Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hair Removal...and stuff...

I am gonna take a break from my Made to Crave blogging for more pressing hair here goes (no worries, my Made to Crave blog will be back after this message :)

So in my 34 minutes of free time yesterday, I flipped through a few tv channels as I folded church bulletins, ate a snack and looked through a magazine (I like multitasking :). I saw an infomercial on called "Painless Hair Removal". I literally laughed out loud and flipped on to something else. You see...I am quite the expert on hair removal...and very little of it is pain free. Honestly? I sometimes wish our culture found hairy women sexy. Seriously. I have a fertility disorder that causes me to have dark hair in the least attractive places. I have used nads, wax, electrolysis, you name it, I've tried it. And NONE of it was painless. I won't even begin to describe the fun I had last spring when a friend and I decided that we were grown up enough now to have the ol bikini area waxed... Enough details there.

So by now you are wondering, um, where are we going with this? As soon as I saw the title, I thought, yeah, right. And instantly the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Isn't it just like our human nature to try the easy way out? Really? Make it fast, make it easy, make it pain free. Sometimes, I think that's what hinders us from getting rid of our sin. We know it's going to be painful. We know that our crutch is being taken from us. For some of us our sin isn't merely a crutch or hindrance in our life. More often than not, our habitual sins tend to be a security blanket for us. Don't you think? I know that the sins I tend to habitually commit are the ones that bring me a comfort. Like comfort food. But a comfort sin. I know you are probably thinking I am crazy. Or maybe you are totally identifying with me here. I never, ever set out in my day to sin. I start out really good and close to my Savior. As the day wears on and hindrances and roadblocks worm their way into my day, a wedge gets thrown in between me and God. Totally my fault, simply because I don't recognize them and attempt to stop them. But as that wedge is driven in and I get a tad further away from God, Satan starts whittling away at my resolve. A certain trigger or temptation slams me in the head or even just slips in unnoticed and BAM! That sin that comforts me creeps in. For some, it may be your thought life. For others it may be overindulgence in "comfort foods". It may even be alcohol (and I don't mean a simple glass o' wine girls, I mean when we turn to alcohol for comfort. Often when that happens, it tends to be much more than one glass, one beer, one drink...). Whatever it is...don't feel alone, we all have those sins, however minute they may seem. We don't want to get rid of them, simply because they bring us comfort.

It's like we can see the pain it will bring to go cold turkey from this comfort sin in our lives. Taking away a security blanket just plain ol hurts. Do you ever feel like God convicts you of your security blanket over and over again? Means He wants you to get rid of it! When we become aware of the ugliness in our lives, we have a desire to be rid of it, right? So when God convicts you of it, get rid of it. No matter how painful. God has shown us the places we are falling short so we will get rid of it yes, but also so we will draw close to Him! So we will rely on Him for that comfort, not physical or mental things. For the presence of His Holy Spirit. And the goal is...not just a closer walk with Christ...but also a way to give Him the glory for this victory in your life.

God wants us to have a victorious and abundant life. He soooo desires that for us! Do you believe that?? Girls, hair removal may be painful....and so may sin removal...but in the end, we wind up with some super smooth legs, arm pits, chins, brows and lips...but more importantly, we wind up so much closer to God...and the abundant life He promised us!

John 10:10 ~ "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

Happy Hair and Sin Removal!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Made to Crave...Status Update :)

Hey apologies for a delayed post. Following the passing of the wife of the pastor that I work for, well, needless to say, it's been a super busy week. Only a few moments of laundry and dishes time this week, so blogging and facebooking have taken a back seat!

A few weeks ago I read a statement in the book, Made to Crave. The statement said we are to ask ourselves..."it's permissable...but is it beneficial?" Um. Well. Gosh. That one has really resonated with me. God keeps knocking me over the head with it. It even showed back up in this week's study. Jesh! How many things in my life does this apply to?? So very many. I feel like I am living and walking a very close walk with my Lord. I do my very best to please Him every day. I am human. I am not worthy of Him. I DO try my best though. I try to conquer my thought life through the power of the Holy Spirit. I try to tame my tongue, through His mighty power. I do my best to respect and love my spouse, through the love that the Holy Spirit supplies me. I attempt to be a Godly wife, mother and daughter - again, yes, you guessed it, by my Savior's leading. Do I fall short? Yes. Daily. I look at all these things and I now feel myself putting it all to the test of "it's permissable, but is it beneficial?" And I realize...there are some things I need to work on. Lots of things. I want all things in my life to be to His glory! My thoughts, my words, my life. I want it all to be beneficial.

