ALL.

Side note - Our God is not exclusive. We do not belong to some hooty tooty religious organization that you have to do something to be part of. This is not some multi-level get to heaven quick scam. Nope.

God sent His son Jesus to do die for ALL. Our God is after a personal one-on-one, heart to heart relationship with you.

The last thing that changed my day was in verses 1 and 2. I posted it above but read it again here.

"May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among the nations."

This morning it was easy to feel like God had been gracious, has blessed and made His face to shine upon us. Just look at the country we live in. Despite our problems, we still have the freedom to worship. We are free to blog about what we believe. Free To educate our children in the manner we feel best. Our list could go on and on. But today.

Today, I realized that the very well known prayer "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us" doesn't end where we often hear it end. How selfish of us for praying that way!

Properly positioned Christians pray this, dare I say, LONG for this blessing for one reason and one reason only:

"that your way" that would be GOD'S way, "may be known on earth, your saving power among all the nations."

One of my daughters is seriously praying for Christ return. It's heavy on her little heart. We've daydreamed about the moment God the Father looks at Jesus and says..."Go get them". Until that time we pray for the nations. The one we live in and the ones we have never set foot in.

Praying for those that have yet to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Praying that soon, very soon...that last person will say "Jesus, save me."

We have been blessed. God has been gracious to us and His face...it has been shining on us.

Now it's our turn. Our turn to pour ourselves out.

And we do just that until the last person has been told.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 6

Yesterday I said that I needed a commentary for Ezekiel because I was just struggling. Wouldn’t you know that this morning my light bulb moment was the entire passage from Ezekiel? God is so good.

Before getting to that here is what my reading plan had for me this morning:

Psalm 66
1 Kings 1:28-53
Romans 1:18-32
Ezekiel 27

Oh Ezekiel. This morning, as I read the caption above chapter 27 my heart kind of sank. It said “A Lament for Tyre”, it was early and I wasn’t sure a “lament” was going to speak to my heart. I prayed Luke 24:45 asking God to open my mind and help me understand this passage.

Tyre. Its location enabled this city to become an international commodities exchange. Many nations traded there and this little dot on the map became quite wealthy during Ezekiel’s time.

The first part of the chapter gives you a vivid picture of that wealth. Words such as emeralds, purple, embroidered work, coral, and ruby are used to describe the trade going on. Tarshish, Syria, Damascus, Arabia and Kedar were all listed as nations that did business with and in this city. It’s fair to say this place was well known, busy and full of luxury.

Tyre is described in this passage as merchant ship. A ship that is exquisite in detail. Verse 25 says that Tyre was filled and heavily laden in the heart of the seas. There was great wealth. The best of the best in every area. From those who designed and constructed this ship, to the pilots, all the way down to the ones doing the rowing, only the strongest, most skilled people were employed.

This great city had it all. Verse 33 even says that, When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples; with your abundant wealth and merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth.

But all the wealth, all the success could not stop what happened next. This picture of success was shipwrecked.

Verse 34 says Now you are wrecked by the seas, in the depths of the water; your merchandise and all your crew in your midst have sunk with you. Verse36b ends the chapter saying you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.

What God spoke to my heart this morning was this:

Great wealth can be used to change the world. It can make a great impact on those in need. Taking care of the poor, the orphans, the widows and the hungry is a biblical concept. It is the heart of our God and we as Christians are called to do that.

However, if at the moment of our “shipwreck” or death…good works are not going to save us. Our good works, without Jesus are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6 says that all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.)

Each of us has been God given gifts, talents and abilities.

If we take those abilities and create things that change our world for the better – it is good.

If we take the money we make from those things and give it away- it is great!

If we do everything in our power to make sure our family is first and taken care of-we have done what we should do.

If we live a life of generosity, but die without Jesus……

Jesus says in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.”

This morning, God reminded me that any life that ends without Jesus ends as Tyre ended…dreadfully

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 5

This morning's reading started with Psalm 65. This Thanksgiving Psalm reminded me just how great our God is. Every breath of my being is thankful this morning for Him. As verse 5 says He is the hope of all the ends of the earth! He really is my hope. Even in lean times, He faithfully crowns the year with his bounty and His wagon tracks overflow with abundance. (See verse 11) Just another visual that HE IS FAITHFUL and that He provides what we need in each season.

Verse 4b was my favorite it says "We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple." My prayer today is that my family will be satisfied or full, not with earthly tangible things, but with the simple goodness of God.

After Psalm 65 my reading plan had me start a new book, 1 Kings. Today was chapter 1 verses 1-27 where God reminded me that even when men try to elevate themselves into positions designated for another, God is in control. Nothing and no one can stop God's plan.

We can manipulate situations to advance ourselves all day long, but ultimately, God's plan will prevail. 1 Peter 5:6 says to Humble yourself under God's mighty hand so that at the proper time he can exalt you. Maybe today you feel like you deserve something, or you feel called to a specific thing, but something or someone is already in that place. Can I just encourage you to put yourself under God's hand and keep your eyes fixed on Him. He will move you at the proper time. Don't rush Him! My friend Patty once said, you don't keep what you have received through manipulation. Don't try to make something happen before it's time. I can tell you from personal experience, it isn't worth it!

While that passage in 1 Kings was my light bulb passage for today, my reading plan checklist wasn't done. Next was Ezekiel 26 and I will just confess:

Ezekiel is hard for me. I'm thinking I need a commentary to go along with it.I'm making it, but for whatever reason, it is hard for me to focus. (Which means good stuff is in there and I need to go back and read it again.)

Finally, we were in Romans 1:18-32. So much good stuff in those verses. But in keeping with the stand out verses from Psalm and 1 Kings, verses 24-25 really hit home. Verse 25 says,

they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator...

God tied it all together with that verse. Sometimes we make an exchange. An exchange that when spoken makes our stomachs turn. I can say it because I have done it. Sometimes WE are the creature we worship. Sometimes we take the blessings, the gifts God has given us and we simply worship them. We place ourselves on an altar and worship the almighty "ME", instead of the Almighty. Speaking from experience, it's really a miserable place to be. In my situation, I took a good thing, a God given thing and twisted it into a god that I adored. It was a slow slide to the exchange counter and when I got there, I walked away with a divided heart. A heart focused on me. All the while labeling my little god "ministry".

