Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Pains...

I think we can all relate to the fact that we can instantly feel like we are sinking and not swimming. For me...it seems like its been years of incomplete tasks, can't get ahead, the same "stuff" sitting on the kitchen counter for years, stacks of pictures from 2002 still in a pile, and kids closets out of control with clothes that don't fit, last years school work, and just plain ole crud everywhere!

Well, not by coincidence, my devotion for today was all too familiar....straight out of the book of Philipians 4:4-8, 11-13 and titled "Keep on Keepin On." Well, I sure haven't felt like keepin on lately....there's just TOO MUCH TO DO!! I can then begin walking in circles and not really doing anything.....I'm busy, but I'm just not sure what I'm doing. I don't need to elaborate on how we get there or why, so I thought I'd share the encouragement part of the devotion:

"The Lord is near." Always try to keep your daily demands in eternal perspective. When under pressure or overwhelmed, make prayer your first line of defense.

Think of God's peace as a "guard," protecting your mind from discouragement.

Hard times, lean times, challenging times---this is where true leaders are made.

You can do all things through Christ. Are you acting as though you believe it???

Read the scripture out of Philipians and have a great "Labor Day" weekend!!
Keep on keepin on....

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's Not About Me...

What a thought! You mean this life is not about me??? Sometimes, I get very frustrated on how much I invest in myself and my own personal growth and how much do I invest on others and bringing them to Jesus??? I believe Jesus wants us to do both....and keep it in balance!!! We live in such a world that can focus too much on ourselves and it can seriously get out of control!! Me, me, me, want, want, want. Aren't we just all downright spoiled?? Maybe a bit harsh, but we all have more than enough!

What about being in a beautiful church and having access to all this wonderful programming, but you know that there are precious people out there who don't know Jesus and they sure don't have a beautiful church to call home?!! They may be scared to come into that great big wonderful building.

What about spending so much time and money into your church facilities and making it the new state of the art, cool place for kids, and you realize that all you remember from your own youth and childhood was the relationship you had with a certain leader or teacher?!! Hmmmm.....

What about reaching the unchurched, those that don't even know Jesus Christ, and then realizing that every Sunday you see the same people in your congregation and noone "new" on the aisle or pew?!!

I guess I have spent alot of time wondering how does my personal growth with Jesus
effect others around me?? Am I making an eternal difference in the kingdom of God?
Am I wrapped up in my own journey or in the journey of others??? What is most important....our programs?? our buildings??? the latest, greatest, cool thing??
our service to the community??? are we changing the world???? What am I doing to contribute to the balance???? What am I doing that advances His Kingdom?? That's HUGE! Don't get me wrong now, I LOVE LOVE my church. This is just something God and I are working out together.

Well, I had an experience this past Summer with the kids at our church and we decided to go against the traditional VBS! We took the focus off ourselves and raised some money to help fight childhood cancer. We sold lemonade throughout our town and in 4 hours with 8 lemonade stands, we raised $5,000 that we took to St. Jude!!!!! TRULY AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!! We walked so closely with God those days and weeks of VBS that I didn't want it to end. Lives were changed....mine and many, many others. Was it because we weren't focusing on ourselves ALL the time??? It was one of the coolest experiences I've had in a long while.

Our journey here on earth is about us, but we MUST take our eyes off of ourselves and see where we are needed! Then, we must get out there and be the hands and feet of Christ and show Him to all that we can!

It's about me, you, and everyone. I want to share His "awesomeness" with anyone I can. Lord, give me the courage and the opportunities for the advancement of the Kingdom!! We love you and we want to serve desperately! Send me out to do your work! It's Not ALL About Me!!! And...Hallelujah it's not.

A quote I found ...."Others will not want to know about Jesus until they see the reality of your Jesus in your life!"

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ya'll, this was for real...

Ok...lets just say we have had a CRAZY week because head of the household (AKA Chip) has been out of town and finally arrived back home at 3:30 this morning....YIKES!! I told him over the phone in the wee hours of the morning, as he was stranded in Atlanta, that I would get #2 child, Tyler, to the ball field at the break of dawn!
Well, i know i was 1/2 asleep because I NEVER take him to the ball field that early and I don't know if I knew where all the stuff was and how to get him ready! Oh, of course I do, I'm Mom, but it sure made me question my role as mom/dad when the real dad is away...

Anyway, I get up early and get us out the door in time to go to Starbucks....of course I need that and deserve that for doing the "boy thing" on a Saturday! :)
I get out of the car in the parking lot and can smell the caffeine, but all of a sudden this red truck catches my attention out of the corner of my eye....this truck at 1st glance looks like a hippie truck...lots of stickers and stuff all over it so I guess that makes it a hippie truck...but, its clearly not as I look at it for what seemed like minutes....get ready for this....it said....

