Monday, December 29, 2008
I really do have faith in God and faith in His promises, but when you are in the middle of a major struggle or crisis in your life, sometimes faith is hard. I have complete faith that God will answer prayers, but then I wonder, "Am I praying enough, am I praying the right things, when I wonder why things aren't happening does it mean my faith is not strong enough, when I think about the worst case scenario and what could happen, does that erase all the prayers I've prayed because I'm doubting the outcome, does it make me have to start over with my prayers, does it hinder the prayers I've already prayed?"
For me those are all really hard questions I struggle with in crisis. I know God is there and I know He has a plan, but is my faith or sometimes lack thereof a hindrance to what He is trying to accomplish or change? What if the outcome is different than what I am praying for, does that mean my faith wasn't strong enough?
Matthew 17 says, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed...nothing will be impossible for you." When you think of a mustard seed you think of something so small. I think surely my faith is at least as large as mustard seed. But how do we measure faith, is my faith as large as a mustard seed?
I know I have to trust that the God I serve is bigger than any crisis. I have to believe that my faith is strong enough. I know I have to have faith in God's promises. I do have complete faith in God. I do know that God is bigger than any crisis in my life. I do know that my God can accomplish anything. So why is it that those little shreds of doubt are always creeping in?
I will continue to pray the prayer of the boy's father in Luke 9, "I do believe; help me overcome my disbelief".
Saturday, December 06, 2008
But this year is going to be different for us. For the last 15+ years (ever since both the kids could walk) every Christmas morning has been a wake up of Ashley in Jeremy climbing in bed with us all excited to get started with Christmas presents. This happened all the way up to last Christmas when they were 21 and 17!! I love it!! It's the one time of the year that I can get wrapped up with my kids and remember all the years of them growing up in that one moment.
This year will be a little different. Ashley is married so she won't be here when we all wake up Christmas morning. She will be spending Christmas morning with Warren, her new family, as it should be. Jeremy is now in college and although he will still be here, it won't be the same for him either without having Ashley here. We will still all be together on Christmas Day it will just be different.
Our family has always been big on traditions especially at Christmas, but last year was the end of one of those traditions. While it has sort of put me in a funk this year knowing Christmas is going to be different, I am really looking forward to starting some new traditions. I think one of them is going to be having Mexican food for our family Christmas meal on Christmas Day. Homemade enchiladas and homemade hot sauce... my mouth is watering already. One tradition we will continue is going to see one of the movies that comes out on Christmas Day. That's always fun! I look forward to having Warren become a part of our traditions and I look forward to seeing where God will lead us as we begin new chapters in our families lives.
On a different note, I am looking very forward to having Randy Harris as our guest preacher at Highland Oaks for the next four weeks. I love listening to Randy. He always challenges me. Our topic is going to be "Hope for the World". I know I will come out of the next 4 weeks challenged and in a different frame of mind. If you are in the area, I invite you to come and hear Randy the next 4 weeks. I know you will be blessed.
Blessings to you for a great holiday season!
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It's really easy to be thankful when things are going well; but what about when things aren't going well. What about when you pray and pray about a situation, but you don't "see" God working. Not that he's not working, but you can't see it. You continue to pray day after day, month after month, year after year and yet you don't see any answers. Do I thank God in those times?
It's easy to be thankful when things are going well. But when things aren't going so well and in fact are going down right horrible, it's a lot harder to be thankful. In those times it's a lot easier to be angry at God, it's easy to feel hurt and feel like God isn't listening. But it's really hard to be thankful. It's sometimes hard to find things in the midst of turmoil, trials and struggles to be thankful for.
We talked Sunday in class about how people have been thankful when they were in a situation in which there was nothing to be thankful for. People who were on their way to bury a stillborn child and wondering how in the world they were going to get through it. And then they looked outside to see the most beautiful sunset they had ever seen and knowing it was God telling them that He was with them. And later getting pictures in the mail from someone who had been looking at the exact same sunset and took pictures of it knowing that God had sent that sunset for the person who had lost their child. Lynn Anderson talked in the sermon about a man who as a child had lived on the streets with no parents, who was always in trouble. One day while he was getting ready to throw some type of fireworks into some people's houses just to see if they could catch them on fire he had one blow up in his hand and it made him permanently blind. He now thanks God everyday for his blindness because a Christian family took him in and showed him what God was all about. They loved and cared for him and put him through preaching school. He now preaches God word. So he says he thanks God everyday for his blindness. It was a powerful day.