Today, I am so thankful that God forgives. Thankful that in each season, He has specific things for us to do! (Even when we have failed in the season before!) His plan for me, for you is good. Nothing can stop what the Almighty has planned for you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days Transforming My Quiet Time Day 4

Today, I finished 2 Samuel, and was in Psalm 64, Ezekiel 25 and Romans 1:1-17.

Before I share what my light bulb moment was, I have to say that God woke me up at 4:11. Yes, 4:11. He woke me up with a friend's mom on my heart. She had surgery this morning and I felt the urge to pray for her. So I stayed tucked warm in my bed and prayed. At 5:30, I got up to come downstairs for quiet time. Looking back, I should have put my feet on the floor at 4:11 when God woke me up. In some way, I feel like I missed something He wanted to show me early in the morning.

Today's light bulb moment wasn't a new verse, but with this morning's wake up call, it hit a little closer to the heart.

It's 2 Samuel 24:24b. "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing."

This morning, my heart was reminded that I need to give God my best each and every day. Whatever I am doing, laundry, teaching Bible study, playing with my girls, cooking dinner, whatever He has for me today...MUST BE DONE with that mindset and attitude of worship. These daily actions are an offering to my Lord. An offering that is going to cost me something.

I wouldn't think of putting a partially cooked meal in front of my family. (Well, not on purpose!)So how dare I offer God a "partial" offering. That's how I feel about that 4:11 wake up call.

God woke me up and I stayed in my warm comfortable bed. THEN after a little while, when I was ready to, I got up to spend time with Him. I made the wrong choice. Sure, being out of the bed way before the sun comes up would cost me a few minutes of sleep. BUT, what God had to offer me would far outweigh that extra 10 minutes.

If tomorrow morning He sees fit to wake me up at 4:11, you better believe my feet will be headed downstairs to sit a while with my Savior.

The coffee is already set! All I have to do is hit that beautiful four letter word: BREW. :)

Anticipating Him!

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 Days - Transforming My Quiet Time (day 3)

Welcome! I'm glad you are here. I'm on a 31 Day journey to start my day with God's word. Over the next month, I'm making a very focused effort to dive into my Bible before I dive into my Bible study. You see, I have been putting those tools (as much as I love them and as awesome as they are)ahead of God's word and it should always come first.

I realized last night that I failed to list the scripture that I read yesterday. So today, I'm starting with that!

Psalm 63
2 Samuel 23:8-39
Ezekiel 24
Luke 24

A couple of things stuck out this morning, first was Luke 24:45.

This is after the resurrection and Jesus has appeared to his disciples. Verse 45 says:

"Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.."

I found myself praying God open my mind to understand your Word. If He did it for them, I know He will do it for me.

My biggest light bulb verse or maybe I should say passage was Psalm 63. Verse 1 says "earnestly I seek you." The word earnestly is the Hebrew word Shachar meaning to seek early, or to look diligently for. Rising in immediate pursuit.

I began to notice some SOUL references and those are what stood out the most.

"my SOUL thirsts for you" (vs 1b)

"my SOUL will be satisfied" (vs 5a)

"my SOUL clings to you" (vs 8a)

This morning God showed me that the more I make this deliberate effort to seek His word, the more my soul will crave Him and His word.

God, help me to be satisfied with you, yet completely unsatisfied. I am clinging to you. You alone can satisfy.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days - Transforming My Quiet Time (Day 2)

So I missed "day 1".

We had the joy of having some family in town this weekend and I have been completely away from the computer. :) So I guess I am technically a day late in starting. I'm giving myself permission.

Today my stand out or light bulb verse was from 2 Samuel. My reading plan had me in chapter 22 and the first part of 23. Chapter 22 is noted as "David's Song of Deliverance" in my Bible. I kept thinking it sounded like a Psalm and sure enough after a little bit of flipping back and forth,I found it. 2 Samuel 22 lines up with Psalm 18.

The verse that captured my heart this morning was 2 Samuel 22:20

He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

This verse sums up my year so far. God has brought our family to a broad or spacious place and yes, God rescued us. But today, what struck me was the simple thought that God delights in me.

For a moment, I daydreamed about the things I delight in.

My husband and children, our extended family and nieces and nephews were at the top. My piano and the time with the Lord there, along with the friends God has given us here in GA came to mind. Your list probably sounds similar.

And then I thought of the rose bushes at our old house. The house God sold earlier in the year so that He could place us here. (We call it our spacious place because of the peace that He gave during that entire process.)

I loved those bushes.

At the first sign of a rose I would start watching. It never failed when one or two buds started to form, it wouldn't be long until all the bushes would be full. It was a delight to watch, water, talk to and wait for them to open up.

Then after a little while, it would be time to pinch off the old wilted flower so new buds could grow. It is the only thing from the old house that I really miss. They were a delight to this heart.

What was extra special this morning was the way God tied it all together for me.

Our Pastor preached this morning from John 15. As he taught, I was reminded again that as a Christian that is producing fruit, our vine dresser, Almighty God, will prune us.

Then it hit me, God tied my light bulb verse in with this sermon on gardening.

Our holy, righteous, most high God is constantly "gardening" us, not because He has to, but because He WANTS to. He has very specific fruit for us to produce. Fruit that is one of a kind.

He WANTS to see us produce this fruit because He delights in us.

We are His delight. I am His delight. YOU are His delight.

That absolutely takes my breath away. Sometimes you just need to be reminded that in all his holiness, his majesty, his power...

God Almighty is still our Abba Daddy.

And our Abba Daddy delights in His children.

Monday, September 26, 2011

31 Days of Change

Starting October first, I'm going to participate in The Nester's 31 Days of Change.

Psalm 143:8
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go,for to you I lift up my soul.

This year I have been following a reading plan in the back of my study Bible. I have been blown away at the ways God has spoken to me in books I knew little about like Amos or Habakkuk.

However, there have been days when I dive in the Bible study I'm involved in and the homework that it requires and before I know it, my daily reading of God's word has been pushed to my bedtime reading.

Thus the reason for the change in how I "do" my personal time in God's word.

Please, Please, PLEASE hear me:

Bible studies are awesome! I love them and God has used so many to speak very direct things to my heart. I cannot emphasize how important a small group Bible study is. If you don't have one, start asking God to direct your steps to one! He will I promise!