"Live for Satan....Self-righteous is the way!" I am looking all around, getting in line, scanning to see "who" this person could be. Did I think I would recognize "who" might be driving this truck?? What did this person look like???
Noone stood out...NOONE!! Everyone looked so normal....whatever that is. I order my coffee and I'm just looking everywhere to find this person....what was I going to do if I thought I found this person??? Was I gonna fly in and save them?? Was I gonna yell at them and tell them how ridiculous they were??? Would I want to hear why they believe the words on that truck??? Would I give them some very mean look?? What on earth was I really going to do???

Since everyone looked so "normal," I was at a complete loss. My emotions and blood pressure settled down....my defense mechanism settled down...and I grabbed my coffee and left. There was so much anti-Jesus all over his car that it made me sick. I drove off and just prayed for that person...but, then I began to think....

What does my car, life, appearance say about who I am and who I represent? I truly pray that I reflect Jesus. I know that I don't all the time...but, Lord help me to reflect your beauty and love and give me the courage to go to bat for you when I need too. I don't think I have ever had to do that yet...I can't think of a time when I've been in conversation with a non-believer....oh wait a minute. Yes, I can. And you won't believe this...it just dawned on me.....its a family member outside of my immediate family!!

Ok....our actions and words need to speak loudly of who we are...in a gracious, beautiful way. Let others wonder..."what has she got?? I want that." Oh...his name is JESUS! He transformed my life because I looked at someone else and wondered, "what has she got? I want that." This person lead me to the bible and the personal relationship you can have with Jesus. That person was the vessel that changed me forever.

I pray that you are a vessel that can bring someone to our loving, Savior. Even those that can be in the church may not know a personal, real Jesus. Reflect His beauty and your life with Him....you never know who might be watching...and you never know...you may change someones life forever.

Now.....lets rewrite that truck...."Live for Jesus....He is the way!"
Blessings...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is Jesus for real? Asked my child.....

What a question to answer! Can you answer that question and what would your answer be?? How about if the person asking is 75 yrs old and has never believed until now?
What if the person is 6 yrs old and can't grasp someone that they can't see? How do you explain Jesus to a child?? How can HE be real to them?? How do you explain the conversation that you have with Him through prayer?? How do you explain the way He talks back to you?? How do you explain all the stories from church and how that fits into their "little people" world??

How do we as parents desperately seek Him with our entire heart and our entire being and teach Him to our children who are such concrete thinkers??

What do we do in our homes to make Him real, alive, and active??? Even in their world regardless of their age.....6 yrs??? 11 yrs??? 16 yrs????

I desperately want my children to have a love for God and His word...I pray daily for that. But, I need to be better at showing Him off to them....I don't need to hog those moments with Him and not share my experiences with my kids. That will help them see where He is and how He works.

I know that we can agreee that we would like our children to "get Jesus" much sooner than later and hang onto Him with every thread of their being. So....I'm challenging myself to share my awesosme God with my kids and let them begin to see how awesome He is in their world....I'm not doing enough of that. I need to point Him out more in their life so they can see how real He really is!!

I knew this but it fell very fresh on me today!

Blessings....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

God woke me up early....

Yes...our amazing creator woke me up this morning....and I am just in awe of the sunrise He has given us today. I don't have my camera to take a picture but it looks something like this.....

think streaks of clouds across the trees from top to bottom and the sun is still down to where I can't see him yet....the colors coming up this morning are pink, blue, and purple. They are shades that I can't even describe! There are ripples in the clouds that make me think of the ocean and it is just radiant! It has truly taken my breath away this morning!! After yesterdays post on "Slow Down" I think God wanted to slow me down and show me HIS sunrise and HIS beauty.....I think I caught myself smiling and saying back to Him in my heart...."thank you for another day...and most of all life...you are the creator of everything and I love you!"

I know the timing was perfect for me to see this sunrise because I NEVER get up at 5:15. And the sun isn't up either at 5:15, but by the time I let out the dog, turned on Ms.Laptop, got the coffee started, and sat down....it was time for God to show me His work!!! It was still somewhat dark when I sat down, but then all of sudden there came the light through the window......not just any kind of light, but that beautiful light of pink, blue and purple. I even had to scoot down on the couch and see what was going on out there. He had my attention! It was extraordinary. But in a few short minutes, it was over....God said to me..."Thanks for watching my show this morning...keep your eyes on me all day!"

I just loved this moment with Him. It was a special time for me and our AWESOME GOD. I hope you have a great day and He shows His colors to you BIG!!!
Blessings...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Slow down!!