You might did I go from Made to Crave, which is normally about my food habits, to this. Well, I DO apply it to my food habits too. I'm still working on it...but it's a powerful question in the realm of my eating habits too. It really does help to ask yourself this each time you plan your meals and when you sit down to eat them. Snacks too!

I by no means have this all figured out yet...but Ima working on it! I do continue to ask Him daily for the "want to" in this healthy lifestyle I'm attempting. I do pray to Him when I am frustrated or craving. And I praise Him for my victories.

I hate the word diet. I want a lifestyle change. This started out as a journey with my food and health. It still is. But now the focus has changed. God has changed my heart...and thus changed the relationship I have with my food and my health. I like this change. I like this me. Keep praying for me...and I'll pray for you :)

God is able...I am not. God is perfect...I am not. I AM however, excited to see where God is taking me on this journey. Take the journey with me?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekends...Refreshment for Ugh

I am a regular Facebooker. I admit it. It's a great way for me to keep up with friends and family that I don't see often...and it's a great way to share my faith and encouragment to others. It always fascinates me to read other people's posts. They range everywhere from my sweet friend that post some mushy, gushy, life is great post every day, to the person that I am fairly sure would be content to curl up in a ball and disappear from life, as their posts are non stop Eyeore type posts - I really feel bad for the girl, she has a perpetual headache.
On Sundays one post always resonates with me. About 5 or 6 o'clock you start seeing the "Ugh, Monday is looming" posts. Often they are the same "TGIF" posters from Friday, lol. It bothers me that we, in general, label Mondays with a big fat "UGH". Mondays are a great opportunity to take the refreshment we received over the weekend to put it to good use! We are at our best when we are well rested and have fresh perspective...why not load up with it on the weekend and use it as a catalyst to start the week off right?? Seizing every moment of every essential in our ultimate goal of doing our best for God in this short life. How can we possibly set the example for the lost, when we start our week off with an "UGH"?

I lost a sister in Christ this weekend to physical death. Her life on this earth was cut quite short...and I can only imagine what she is experiencing as she begins her eternity with our King of Kings. I cannot help but think, if she could tell us anything, that she would tell us to seize every moment to make ourselves better and help others better their walks with God as well. She was constantly calling myself and my co-worker with suggestions on how to make certain things within the church "better". She saw the details that could make the real difference. She had a perspective on life that came from a gift of discernment - a gift not all Christ followers have. She could sit back and see what changes would be glorifying to God...and she used that to better others.

I can't help but write about my sister in Christ. She was a great lady...and I know she has added a special something to Heaven this weekend. How about if we use our weekend refreshment to add a little something special to this world this week...while we can.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Japanese...and I'm Not Talking Hibachi

Unless you live under a rock or in a bomb shelter, I suppose you've all heard about the infamous earthquake and Tsunami in Japan today (or yesterday for them). Cue break for prayers...Father, You are all knowing, You are all powerful, You are present everywhere. You are amazing and wonderful in every way. We don't understand in our human minds and hearts why such horrible natural disasters have to happen. We know we will understand one day. Our hearts hurt for our friends in Japan tonight. So many many many dead. God our prayer tonight is for Your powerful, beautiful, overwhelming presence be with the people of Japan tonight and in the coming days. God I pray that they will feel Your heart, Your presence, Your comfort, Your love and Your peace. I pray for physical and emotional healing and I pray that people will find You, as their Savior, in all of this upheaval. I pray for the souls that are unfound or trapped...bless them Lord. I pray for the repercussions that will affect the Japanese people in the coming days, weeks and months. Keep them safe in the coming aftershocks. God let us see You in all of this...and every time You bring the people of Japan to our minds, help us to stop and breathe a prayer on their behalf to Your open and loving heart. Amen

Once again, natural disaster strikes. Once again, people are reeling from the death, the disaster and the out of control spiral that have become their lives. Pray for them. Pray for those helping. Pray for those wanting to help. I want to be there, I want to help...still praying to find God's will in all of this. Many say this is fulfilled prophecy...not sure about that. I know that God has a plan...He will fulfill it in His own time. I DO know this...He is in control of it. We are not to fear.

One day...we will stand in front of God (for better or worse) and I for one, would like to ask some hard why. And why ice cream has to have so many calories and be bad for you. Fries too. Regardless of it all...He has our best interest and our lives in His plan...even when things like this happen. Good or bad...He has us covered.

Til tomorrow...Ima steer clear of that ice cream and those fries...and I'll be interceding for Japan. Join me?