God has been reminding me this year that devotional books, Bible studies,and even e-mail type devotions are all great! But, they are NOT God's Word. They are tools given to us to help us in the study of God's Word, but NOTHING can take the place of the inspired Word of God.

As much as I love diving into an indepth Bible study with a group of women, I LOVE the times when God's words speaks directly to me. God has specific things to say to us as individuals and the primary way He speaks is through His word.

So, beginning October 1 I will list the passages I've read and then I'll share what I call my "light bulb" verse or verses from those passages and why. I attempt to do this in my journal each day and it's not always pretty. Sometimes those verses sting a little, other times I find them to bring such comfort. EVERY day, I find that God's Word gives me what I need FOR THAT DAY.

2 Timothy 3:26 says,

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

I'm praying that you will join me! Maybe you'll start reading those passages and journal on your own what God says to you. If you want to leave a comment and share with us that's great! If not, that is okay!

I will say this. The girls and I are going on a mission trip towards the end of October. We will be gone several days and the area we will be in has limited internet access.


I'm going to attempt to post a shorter version each day from my phone. It may or may not work! If it doesn't, I will play post catch up when we get home. :)

Your prayers for our team and this trip would be SO appreciated!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lessons from my 8th Graders


18 8th grade girls. They are beautiful, funny, loud, tenderhearted, honest, loud, serious, outspoken, silly, and did I mention loud? :)

Two leaders sit with them and we talk about the word beautiful. We ALL share our funny quirks. (Like counting the number of strokes of deodorant we put on) We talk quite frankly about struggles and I am amazed.

Amazed at their honesty. Not many adult women would sit in a room with 18 other ladies and share their personal struggles with the word beautiful.

They remind me of myself at that age. More than ever I feel the urgency to pour truth into them. We want them to not just "know" they are precious, we want them to BELIEVE it and walk in that. We want them to know how valuable they are and that God's plan for their life is so much wilder than anything they can imagine! That His ways are best. They are not always easy, but they are the best.

Last week I asked them to read Psalm 139 and ask God for a "light-bulb" verse. They were to write that verse on a notecard and work on memorizing it. I was blown away at their response. Of those that shared their light bulb verse,(Like 14 of them!) few had the same verse. That group almost memorized all 24 verses!

I fully expected verses 1-4 to be popular and even 13 and 14...but two girls picked the tough ones. Verses 23 and 24.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

I was a bit shocked that two girls picked these two verses to memorize. They aren't the "feel good" verses. Nope, they are the hard ones.

They are the verses that say, "God, take your flashlight and shine it on my heart. Illuminate my motives, my ambitions, my worries, the junk that needs to go. I give you access to point them out. I am listening. Show me what does not line up with your word and show me the next step to take."

These girls were giving God free reign to point out what needed to be changed.

Brave aren't they?

They totally challenged me this week to pray the same prayer.

I can not wait to see what they teach me next week.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Watching His Hand

Over the last week or so, I've been concentrating on verses like, Psalm 34:5, Psalm 45:11 and one of my all time favorite passages, Psalm 139.

I've been pondering words like beautiful, confidence, security. Comparing my definition to the dictionary, and then lining those up against God's Word.

I've been thinking that sometimes what we feel is REAL is not TRUTH. AND when our actions or reactions are based upon our feelings instead of truth...there is usually trouble.

Here is why I entitled this post watching His hand.

I just put the final touches and e-mailed my middle school Bible study homework to our awesome student ministry assistant. We are adapting a book to group study and writing our own homework each week. Challenging? Yes. A little daunting? You better believe it, but oh my goodness... it.was.fun. :) The topic? Well, we are talking about all those words I've been pondering. We will spend 14 weeks looking at what God says about the word beautiful.

In the morning my Bible study group dives into week one of So Long Insecurity. Part of the reason I feel so full tonight is that this study goes hand in hand with what we are doing with our middle school girls on Wednesday evenings. Only God could have orchestrated the timing of this.

In my life, insecurity has been the welcome wagon to places I said I'd never go. I desperately want these young ladies to grasp the importance of placing all their hope, affection, confidence, and security in Jesus Christ.

My heart's desire is that they live Ephesians 3:17-19:

so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 are part of our study in the morning, but I know that I will be sharing it with my girls on Wednesday evening. I pray that this year ALL of our roots, teachers and students, grow deeper and stronger.

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought,and never fails to bear fruit.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Living Habakkuk 2:3

Everything in me wishes we were sitting across a table from each other. I with my grande white chocolate mocha and you with your favorite coffee or tea.

I would ask you if you were waiting on anything. Specifically, are you waiting on God to complete anything in your life....

Why THAT question? I'm glad you asked. :)

Last week THIS verse popped up in my daily reading and I absolutely loved the timing of it.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)

God is so faithful. This week I will live this verse. A desire and dream has come to its appointed time. It has been four years since this was placed on my heart.

Four years. Not a long time in the big picture, but at times it seemed like it would never happen. It did seem slow, and honestly last fall, I felt like God forgot.

But He didn't. God does not forget anyone and He definitely doesn't forget when He places a calling on your life. He used a difficult time to remind me that when we are completely surrendered to Him, He will use each and every piece of our life for His glory.

So here I sit, a few days from this vision coming to life. And I am in awe of my God. Here are a few things He has put in my face over the last few days.

2 Peter 3:9a says, The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise

When He starts something, He finishes it. (Phil. 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion...)

Finally, this verse. This verse jumped out of my daily reading two weeks ago and I could not get away from it. God kept giving me confirmations, encouragement that YES, this was the time to do this thing..but yet I was still battling some fear about the whole thing. This is what He gave me.

1 Samuel 10:7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

God is with you. What else can a girl ask for.

So, I'll ask you...

What are you waiting on? It would be an honor to pray with you during the wait. And an even bigger honor to rejoice with you when the appointed time comes! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life Lessons - Psalm 19:14

Because I spent many years using my words and mouth in an ungodly way, I am super sensitive to what I call "mouth issues". Psalm 19:14 is a daily prayer for me. It's a power verse that I MUST pray each morning. It simply says,

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Part of my past mouth issue had to do with a lack of a filter. It wasn't that I was cursing or speaking inappropriately. I was just being "in your face", often times with scripture to back up what I would say. I could speak the truth, it was the "in love" part I struggled with.