We talked also about taking every situation and asking ourselves "How will God be glorified through this situation? How will God use this situation for good? How is He going to reveal Himself? " Let me tell you, when you are in the middle of a situation, it's not easy to ask yourself how God is going to be glorified through it, how will He use it for good or how is he going to reveal Himself. It's not easy when you are in the middle of a situation to find the ways you need to thank God. But I'm going to try. I'm going to try to look for and be aware of the things I need to be thankful for no matter how dark the moment may seem. I'm going to try and be aware of the sunset, or the leaves falling, or the cool breeze that God may send my way to remind me that He is right there; that He hasn't left me.
God tells us he will never leave us and he will never forsake us. Sometimes in the middle of turmoil we forget that. I'm going to try and remember He's always there... and Be Thankful.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18Blessings!
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Then all of sudden our air conditioner kicked on behind me. It drowned out anything about God going on around me. I tried to look around and see the things of God around me, while I could still see everything, without being able to hear it, it just wasn't the same. All the noise seemed to somehow work really hard at covering up God. Then Chris came around with the weed eater and it was just one more noise added to the mix. I could still feel the breeze, but I couldn't hear anything from God any more.
I started typing this blog and after a little while the air conditioner kicked back off and I could once again hear a little better, but the weed eater was still in the background.
If I sit here a little longer the weed eater will eventually go back off too. Then I will once again be able to hear the sounds of God on this glorious day. But then after a while, there will be some other noise interrupting the beauty of God.
Isn't that so much how life is. There is always something to interrupt what God has put here for us to enjoy. Always something to interrupt our time with Him. There is always noise in our lives. How do we handle that noise is the question. Do we sit patiently and wait for the noise to die down, so that we can once again hear God and enjoy what He has planned for us? Do we let the noise distract us as we move on to something else missing what God has in store for us. Or do we let the noise completely drown out everything Godly around us instead of waiting for the noise to die down and waiting on God to reveal Himself to us.
I pray that in this world of noise, I can remember to not let the noise overtake me, but to continue to listen carefully for the sounds and voice of God to become more clear again.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Are we that oblivious to the sacrifice God made for us? Do we walk around unchanged? Or do we honor that sacrifice and make noticeable changes in our lives that honor Him. These people may not realize the gift they've received, but we know the gift that was given to us. How do we choose to honor that gift. Thoughts to ponder...
Have a blessed day!
Click here to watch the video "A Father's Love".
Saturday, October 18, 2008
You know, life can sometimes be like following that trash truck depending on the things we do or the people we choose to hang around. Little bits of trash are flying all around us. How we live and how we react determine if any of it sticks to us; if we are changed by it. And I don't mean in a good way. If you're hanging around people all the time who are constantly throwing trash around, some of it is going to start sticking to you. Before you know it, you get caught up in the trash and suddenly you become something or someone you didn't want to become.
It's important that we choose Godly people to hang around. It's important to choose people who don't get caught up in the trash. It's important to look at things with the proper perspective. Because even in the best of situations some people can only see bad. No one is perfect. We all have days when we are tired of a situation or tired of someone's attitude or any number of things. But it's our perspective that decides how we will handle the situation. We can choose to trash everything we don't like or we can choose to see the good in it. We can choose to hang around people who are always doom and gloom or we can choose to hang around people who are striving to be the best they can be and trying to live their life the way God would want them to live it.
On that note, I love hanging out with our small group. We are not perfect. We have our times of griping just like anyone else does. But we always seem to bring things back to God. We try to see the good in the situation. We let people get things off their chest and we come back to why we are there. We are always there for each other. We laugh, we cry, we listen, we pray. We laugh a lot... we laugh a whole lot!!
I could not have chosen a better small group. In fact I didn't choose this one. God chose it for me. He knew exactly where we needed to be. It's like our whole group is soulmates. We are all within the same age group, we like a lot of the same things; 3 couples in our group were high school sweethearts and all 5 couples anniversaries are within a couple of weeks of each other! Pretty weird! And 3 years ago none of us knew each other! God is amazing!!
I say all of that to say, be aware of who God puts in your life. God can surround you with amazing friends if you pay attention. Satan can also surround you with people to bring you down. So if you find yourself getting caught behind that trash truck and you notice you are starting to smell a little like the trash, step back and make sure the people you are surrounding yourself with are the people God has chosen for you.
1 Corinthians 15:33
Thursday, October 09, 2008
"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden."
We've all read those scriptures about a million times. Every time I've read it I've always thought about the verses that come after it where it says they were afraid because they were naked so they hid. But this time when I read it, what stuck out to me was "they heard the sound of the Lord". I started thinking, what is the "sound" of the Lord? The rest of that phrase says as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. That for me sounds like a great word picture of God. There is something so peaceful, so soothing, so calming about walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And as I thinking about walking in that type of setting, it immediately makes me think about God. When I'm walking in nature in the cool of the day is one of the times I feel the closest to God.