I have been sitting here with so many things swirling around in my jam-packed mind and trying to decide what I wanted to share for today. I think I may make it a "hodge-podge" of stuff and start with "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY" to myself and my precious hubby, Chip. Its today! Its today! Its today!!! I have been married for 13 yrs and thank God everyday for this relationship and my family. It is so far from perfect, but we are growing and learning and finding our way as a family and keeping Jesus in the center. That alone can be a huge challenge some days!

As a momma to 3 very busy boys, I have begun praying for so many things for them....their school day, of course, but bigger things like love, integrity, self-control, the love of God's word, compassion, patience, their future spouse, respect.....etc. etc. etc. etc. Our lists could go on and on.

But, as I spend some time thinking about these 4 most important relationships in my life, I want to give them 110%. Now, don't get me wrong, I can sure screw that up and only give them half of myself at any given moment if i'm "busy" doing something that seems more important at the time. How can some"thing" be more important than the people God has placed before me???? Why do we get caught up in the time, stuff, and tasks that seem SO IMPORTANT but clearly our relationships should always come first.

I guess I need to add something to my prayer list. During my busy days and nights and I hear those most important voices.....needing me or asking me to do something...that I turn my focus on them. Ask God to give you a day of "simplicity" so you can go sit with your favorite people and give them ALL of you!

Oh, how I wonder how many times God has been trying to get my attention and I've been too busy to hear Him?? Lord, give me ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart for loving. I want to give Him all I can as well. Lets not give half of ourselves to anyone.....and most importantly our Savior.

I love my family and I love Jesus dearly and I want to give them all I can when I'm called!!!!
Blessings....

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm thirsty.....

I know that we all realize that its 110 degrees outside and that we are melting, dying, can't afford the utility bill, can't breathe outside, sick of it all, ready for Winter kind of people these days. But, something occurred to me while I watered my precious plants and flowers outside this morning.

Actually, I should say that "someone" occurred to me today and His beautiful name is Jesus! I have been watering these babies every day 3 times a day for FOREVER.....at least it seems so. This heat is killing them....they are just drying up left and right and the sun is just too much for them. I get kinda sick of going out there so many times a day and watering them...you know, it takes every bit of 10 minutes to do so...but, I can't see them coming back to a healthy, beautiful life. They are hanging on by a very dry thread.

Well, Jesus spoke to me....you know how He does...right into our hearts...and He said, "Aren't you glad that I don't get tired of watering your scrawny behind?!" Well, maybe not just like that, but its how I took it. Thank you Jesus for your patience and amazing love for me.

I hope your daily "heat" isn't drying you up, wearing you down, or sucking the life out of you. Take some time...soak in Jesus. Get a good waterin' from Him. He is right there ready with His watering can! Dive in!

Blessings.....

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Oh, for the love of ....school!

I am almost giddy these days...not because my children are back in school...I really do miss them...i think of them 100 times a day....i pray for them 100 times a day as i know they are making decisions and working so hard at their work. But, the best thing that has happened as they leave the house at 7:30 each morning...still exhausted from these early mornings...is that i have my time with Jesus. HALLELUJAH! I'm thinking of all the posts i've read in blogworld about you precious mommas needing that tv time for your little ones so you can get things done around the house or to spend time in study or prayer with Jesus...the infamous quiet time!!

Well, my "quiet time" has gone from almost non-existant to 10 minutes a day to a full 7 hours if I want it!! I'm so thankful that Jesus loves me the same...I feel like i'm reuniting with my best friend....He is my best friend...I've missed Him and we are together again!! I'm reading "Get out of that Pit" and its fabulous! Please read if you haven't! It's unbelievable. Thank you precious Beth for your faithfulness and your work. You are one amazing vessel!!

I love this season I'm in. I hope you do too.
Blessings....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Get Smart...

Ok, its Monday morning and for some reason my heart is just racing 100 mph....could it be that i dropped off my kids back at school...where did my Summer go with them?
I didn't know if I wanted to cry, jump with joy, or just sit in awe of how much they have grown. They are boys now...no longer little ones...they are growing up right before my eyes. Sometimes a momma just can't take that feeling of "i'm the same, but they are changing." Oh, I know I'm not the same but sometimes I get stuck in this time warp thing and I still think its 1998 or something. Anyway, there they went to their classes and I had a million emotions going through my mind.

I have prayed really hard these last 24 hrs for them....their friends, their teachers, their school, their choices, their minds, their fears and anxieties, their wishes, God's plan for them this year, for an unbelievable growth in mind, body and spirit. I have really hit heaven hard with some lifting up of these boys.