In love. God began to show me that I was wrong. My in your face, outspoken harshness was wrong. It caused hurt feelings and instead of showing people to Him, it repulsed them and pushed them away from God. He gave me a list of names and I had to go apologize for my words. One occurrence had taken place several years before and I wasn't even sure the person would remember who I was. But, I did it. It was the hardest e-mail I have ever typed. (The offense had been in a letter, so God gave me permission to apologize in the same manner.)

Another issue with my mouth was the amount of time it was engaged. :) You can ask my Mom and she will testify to the fact that I love to talk. Non-stop. My poor sister had to endure it while we shared a bedroom. Talk. Talk. Talk. And really, a lot of what I talked about was...nothing. I wasted so much air! :)

But God's word. I began to fall in love with His word like never before and as Psalm 119:130 says it brought light to what needed to change and gave understanding to this simple mind.

I love what verses 130-133 say.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.

Verse 131 says I open my mouth and pant. If my mouth is open and panting...I can't talk. My mouth, going non-stop (even about good things) kept me from hearing those around me. My mind was so focused on what I was going to say next that I didn't give those around me an opportunity to speak and even worse....it kept me from hearing God. Being quiet was a foreign concept and my listening skills were seriously poor.

Then came Ecclesiastes 5. Lord have mercy it just about did me in. I'll just share it from the Message because, well...it's the translation that stung the most.

Verses 2-5a say,

Don't shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think. Don't be too quick to tell God what you think he wants to hear. God's in charge, not you—the less you speak, the better. Overwork makes for restless sleep. Overtalk shows you up as a fool. When you tell God you'll do something, do it—now. God takes no pleasure in foolish gabble.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because last week, I had an opportunity to discuss this very personal lesson with one of my children. Not because of something they had done, but because of something they were dealing with. I could see myself in the offender. It was an opportunity to talk about holy words and using our mouths to bring glory to God. And that was what we did.

And then I blew it. In an attempt to be funny, I tweeted/Facebooked something I should not have. I knew as soon as I had hit "send" on my phone I shouldn't have. But I did not immediately remove it. The longer I sat there,and watched the comments the sicker I became. I could feel the Holy Spirit stirring in me, reminding me of the conversation I had with my child just a few hours before. Conviction.

I removed the post and if I had not been in a public place (in a dress) I would have been flat on my face. In my mind I was. I thanked God that it was his kindness that led me to repentance. And then I came home and looked up the passage that phrase is found in. Once again, here it is in the message.

Romans 2:2-4

Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done.

You didn't think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.

Tonight, I am so sad that I grieved the heart of God. Mad that I fell into that old trap. At the same time, I'm overwhelmed at the kindness and forgiveness of my Savior.

If anything good came of last weeks situation, it was the reminder that we are all in process. The minute I think I would "never" slip into an old habit, is the minute I'm probably going to trip. But His kindness...

Always leads us to repentance. Repentance to restoration.

And restoration? That is what I am after.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Processing the Last Week

Life changes so fast sometimes. One week ago today, Dad called to tell me my Mamaw had fallen at the assisted living home. He was on his way to pick up my Grandfather and head to the hospital.

I went on to karate, stamped the student cards and loved on my little girlfriend, Faith. (Her dad and big brother take class and this little baby girl is my buddy during that hour.)

Dad didn't call back so I called him on the way home. He was waiting with her for a room to be ready. She had broken her ankle. At 93 years old, after two broken hips and other minor health issues, she had a broken ankle. Something didn't settle with me.

I've shared in the past that my Mamaw and I share a stronghold of fear. I guess my unsettled feeling was a little fear for her. I know she is scared of being alone and quite frankly, I was concerned for my Dad. All night sleepovers at the hospital just about do him in. I prayed for his strength and endurance and that God would give him a holy nudge to go home. He did and wound up back at the hospital early Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning, he walked into her room early. Before 6:00 early. Her nurse for the evening, who by the way is related to us...AND was not supposed to be working that night, had been assigned to my Mamaw. She told my dad that Mamaw had a good night. Nothing crazy with her vitals, she rested...and WAS PLEASANT. In the words of sweet Nurse J. she had a good night for a 93 year old woman!

That is not like her. I'm not being disrespectful, it's just the truth. Mamaw met Jesus as Savior at the age of 90, and she had spent 90 years fighting this fear on her own. Normally a hospital stay for her meant nights of fighting sleep and whimpering and just plain hard work for my Dad. (I can testify to this as I spent a few nights with her over the last few years...Mamaw and I had a come to Jesus meeting at 2:30 one morning, I'm sure she is laughing about it now! But neither one of us were laughing then!)

I share that with you not to disrespect her, but to try and make you understand she was not herself that night. I believe that God was allowing her to see a glimpse of Heaven. There was about 15 minutes in the ER that she seemed to be somewhere else. With all my heart, I believe she knew what was happening.

When Dad came back that Wednesday morning, she introduced him to the staff coming on and was still quite pleasant. She asked the Nurses and my Dad to help her sit up and was still talking..then she was gone. That quick.

No warning.

No pain.

Just closed her eyes and entered glory. Dad said he he felt like she had just seen the face of Jesus because she was smiling and her countenance was glowing.

No fear.

Hebrews 11:1 says Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I believe that God had given her a glimpse of the unseen. Her last night on this earth was so peaceful because she was finally free of that fear and confident that death is really the beginning.

As much as I love my Mamaw and miss her...I'm thrilled for her! She is in the presence of Almighty God! She would not trade His presence for anything!!! So, I will do as Hebrews 10:23 says and

hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

God was so faithful to her. He is so faithful to us when we are far from faithful to Him.

I shared this verse at the funeral. It's my life verse and one that I had read over Mamaw during that long night I talked about earlier. :) It's Deut. 33:12

Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.

So thankful that she is worshipping and literally resting between His shoulders tonight.

My grandparents the Christmas after Mamaw accepted Christ as Savior.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Simple, Pure, Devotion

I watch her. Brush, pat, talk to and even attempt to listen to the horse she will ride. She, to the best of her 10 year old ability, saddles her horse and waits for her teacher to give her a leg up. She soaks up every word of her instructor and wants to be just like her when she's older. I smile because my child is happy and confident. Eager to learn the next thing and even more eager to apply it. She is in love with that hour each week and longs for it to come. It's during that hour that she thrives doing something she loves.