But what is the sound of Lord? Would I know it if I heard God walking beside me? I know we hear God in all types of ways. Through the music we listen to, through something a friend may say to us, through a sermon, etc. But Adam and Eve "heard God" walking in the garden.
Am I walking close enough to the Lord that I can actually hear Him when He's walking with me? What would it sound like to actually hear God walking with me? I know that God walks with us every day, but to think about actually hearing God puts things in a different perspective for me. We may not always hear God walking with us as Adam and Eve did, but He is still there. What are we subjecting him to as He walks with us. Would He be proud to walk along side of us? Or would he be embarrassed or ashamed?
As I walk through my life and begin to think more about God walking along side of me and more about what God sounds like when He walks with me, I hope that the places I choose to walk, will make Him proud to walk along beside me.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Open my hand Lord, and teach me to share
Open my heart Lord, and teach me to care
Service to others is service to You
So make me a servant Lord make me like you
That verse has really caused me to think about a lot of different things.
We are all taught as children to share. We have the me and mine syndrome and learn how to share with others. I think as adults we sometimes forget that; at least I sometimes do. We are so blessed in this life and while I do try to do what I can for others I sometimes get caught up in keeping things to myself and not always sharing what I have. It's not that I want to keep it for myself, it's that I sometimes don't want to take the time it sometimes takes to share. Sharing doesn't always mean sharing things, it means sharing of ourselves and of our time... Lord, teach me to share.
The next line open my heart Lord, and teach me to care. That really is bothersome to me. I have always thought of myself as a caring person. But if I am not reaching out to others and sharing what I have with them, does it mean that deep down I don't care? Does it mean that my heart is not open to God's people around me? Lord, teach me to care.
I so want to be more like God. Lord mold me into who you want me to be... Lord make me like you.
We are the clay, you are the potter,
we are all the work of your hand.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
When riding a motorcycle you don't actually have to do as much work as you would think you would. And as I was riding in this morning a few things crossed my mind that I thought I would share. Arthritis runs in my family...not fun to look forward to. I don't have it per say, but I'm afraid it may be coming. When I ride the joints in my thumbs tend to start getting really stiff and even worse if I start gripping the handle bars too tightly.
When you ride a motorcycle, you really don't have to grip that tightly unless your pulling the bike up off the kick stand. And actually, if you grip it too tightly while your riding, it's actually harder to control. You have to learn to relax and let the bike do what it was meant to do. One of the hardest things to do on a bike is to go really slowly and I don't mean from the stand point of having a lead foot! If you are traveling through a busy area you have to obviously go much slower. Going really slowly is tough. If much harder to keep the bike upright when you are moving slowly. You don't want to keep starting and stopping so you travel with just the slightest acceleration to keep you moving.
But the bike isn't meant to travel that slowly. It's meant to take off. And once you are able to take off, the ride is much easier and much more enjoyable. You basically let the bike take control of the ride. It's meant to be upright and moving right along.
Isn't that how we sometimes are with God? We want to grip everything too tightly. We say we want to live for Him but we travel so slowly we are pretty much standing still. We won't loosen our grip on our lives and what we want. We don't just hop on, take off, let God take control and enjoy the ride.
God is meant to be in control of our lives, not us. I wonder how much more we could do... how much more I could do... if I let God be in control. God did not create us to grip too tightly, too move too slowly or to be in control of His plans for us.
He created us to relax our grip on this life, to not be afraid to move forward and to let Him have total control. I know this is an ongoing battle for most of us; but imagine the things God could accomplish through us if we would only sit back and let God take control the ride! What a ride that would be!
Enjoy the ride!!
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
The weather was great and there is nothing better than riding, except riding with friends! We rode 360 miles this weekend! We had the best time. You would have thought we were all in high school the way we were laughing and carrying on in the lobby of the hotel; until 2:00 a.m. I might add. (The next day I didn't feel like I was in high school! I felt like the 40 something woman I am on only 5 hours of sleep!)
We stayed up just talking, playing spades and having some of the most wonderful pie I have ever eaten. If you ever head to Longview, go to "The Butcher Shop" and have some chocolate pie! You won't be sorry!!
There is nothing like riding a bike through the back roads of East Texas to make you really stop and appreciate God. When you are on your bike with the wind blowing all around you and driving through some of the most wonderful trees, you can't help but think of God and all He created. There is nothing like it in the world. It really gave me time to reflect on God and the priorities in my life.