Something hit me hard this past week and I am passing it along to you....hence the name of this weeks blog, "Get Smart." We know that this is the beginning of a new school year and we put a lot of focus on getting ready for school....do we have school supplies? And i'm still looking for a few items out there that are about to send me over the edge because I promise that ya'll snatched them up before us procastinators could get to them. We wonder if they need new backpacks and lunchboxes. We wonder about getting their uniforms or school clothes and oh yeah the tennis shoes! Let me just say that when we went to get new tennis shoes at Hibbetts last week I almost went into shock at the counter to pay. What was I thinking??? I must have been in a real good, fired up, back to school mood when I agreed to the shoes they got. I think I had sticker shock when we left. Anyway...they look cool and I'll keep on wearing my good ole faithful tennis shoes a little bit longer....oh, the sacrifice!

Well, we spend all this time, effort and energy into back to school as we should and then it hit me.....WHAT ABOUT BACK TO SUNDAY SCHOOL??!! Well, you would think because of my job that this would be in the front part of my brain. It is..don't get me wrong...but, the Lord told me to put just as much thought, effort and energy in celebrating a new year of spiritual growth!!! Well, let me just say that I felt so bad about not doing so that I immediately asked for forgiveness. I have prayed so hard for your new Sunday school teachers.....for their desire to want to teach....but, BAM! then it hit me. Its time to get on our knees and pray for our kids and the spiritual growth that is going to take place this year.
Please don't take this upcoming year lightly....i pray you'll commit to a faithful year of Sunday school and church and all FUMC activities. I want to keep Jesus #1 in my life....not just when its convenient or when I need Him most.....I need to put Him before everything else!!! WOW.....sometimes that is hard to swallow. I am committing myself and my family to an awesome year of faithfullness in attendace, support and service at FUMC and I pray you do too. Its a new year in everything....don't let your families spiritual growth be at the bottom of your list. Keep Jesus, FUMC, and spiritual growth at numero uno this year. For me, sometimes I need the reminder that their spiritual growth is the most important thing for them.

You are always in my prayers, sweet families. I'm hitting heaven hard these days with prayer as we emabark on "Getting Smart!" I am thrilled with excitement as I think about how they will spiritually grow this year.....keep Jesus #1 and talk to your children about how they can begin to keep Him #1 in their life.

Thank you Jesus for a new school year and a new spiritual year. I can't wait to see what you teach us and reveal to us!! We thank you in advance for the awesome works in everything we do!!!

Blessings.....

Monday, August 6, 2007

Time for a change...

Hi everybody!!
Well...its that time of year again! It seems like Summer just started and for those of us with school age children we are getting ready for "back to school!" I really can't believe it. This is the 1st time in 11 years of being a mother that i just don't want school to start. All the boys are big enough to make days fun and pretty much trouble-free.....except for the occasional mom yelling at kids for kids yelling at kids. :)

So..as we move from no-structure kind of lifestyle into 100% structured lifestyle, we will go into a state of shock and then after a week or two we will settle down into what will seem like a very normal, never left it kind of routine. Part of this routine is the daily discipline of getting kids out the door, going to work, picking kids up, doing homework, after school activities, family time......and yes, bible study! I will go ahead and admit it....my daily discipline of spending time with God and in His word has been so far from structured that it is almost non-existant. I'll spend time with Him, but not truly in His presence.....I sure haven't done any kind of learning or growth this Summer. Maybe God would beg to differ with me....I would just have to take the time to listen and reflect on all the "God stuff" from the last few months. To be in such a lazy Summer mode, for some reason its hard for me to keep the discipline alive and active.

As we move into the season of structure and school, I want to get my time back with God and I also want to begin teaching my children to see the realness of God. Do we as parents do a good job of pointing Him out in their daily life??? I don't think I have done a great job of that here lately. Thankfully, God loves me the same and is anxious to cultivate these relationships with Him. My goal for my personal life and for your children at FUMC, is to really show them, teach them, and talk about making Jesus as real as possible. If you would like for me to explore this on a more practical level, I will. Or you can post questions or comments in the comments section of this blog. Maybe we should ask ourselves...."How is God real to my children outside of church and the stories they learn each week?" I know I need to work on that for myself and for my kids too.

I hope you have had a great Summer and I don't want it to end.....but, I need to move into that structured world that I tend to do better with Jesus. I've missed Him and I challenge us to all to do the same. He is real. He is alive. He is active in each one of us......no matter if we are 37 or 7. Lets open our hearts, ears, and eyes to see Him.....again! I'm so thankful He never left me!

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

Boy 1

Boy 1

Boy 2

Boy 2

Boy 3

Boy 3

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