She sits this way for what seems like forever. Sword at her side, deep breathing, quiet, focused and you better believe serious. Then, she moves. She goes over each of the twelve forms three times each. Her mind is focused on perfecting each step of the form. When she is focused, there is no distracting her. Her eyes and heart are fixed on the task at hand, but September is on her mind. September is when she will test for her black belt in her sword class. She is devoted to martial arts. It's her gifting, her calling and she is happiest when she is in "karate world".

Two different girls with two very different callings. One important thing in common. Devotion.

Devotion to what they love and what God has called them to.

Devoted to studying this thing they are so passionate about.

Devoted to applying what their teachers show them.

Devoted to finishing well.

Their example challenges me to be completely devoted and diligent to the things God has called me to. As our ladies group finishes our study on busyness, I've been challenged to do two things as we prepare for another school year.

1. Seek the Lord. Does He really want me "doing" everything I've been doing. Does anything need to stop for a season.

2. Be diligent and devoted in the areas He has called me to. (and as He spoke so tenderly to this heart last week...be confident when you are told to say no. It really is an okay answer.)

And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV

Check out how the Message words this verse...

"And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father's God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for God examines every heart and sees through every motive. If you seek him, he'll make sure you find him, but if you abandon him, he'll leave you for good. Look sharp now! God has chosen you to build his holy house. Be brave, determined! And do it!" 1 Chronicles 28:9 The Message

Lord, help me to be brave, determined and devoted to the things you have called me to do. I want to hear you say well done.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Peter 5:6 - SSMT #14

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” I Peter 5:6

These 16 words wrecked me. I had been trying so hard to make something happen. Something really good, something positive. It was a holy desire, an idea or dream that only God Himself could plant in this heart. How do I know this? Because this insecure, scaredy cat would NEVER have put herself in this position. NEVER EVER would I have come up with this one.

Things were not progressing like I thought they would or should. I felt like my life was a giant 5,000 piece puzzle. While I had an idea of what the puzzle was supposed to look like, I didn't have a detailed picture to show me the end product. My heart's desire was to do what God had called me to do, but I was frustrated. That frustration led to many questions. My journal became a list of questions and I sounded like a spoiled brat. Pages full of me, me, me, I, I, I...my plan, my desire, my ability....get the picture? Selfish, self-centered, self-promoting bologna.

I'm so thankful that I can look back and say that during that time God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. (Psalm 103:8) He was tender and gentle, placing godly Bible teachers in my daily life that encouraged me to not walk away from that calling, but to stop trying to work the puzzle. To do exactly what this verse in I Peter says to do.

1. Humble yourself. Yes, we all have gifts/abilities. I was challenged to evaluate my motives to make sure they were to glorify God, not me. What is the root of my "want to". God promotion or Stephanie promotion.

2. Under God's mighty hand. Properly positioned. Safe under the protective hand of Almighty God. THE giver of the ability. He gave it for a reason, but until He says "it's time", the best place to be is under His hand. This is where He continues to shape us and prepare us for the task He has planned.

3. That He may lift you up. I can't speak for you, but I would much rather God do the heavy lifting. Mercy, I'm heavy! Speaking from past experience, any attempt on my part to lift myself up just ends up with a nasty fall.

4. In due time. What else can be said. God's time isn't always my time, but God's time? God's time is best. Rushing to be "lifted up" is so dangerous. In the rush we miss lessons that are vital to accomplishing what God has called us to do. His timing is perfect.

I have to say, the way The Message words this verse made the sting a little stronger.

So be content with who you are, and don't put on airs. God's strong hand is on you; he'll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.

I'm so thankful that He is careful with us. As hard as this lesson can be, God is faithful. He doesn't just leave us out there to figure it all out on our own. No. I believe that He delights in seeing us through this process. I believe He smiles as He places each puzzle piece of our life into place. He already sees the finished product, He was the designer. And our God...He has some incredible designs.

Lord, help me to be content and to stay under your strong and mighty hand until you are ready to move me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pleasing and Acceptable

Pleasing and acceptable.

In my home, my thought life, my worship...It's how I want to be found in the eyes of God.

But my heart still fights the desire to hear, "well done" from my peers, my family, you know "man". It doesn't raise it's head often, but when this old stronghold comes up, I know I can either go straight to God's word, OR I can self-destruct. The choice is mine.

For three weeks now, God has been placing scripture in front of me. Each verse connected to the previous, expanding on a theme that I began to have a burden for five years ago.

Worship. Pure, pleasing, and acceptable worship.

Last week as I was preparing for Sunday,(I was covering piano for my vacationing friend.) God continue to remind me just how serious He is about our hearts being clean when we come to worship.

I was, dealing with some frustration, hurt and just plain anger towards a specific situation. All that junk was distracting me and I kept going back to the verse God was using to reignite this passion for properly positioned worship.

It's in Amos 5. I know, Amos?. Yes. Amos. In verses 18-27 God is reminding his people that all their religious behavior does nothing to bring them closer to him. He LONGS for and desires their total devotion. AND, he wants that devotion to be evident by their character. HIS character lived out in their daily lives. With that short explanation, here are the verses that jumped off the page to me.

I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
(Verses 21-23 ESV)

Kind of cuts deep doesn't it.

If my heart is not completely devoted to Christ...

If my character does not point others straight to Him....

If my daily actions are no different than those that do not know Jesus Christ....

My worship is noise.

That was a wake up call for me. What came next was work. Lots of time working through that frustration and hurt and anger. Confession of sin that I had not been quick to confess. (Why? Because that would mean I had to admit I was wrong. See that pride?)

Romans 12:1-2 seem to keep coming to mind. Here it is from the Message.

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

As hard as that was, I had to grin at the very first song we sang on Sunday. "Sold Out".

My favorite line in the song is this.

My heart is fixed, my mind's made up
No room, no vacancies, I'm all filled up
His Spirit lives in me and that's the reason - I'm Souled Out.

I've been challenged to start each day with a Sold Out mentality. A fixed heart and a made up mind to worship my Savior each day. In the daily chores as well as my spot in the alto section on Sunday morning. To live confidently that His approval is all that matters.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal. 1:10

(If you need a little jumpstart go here and listen to the first song from Sunday morning. Just hit play. It's right after the video. I promise it will encourage you.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday Night Deeper Still June 2011

I have sat with this computer on my lap and stared at the blank screen several times over the last week, trying my best to share what all God showed me at Deeper Still, but nothing.