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Barrel of Monkeys and Barbeque

Alrighty...I will openly admit it...I ate barbeque yesterday. It was good, old fashioned, Lexington style barbeque. And it was yummy. I had the fries too...but I firmly believe my Diet Dr. Pepper balanced the whole meal out. Yeah. Right. So today, as I was doing the lesson for Made to Crave, it actually asked me to think about the last time I gave in...and what my thought process was...what the lie was that I believed to allow myself to eat something I was determined NOT to eat. Well....if you've ever been in uptown Lexington, North Carolina and smelled the pit cooked barbeque as you drive down Main Street...enough said. That lie took me down! Seriously...I can tell myself all day long that, I do live in the barbeque capital of North Carolina and I can get barbeque any time I want it (I know, I know, my Texas friends are limbering up their fingers to fuss at me via Facebook to tell me what BBQ REALLY is, lol)...but the reality is, and this sounds dumb, I'm scared of a salad at a BBQ place. Really. I mean, their specialty is barbeque. Nothing there is healthy...not even the salad. So why not eat something I like? In all was a flub up and I will be better next time. In all of my postings about how seriously I am taking my new lifestyle and Made to Crave, I thought I should be brutally honest about my mistakes. So I learned 2 things:

  • NOT a good idea to go to the Barbeque Center when trying to achieve a weight loss goal/healthy lifestyle

  • I believed the lie it was okay to have this, there was nothing better for me there.

So that was my food post for today...on to my ongoing heated debate with a friend!

As most everyone who does NOT live under a rock knows (my deepest and sincerest apologies if you have just crawled out from your rock), today is the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday. I will be totally honest, until I went to work for a church that observes Lent, my little Baptist self didn't really know what Lent was. My pastor always jokingly says, "I give up cigarettes and beer for Lent"...meaning, we try to live a Godly life throughout the year, not just the next forty days. Well, as it turns out, others see Lent in a different light.

My friend is formerly Catholic. She received Christ as her Savior some years ago and has since entered the ministry (not that Catholics can't be saved! Just saying, she swapped her theology a little!). In deciding what to teach this week about Lent, we got into a lively theological debate this my pastors words (isn't he quite the inspiration today?? ha!) "it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys!" As sisters in Christ, both waist deep in the ministry, we both had our own ideas...without going into great detail, it gives me great pleasure to say I won. Just kidding! I enjoyed her perspective on it. We both listened to each other with great respect. She took what I said to heart (which is a trait I love about this Jesus sister! I need to borrow some of that open mindedness from her!) and I learned a lot from her as well. I have always dismissed Lent as an observance with pagan beginnings (look it up, promise I'm not lying!), but I see it a bit differently now. My heart and my eyes are opened to a new look at Lent. I still don't agree with some of the liturgical aspects, but there's nothing wrong with a closer walk with God and a time of reflection (I STILL say we can do that year round, but I get the idea ;) I have great respect for anyone observing Lent :)

I have been doing Made to Crave for several weeks now...and as I've mentioned before, God has brought to light several areas of my life that needed to be cleansed, purged and turned over to Him. I've done that and seek Him daily to help me with it. I don't have a lot to give up right now (barbeque perhaps??) I see it as a time to grow close to go a step further than I do the rest of the year, and really bask in His wisdom, His glory and to be quiet in His presence. All year long I praise, thank, repent and ask. I think I'm going to take this time to see just how close to Him I can draw. I want to see what He has to say to my heart. I want to see it all through His eyes and I want to feel the heartbeat of His presence, His love and His mercy. My goal here is to establish a new way to worship on my own...and to develop this in the next 40 days...and to continue it from thereafter.

I know my viewpoint may not be a popular one, but it's mine. I'm interested to see what my new outlook will bring to my walk with my Lord!

What is your Lenten season going to look like?

Until next time...


Monday, March 7, 2011

Made for Something More

Okay friends! I have found an AMAZING conference to attend this summer! It is a great opportunity for me to develop and grow in my call to women's ministry. I am blogging tonight to tell you all about my call to the ministry and WHY I would love to win a scholarship to the conference. So here goes....wish me luck (throw up a few prayers for me too please!)
Interested in going yourself? Here's a link to scholarship information as well as more info on the conference!