I've been thinking about priorities for a while now. Mine have seemed to be way off lately, or maybe not so off. But I do think it's a time for refocusing. The priorities of the last 22 years have been my kids. Loving them, raising them and attending all of the events they were in was what we did and pretty much who we were. While I loved that time dearly and will miss those times, I realize that God is calling me in other ways. I have really been reflecting a lot on how I spend my time now and becoming aware that God is calling me to something different in my life. I'm not sure where is He leading, but I know that I need to be aware of His calling and pay attention to opportunities He may put before me.
I know that God wants to use me to make some kind of impact. And it doesn't have to big. It reminds me of the impact of skipping rocks on water. When you skip rocks, sometimes they just skip lightly across the water making impacts every time they hit. You can see all the splashes in the water and see all the impacts they make. But sometimes when you try to skip a rock it just plops in the water. And while it only makes a plop and doesn't skip across gracefully, it still makes an impact. There are still little ripples in the water from where it dropped in.
I think sometimes we get too bogged down in trying to do something big. Trying to make huge graceful skips across the water. When sometimes just a big plop in the water still has its impact.
I'm not going to try and make huge skips across the water. Someday I may and then again I may never make that big of an impact. But I hope I can always make at least a little ripple in the water. A little ripple that spreads through the rest of the water and touches something or someone. I don't ever want to leave the water still. Even a little ripple can make a difference.
Friday, August 29, 2008
At any rate, here is a link to the pictures if you would like to see them. The password is... she said in a whisper...062108aw
Have a great weekend!!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Ok, something very unexpected but very cool happened today. As most of you know, Jeremy is now at ACU. He's not one to call home that often. Last week I got a call from him after only a few days. I told him how excited I was to hear his ringtone and he said "Don't get too excited, I'm just calling for money." I just laughed and said of course. But it was still good to hear from him. I did talk to him this week to see how the first couple of days of classes went but he called me this morning around 10:15 which was unexpected because he was supposed to be in his Bible class.
When he called, he said, "hey I'm in my Bible class and I need you to hang on for a second". I'm thinking great, the professor already wants to talk to me about something! ha ha! Anyway, he asked me if I could hear and then said to listen. His Bible class teacher is Mike Cope and I hear Mike in the background saying "Ok, everybody ready? Hello, my name is Mike Cope and I will be teaching your child Bible on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during this semester. Some of you are probably still in mourning over your child being gone, some of are excited that they are finally gone and others are in between. I just wanted to let you know we are glad your child is here. We will be having small groups that will led by upper classmen." He went on to say a few more of the new school year type things and then said, ok, everybody ready to sing..
He had the kids sing to the parents on the phone "I love you with the love of the Lord". Of course it brought tears to my eyes! But I thought that was so cool! I know Jeremy actually sang because I could hear his voice. It just made my day! Jeremy then got on the phone and said, "Ok, we're starting class now, love you bye".
Ashley never had Mike Cope so I don't know if this is something he always does or not. But this mom thought it was pretty cool!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
This past weekend we took Jeremy to ACU to begin a new chapter in his life. He was so excited to be there. We moved him in on Saturday, and by noon on Sunday he was already telling us "just go to dinner on your own tonight because I've already made plans to hang out with a bunch of people on my hall." He left us in the dust quickly! But that's what you want! He was so excited to be there and it was great to see him already making friends and getting plugged in.
Now we are home in a quiet house beginning empty nest. Everyone says it's great and I know it will be. Not that it's not good now :) it's just different. It will be nice to go out riding on our motorcycles without having to get that phone call saying, "where are y'all, we are all about to be at the house to watch a movie". But at the same time, I'll also miss those times. But I know it's time to move forward and I know that God prepares us to do that. I'm actually looking forward to having some me time again. I've missed blogging and catching up since I started my new job. Not so new now, September 1st will be a year! So hard to believe! But hopefully now since there won't be all the activities to go to every week, (or sometimes every day!) I can begin to catch up on reading everyones blogs. I really miss getting to see what's going on and getting such wonderful insight from some of you. You are blessings in my life.
With all the changes going on my life, I have begun reflecting on the priorities in my life. I'm convinced that's a never ending battle. I plan to be back soon and post more on that. For now, blessings to you!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
For now, I'm going to leave you with Jeremy's final performance in high school. Chris put it on God Tube so I'm just going to give you the link. This night was the spring concert and the seniors get to choose a solo to do if they wish. The really cool thing is he goes to a public school and his choir teachers gave him free reign to do whatever wanted. Jeremy completely designed and created his own thing to the Casting Crowns song "Set Me Free". It really says it all. I am so proud of him!!! I pray he will always use his gifts to the glory of God!
Blessings! I'll talk to you soon!
Just in case you can't see the video below or it's too small, here is the link to the website.