Don't misunderstand, God spoke. He seared some things into my heart. But the road to Deeper Still was a hard one.

The Sunday before, Chad and Chloe along with a large portion of our Karate Demo team headed to Alaska for a week of sharing Jesus through backyard Bible schools during the day and karate demonstrations during the evening. It was exciting to hear what God was doing. Several came to know Jesus as Savior that week. I can't tell you how excited I was to get the nightly text with words like "27 for Jesus tonight". It was worth that "ding" at 3:30 A.M. :)

Emma and I enjoyed our week with some family and Friday morning, we headed to Louisville for Deeper Still. We had a great trip up, met up with Rachel and headed to eat lunch. We were enjoying lunch and being together, but each one (Emma included) eager for the Friday night session to begin. That was when Chad texted me to say please pray. It was the first of a few texts that were short and to the point. One of the team members "H.", a retired man who lived to go on mission trips and serve Jesus, had died early that morning.

The team was not aware of this yet and I knew my husband was doing his best to hold it together. I was thankful for the ladies at lunch who began to pray.

As the Friday night session began, my body was in Freedom Hall, but my thoughts and heart were in Anchorage, Alaska wanting to comfort my family. As Kay Arthur opened the Word of God (and taught HARD) God reminded me that I was there to meet with Him. I asked Him to help me focus and He did.

If I had to give you a "One Thing" from Friday evening's session it would be that we don't have time to just play at studying God's Word. It's time to get serious and KNOW it, and then LIVE it. Thank you, Mrs. Kay, for pushing me to go deeper and to love God with all my heart, soul and mind.

On Saturday, during the panel discussion, Mrs. Kay made the comment that "There is no retirement in time of war." God had given us an example of that. "H's" life was an example of that. He served Jesus up until the moment of his last breath. I pray that the day I take my last breath, it will be while I am serving Jesus.

Chloe, H. and W. sharing Jesus with some beautiful children.

This photo is a more accurate portrayal of our team. :) I think H. would love for you to see them like this.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Preparing for Deeper Still

Emma and I, along with my mom and Nikki Poppins, are leaving Friday morning to meet up with a few thousand women in Louisville for the final Deeper Still. To say I'm excited to see some of you there is an understatement. :) I can. not. wait. to hug some necks and see some sweet faces. However, I would be lying if I told you I wasn't a little nervous.

At the December Deeper Still in Birmingham, God began to prepare my heart for a process. A process that would be long, difficult and at times make me question if I really believe Him to be faithful.

On that Friday evening in December, Kay Arthur ask us to be willing to pray "God, whatever you say to me, I will do." (I shared more about that here.)

I learned quickly that if you pray that with a sincere heart, God may ask you to do something that seems a bit..well...lifechanging.

On that Saturday morning, God confirmed my theme verse for 2011. Isaiah 45:3

I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

I really thought that after several difficult years, 2011 would be the year that we would begin to see the treasure from that difficult season. That has happened, BUT.

God had us walk a road that we would have never chosen on our own. In the last six months, we made the very difficult decision to sell our home. God was in each and every detail.

It has been a wild ride that ended last Friday. Six months to the day from that Friday night in Birmingham.

On Friday, June 3 Chad and I sat across the table from the new owners of the house we had built. We cheerfully signed the closing papers and handed over house keys and garage door openers. We walked away confident that we had done what God had told us to do. I can not even begin to express the feeling of freedom we felt leaving that attorney's office.

Has this process been hard? Yes. At times it felt like it would never end, but God.

God has been so faithful to guide us step by step through this process. His Word came to life in a new way. We can look back and trace His handiwork.

So, we closed on Friday. On Sunday, Chad and Chloe left with our karate team on a mission trip to Alaska. They are having a blast and God is doing some neat things up there. :)

In two days, we will be sitting in Freedom Hall in Louisville, celebrating what God has done and asking Him to speak to us again. I know He has plans and a personalized message for each one there.

For me, I'm thrilled to experience this with my Mom and Emma. (It will be their first and last Deeper Still!)

I'm excited to see so many of you.

But most of all, I want to hear God. I can not wait to open God's word and hear what He has to say to us. (But yes, I'm a little nervous!!!)

This is the verse that I have been thinking about as I prepare for Deeper Still.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

Because I believe that verse, I can confidently pray "God, whatever you say to me I will do."

I know those are dangerous words, but I know I can trust Him.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Get Out of the Road!

I've been talking to my 8th grade girls about listening for God. My heart wants them to grasp that they CAN hear Him speak to them. Last night, we focused on one verse, Psalm 46:10.

You know it. "Be still and know that I am God." (NIV)

We looked at two other translations. One was the NASB:

"Cease striving and know that I am God."

I liked that one, but The Message really hit me between the eyes.

"Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God."

This is the translation I will be concentrating on for the next two weeks.

This morning as I was getting dressed, I thought about the first part of this verse. "Step out of the traffic". A command and a warning that I need to pay attention too.

My "traffic" may not be a physical threat, but spiritually speaking, the "traffic" (activity) of life can bring major trauma to my spiritual life. I have got to watch where I'm stepping and avoid stepping into the traffic of life.

Stepping out of the traffic removes distractions and allows us to do what the second part of that verse says. "Take a long, loving look at me, your High God."

He really is more beautiful than we can imagine. More faithful than we can comprehend. He is holy and just and at the same time, approachable and tender.

So this summer, I am getting out of the road and settling into a study that I know is going to challenge me and I pray change me. I'll be walking through it alone. Scratch that, I will not be alone! The Holy Spirit will be busy teaching.

I am excited to see what happens when I take a long loving look at my most High God.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Previews. Sneak Peaks. Glimpses into something that is to come. Not the whole story, just enough to make you want to see more.

I was reminded by a friend's Facebook status just how cool movie previews can be. They were there as a family to see the fourth installment of a particular movie, but her son was just as excited about the previews. He could have left after those previews and been happy.

God used that status as a warning to me. You see, summer vacation is here. As much as I love the free time of summer, I know it's a dangerous time for me. When I read that status, I felt God say to my heart,

Be careful this summer that you do not allow our time together to be a like a short preview. No sneak peaks this year. Hang in there for the whole message

On my next LifeWay list is a journal and a particular study I know God is telling me to do this summer. I'm not going to allow myself to settle for a preview!