I have figured something out in recent years. Receiving and accepting your calling to the ministry is the easy part...the rest of it is the tough part! I knew more than 6 years ago that God was calling me to women's ministry...what aspect of it, I had no idea. I, in all my "spiritual maturity and wisdom" (cough, cough, roll the eyes) knew that if God called me to it, He would show me NOW what He wanted me to do. Okay. You can stop laughing now. Seriously. More than six years later...after leading a few conferences for the precious Jesus girls at my church, leading several Bible studies and even leading our WMU at church for a few years...I'm still floundering...a little. I know God has called me to women's ministry...but where? I'm still looking!

Over the years I have come to realize that God has given me both a gift for speaking and a gift for teaching His infallible Word. I am always shocked, amazed and humbled to my core when the Holy Spirit gives me the words...when He gives me the direction, wisdom and discernment that I need. If you knew my shy nature, you would totally understand how this is completely of God! I have no understanding of scripture on my own - it is a total reliance on God to comprehend His meaning. Little by little I have completely given this to God and time and time again He blesses me so (and before it sounds like I am a tad less than me, I know it for sure when I haven't totally given it to Him...when Leslie creeps into the teaching, it's all over, lol).

I have been familiar with Proverbs 31 Ministries for a number of years. I had the pleasure of hearing Shari Braendel (did I butcher the spelling?) at Joe Gibbs racing a few years ago and I remember sitting there thinking "THAT is what I want to do God! I want to stand up in front of a group of women with Your strength and love these ladies with your Truth and Your Word!" By the way, Shari spoke on "What Not to Wear for Christian Women" was FABULOUS! A few weeks ago I was praying about a new Bible study to do at church and I happened to hear Lysa on KLove one morning. When I heard about Made to Crave there was that instant jolt from the Holy Spirit that told me, this is the one. I immediately bought the book and participant guide and dove right in. My sweet Jesus girls at church have LOVED it and are doing really well with it. In looking up Lysa's daily blog, I found the link to She Speaks. Again, the Holy Spirit spoke to me instantly. In reading the descriptions of what is offered at She Speaks, I knew right then and there that this was for me.

I truly need a direction and focus in my ministry. I have to say this...knowing that you are called to ministry but not being able to effectively use the skills and gifts that God has given you FOR that one of the most frustrating things I've ever experienced. She Speaks is going to give me that extra boost that I need. I know that God has big plans and I am a part of them! I am excited to see how God is going to work. I am a tad scared at the same time, as I know I will have to give complete control to God (why is that SOOOO hard for women??). I know that God is in control of it all and I so strongly desire to glorify Him, win women to Jesus in the process and grow ladies in our precious Lord. She Speaks is just going to be the starting point! It will give me the tools and the confidence to step out in complete faith and give my all to my Savior and His beloved daughters!

To win the scholarship to this conference would mean more to me than I could express in words. I know God has called me to this conference, one way or another. Winning this scholarship would allow me to develop and grow my ministry for women in ways that I can only begin to imagine...I can't wait to see what God has in store!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Day Worth Cheating For

Dear God, it's me, Leslie. You know my heart, You know my desire, You know my goals, You know my weaknesses, You know my strengths. You know when I am stressed, my "mess up" trigger is cocked and ready to cheat. I'm there. I'm so there. Between my family's health issues, the ever shortening life of my precious Granny, stresses at work, being a single parent a good portion of the week, losing a loved one to death and being hurt by a friend...God you know my stresses are high. My heart hurts and my brain says go eat some chocolate to make it better...better yet, pack up the kiddo and go to McDonald's for a treat. The world is telling me, have a beer or a glass of wine, that will ease your burden. Or maybe, if I go do some retail therapy, my problems will seem less. God, I so desire to please You. I so desire to be close to You...and I know each of these quick fixes will push me further from You. I am begging and pleading, please help me to see You as the Fixer, not food or other "stuff" of the world. I am begging You, please help me stay focused on You. I know that each of these quick fixes are permissable, but I also know they are not beneficial. Help me to stay focused and not lose sight. I have come so far and made so many advances towards me to crawl up into the crook of Your big, beautiful, capable arms and rest in Your divine and loving presence. God fill me with Your Holy Spirit, soothe my brokeness with the sweet balm of Your everlasting grace and mercy. I know that when I am weak, You are strong...and You bestow upon me the gift of Your mighty strength. I am broken tonight Lord. I've read the book...I know who wins...but please get me through this time that hurts...I know these times spent in the valley will allow me to soon stand on Your mountaintop and see my growth in You. I can get excited about that. Trials will come and go, and I know that when You bring me through them, You allow me to bask in Your glory. I love You my Addonai, my Maker, my Father, my precious Redeemer. In Jesus Holy, Precious name...Amen