No sneak peaks, I want to invest the time and see the featured presentation.

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - 7

This weekend Chad and I celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary. Chad was officiating the triathlon in Knoxville, so we spent the weekend up there. Because of his schedule, I found myself with about four hours of alone time Saturday afternoon. It was wonderful and it gave me a new thankfulness for intercession.

My Gifts this week all kind of revolve around the weekend.

85. Being alone in a quiet hotel room with no distractions. Perfect study environment

86. Reading the Word, and praying it over people I care about.

87. 17 years of marriage.

88. Dinner at a new restaurant. (And LOVING it!)

89. Shopping and coffee with my sister while Chad worked the race.

90. Unexpected cold snaps in May!

91. Trusted babysitter who loved on our girls while we were gone.

One MAJOR gift today, is


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Finishing Well

Since our move a little over a month ago, the girls and I have struggled to fall into a school routine. For three girls who LOVE a schedule it has been hard. We have ALL had meltdowns, tears, and expressed our desire to just be done!!!

Last week, when I realized how close we were to being done for the year, the girls and I had a morning meeting. The topic? Finishing well.

It would have been easy to just say, "The year is practically over. Let's just do enough to count it as school and be done with it!" Believe me, the thought crossed my mind! However, that is not a lesson I want my children learning.

We talked about how the pouting was just making us all miserable. That our poor attitude was affecting the quality of our work, and our work? Well, that is our calling and an offering to the Lord right now. We say most every morning as we begin school, "Lord, bless the work of our hands today. We are doing this for your glory." Our poor attitudes were not bringing glory to God.

When I say "We", I mean me too. This mom is ready to be done too! My girls were following my lead. I may not have been outwardly complaining, but my actions were speaking louder than words.

I've had a big reminder lesson about how my tone, attitude, work ethic, etc. dictates the atmosphere in this house. My children will adopt my attitude. Good or bad. This week, I had to apologize last week's less than positive attitude.

Finishing well has become our goal. This week has been a totally different week.

We have accomplished WAY more in three days this week than I anticipated. The quality of their work is what I know they can do and has exceeded my expectations. Don't get me wrong, we have had our moments, but we are quickly adjusting our attitudes and doing our best to be patient with each other. :) That finish line is getting closer by the minute!


I started this post on Wednesday before blogger went wonkity. Today, Friday afternoon we have officially finished our 180 days of school!!!!

And yes, we finished well. Hard work and perseverance paid off.

I now have an 8th grader and a 5th grader!!!

Happy Summer Vacation girls! I love you and am so proud of your hard work!!

One Thousand Gifts - 6

Our heads have been in our books, and our focus has been on finishing well. (That is a post for another day.) Because of the girls diligence we are two days away from summer vacation! THAT is a gift! :)

71. Watching Chad or my girls do something they love.

72. Nasa Tweetup (Chad attended this a couple of weeks ago and lived a dream.)

73. Watching the Royal Wedding with my girls. Complete with fine china, coffee and pancakes at 5:30 in the morning.)

74. Sunday dinner. (This summer we are bringing back the Sunday dinner with friends.)

75. Protection of our area during the recent storms.

76. Basement Rompus Room.

77. Freedom to worship Christ.

78. Giving away outgrown clothes.

79. Silly dances with the girls.

80. Squirrel that keeps visiting our back porch. He walks the banister right up to our back door and looks in.

81. Cool weather in May.

82. Open windows-Warm sun and cool breezes. Airing out the house.

83. Blue skies after so many cloudy days. Taken by the thought that the blue was always there, my view of it was just blocked by the clouds for a little while.

84. Anticipating God.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Be Careful What You Pray

"Whatever you say to me, I will do."

That is a dangerous thing to say to God. :) But I did. I even wrote it in INK in the front of my Bible study workbook in January.

It has been the hardest study I have ever done. Hard because the obedience it demanded from me was not a "feel good", "Sweet Sally Christian" thing. It cut to the marrow and hurt a little bit. Well..it hurt alot. (But, oh boy was it worth it. God really does bless obedience.)

I believe that ALL Bible study, when done with a properly positioned heart will demand obedience that will bring about change. Even when what He is asking you to do is uncomfortable, unknown and maybe even terrifying, a heart willing to spend time in the Word of God will not be the same.

What he asked me to do was trust my husband. Trust that what Chad was hearing was God's plan. I didn't want to do it. What Chad was hearing God tell our family to do, would force me to destroy an idol.

I wanted things to stay the same and fought both God and Chad in this thing.

Each and every time I opened my workbook, it sent me to the Word. It was there I was face to face with truth that I had been worshipping an idol that had to come down.

Over the last few weeks, the idol came down, and God has filled the space it took up. It has been a process. A process that has demanded perseverance.

I wish I could tell you that I was confident and happy through this whole thing, but I wasn't. It was hard work. At times, I questioned Chad, God, my faith...


As I watched Chad walk in obedience, I realized something. God had answered my prayer that Chad would be confident as spiritual leader in our home. He (Chad) was confident that we were to walk a specific path and he was at peace.

Hebrews 10:35-36 says "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."

In the last three months, I feel like we have lived my SSMT Verse #9. Deuteronomy 6:23 "He brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers."

One month ago today, we moved. A move that was full of emotion for me. It wasn't "my" plan, "my" idea or "my" desire. It was God's plan. God's idea and God's GIFT to us.

Tonight, I sit in the home (land) that God has brought us to and can tell you...

I wasted so much time trying to hang on to the idol I had created. My focus, my grip, my affection was clinging so tightly to that idol that I could not acknowledge just how miserable that idol made me.

Nothing compares to where He has us. Yes, this physical place is awesome, but the spiritual place is...

full of Him.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Our Night in the Storm Cellar

To say our hearts are heavy this morning is an understatement. The storms have destroyed so much. Homes are gone, towns destroyed and families are grieving the loss of their loved ones.

After the girls and I settled in for our basement slumber party last night, we talked a little about what could happen. Surprisingly, they were not afraid. We made up beds and settled in for a long night.

I asked the girls if they wanted to read a particular passage or have a favorite Bible story they wanted to hear. Emma spoke up pretty fast and said "Joseph". So we read about Joseph and his brothers. Verses like "what you meant for evil, God used for good" just about had me in tears last night.

Then we hit the Psalms. I can't even tell you which ones we read, I just kept turning pages and read/prayed them for a little while. The girls were still and quiet and I could tell they were close to sleep, so we prayed.

Chloe prayed first asking God to protect our area, spare us and to "move the storm out of our path".

Emma prayed for the people who had already lost their homes and that God would help her be brave.

We had hardly finished praying when Chad texted me. (He's at Nasa for the shuttle launch) His eyes were glued to the weather channel. His words were..

"Weather channel reporting tornado danger for metro ATL has passed-tornado activity is all but dead!"

God answered our prayers and literally moved the storm out of our path.

This was my view shortly after that text.

We are grateful.

At the same time we are just sick for Alabama, northern Georgia and Tennessee. We have friends and or family in each of these places.

Everything in us wants to get in the car and go help clean up, rock babies, hand out water. But we right now we can't do that.

So we pray.

We pray that Jesus will continue to be near to the brokenhearted.

We pray for restoration. Restoration of property, but more importantly, of hearts.

We thank Him for being greater, stronger and in control of all things.

He is faithful. He is with us on days with blue skies and He is with us on days filled with funnel clouds and hail storms. He is in control.

Our focus verse for yesterday was the last part of Luke 8:25

"He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

While I pray we never see this type of devastation again, I am so thankful for time we had last night in the storm cellar. It will be an Ebenezer moment for each of us.
So far the Lord has helped us. (see 1 Sam. 7:12)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It was Saturday. The day before Easter Sunday. Our family of four was rejoicing that we had finally found the perfect Easter outfit for one of our daughters. (It was quite a hunt this year! But she would not give up until she found the perfect, modest ensemble. I'm proud of her.)

The mall was packed so my normal walking pace was severely hindered. To say we were strolling is an understatement, we were slow pokes and I was getting a little aggravated. About the time I was getting huffy with the group of boys in front of us, I saw her coming towards us.

Actually, I saw a police officer carrying a very nice handbag first, and THEN the lady she was walking slightly behind, and I made eye contact. I smiled. She stared coldly and looked away. As they got closer I realized she was handcuffed.

My first reaction was to use it as a teaching opportunity with my girls, and after they had walked past us I did. BUT, after we got home I could not get over how cold my heart was to this young girl. Part of me felt like "you do the crime, you do the time". (I had to ask forgiveness for that by the way.) The other part is crying, that is someones daughter, sister, maybe even mother. Does she know Jesus? Has anyone told her how much He loves her?

At barely 20 she has made choices that will affect her life for quite sometime. Choices that resulted in being handcuffed and paraded through the mall for all to see and speculate about what she had done. People were turning around to watch. I'm sure people laughed, pointed, stared. Most of us, assuming she was getting what she deserved.

The day before we celebrate Easter.

This morning during worship, I was overwhelmed with the fact that my sinless Savior was arrested, beaten, paraded through a crowd of people and then died. With my sin on Him. He was taunted, spit on, laughed at...for me.

He willingly paid the penalty of my sin.

Of your sin.

My bad choices may not have resulted in being handcuffed, but if we all received what we deserved, it would be death.

Romans 6:23 says

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amazing love. Amazing Grace.

I love how The Message words 2 Corinthians 5:21

God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

What a Savior we have.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Monday, April 18, 2011

OneThousand Gifts - 5

What a busy two weeks. My heart is overflowing with thanks for so much.

61. feeling at home
62. green on the trees that fill our backyard
63. jets in my bathtub (thank you emma for reminding me how awesome they are.)
64. weekend getaways with friends
65. feeling the weight of God's glory in a worship service
66. my own closet
67. baby showers and the new life they celebrate
68. the iris and hostas Chad transplanted for me on Saturday (what a treat to pull in the driveway and see him planting my flowers.)
69. lavender scented fabric softener
70. sunrise

We are so thankful life is falling back into our normal schedule! We are counting down the days of school and dreaming about summer vacation. It is going to be good. We already see things to be grateful for there. :)

I'm off to spend some time with "Hannah's One Wish" preparing for my 8th grader girls week one of this study. And then....

I'm FINALLY hanging pictures in our bedroom. (That big room is beginning to feel like a hospital with all the white!)

Thank you for stopping by, you have been prayed for today!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Well...it's been so long since I posted I'll be surprised if anyone is still reading! :)

We have spent the last three weeks in high gear. Emma's birthday, packing boxes, musical, packing boxes, move, unpacking boxes, speaking in TN, more unpacking, helping with a baby shower...did I mention unpacking boxes?

We are finally getting settled in and things are starting to look like home.

I know that we are exactly where God wants us to be and even with the craziness of moving, we are at complete peace.

We have tried our best to keep our minds and hearts focused on Him during this move and God has done what His words says He will do. (Keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast... Isaiah 26:3)

I'm in the midst of packing for a quick overnight trip to the lake with some of my favorite ladies. God orchestrated this getaway at just the right time. He's so good like that.

Thanks for stopping by today! You have been prayed for...


Monday, March 28, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - 4

We are on Spring Break this week. The girls are enjoying a week with their grandparents and Chad and I are home preparing for Friday's move.

Our house is quiet. So I sort, wrap and place our belongings into boxes in quiet. It's a process I do not like. But at the same time I love that this process makes me purge and toss out the clutter. It is somewhat refreshing.

This week my heart is full and grateful for so many things.

53. Rain
54. Emma. (Who turned 10 on Saturday!)
55. The family that spent the weekend celebrating Emma with us.
56. A little over 100 children I was privileged to direct last night in our Spring Musical. ("Happily Forever After") They make my heart so happy.
57. Chloe's text messages to me.
58. Simple dinners with Chad.
59. Toile
60. The things God is teaching me during the moving process.

Thank you for stopping by today. You have been prayed for!


Friday, March 25, 2011

What's Running Through My Brain Today

We are knee deep in bubble wrap and brown boxes.

Next week, we move. We are so excited, but today, I'm about overwhelmed at all that's left to do before the movers come.

These are the lyrics running through my head, so I thought I would post them. Love this old hymn.

All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way;
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.

Thank you God for songwriters like Francis Crosby! Oh to write a lyric that over 100 years from now, someone is encouraged by.

My favorite line:
This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.

He is certainly leading us right now and I do believe He has given me a new theme song.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. Praying you will follow Jesus wherever he leads.