Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I bought Gracie a new book last week. It's the Secret Keeper Girls Bible Study, called my Best Friend Jesus. How cool is that? It really teaches kids, especially girls, all about the special relationship they can have with Jesus. Gracie loves it...she loves all things Jesus, God, Bible, worship, and the like. I love to hear her's like God is right in front of her face and He's her best friend that she can spill her heart to. She inspires me...or, I should say, God inspires me through her, every day.

About two years ago Gracie and I went with our church youth group to Camp as a chaperone, Gracie as a tag along. Each night at Caswell, after supper was finished, all 1100-1200 attendees gather in Hatch Auditorium for worship. Worship there involves a live band, dramas and a speaker (and God, of course!!). Now, I will tell you, we've always been very frank with Gracie about God. No beating around the bush, He is who He is and we've always been very up front about having a relationship with Him, not to treat God as an obligation. That is not me putting myself on a pedestal, that is me telling you Paul and I attempt, in every way to be obedient to God and raise the very one that He blessed us with in His sight and according to His will. Long story short, about three nights into camp, we were all getting tired but having a blast. During one of the worship songs...a slow, melodic song called Lead Me to the Cross...I look down, expecting to see Gracie coloring, but all I see is her bawling her little eyes out. I look up at our group...seeing varying expressions as they all looked on, some singing, some looking very bored, some texting and some with their hands raised in praise. And I looked again at my precious gift from God, crying on the pew beside me. I sat down beside her and pulled her into my lap and asked the obvious question..."What's wrong baby?" And as she looked up at me with her big, hazel eyes, her lashes heavy with tears, she sobbed "nothing, these are happy tears". Happy tears (I've since determined, this is a term coined by my child, she's used it many times since)?? She explained, because, you see, this mommy was to human to realize what the Holy Spirit was doing to my daughter...He was bringing her into His presence and giving her a true heart of worship. This little, six year old girl, got it. She got it better than most adults, better than most of the kids, and certainly better than me. She explained that she was so happy that Jesus died for her, that He was willing to be tortured and suffer for the bad things that she does, and that she just didn't understand how He could love her that much, but that she sure did love Him back. Okay, so I'm crying now, just reliving it.

Why do we, as adults, find worship so hard? Are we so consumed with worrying about what others will think that we can't worship the way God intends? Don't get me wrong...if you're not a hand raiser, I'm not judging...everyone worships in a different way. There is nothing wrong with sitting in you chair, or on your pew during worship time...your worship is between you and God, it doesn't have to be outward. He loves for us to worship outwardly and show the world our love for Him, yes, but it's not necessary to have a wonderful, complete, loving relationship with Him. But worship is not only for the eleven o'clock hour on Sunday. Worship is 24/7. a your life. How we live our lives, our witness for God, how others see us live our lives (when it glorifies God) is our worship. So let's marinate on that for a moment or two. Is your worship evident in your life? Forget Sunday morning for a about the other 167 hours a week? Yep, we are all human, not a one of us is perfect. Sometimes, even oftentimes, our life may not reflect our relationship with Christ...but when we put Him at the center...stay in His word and live it...little by little our lives will become worship...24/7.

I love worship now...I see how affected Gracie is by His Holy Spirit...and I want the same feeling. I want that all consuming, exhilirating, beautiful feeling of worship in my life, on more than just Sundays. I'm getting there...and it's wonderful. Not all the time, but me and God, we're working on it. It's a triumphant thing to worship a risen King...THE risen King...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Such a Time as This...

Okay, either you are, or you aren't. You are on one side of the fence or the other. No more riding the wave to see where it goes. There is no grey area when it comes to being a born again believer. There are a lot of churches out there preaching some dangerous stuff. One being that the word of God is NOT inerrant. Meaning, it was written with some errors, some stuff is wrong. Wow, how ignorant, no, flat out stupid is that? When we open ourselves up to thinking that God's Word is not absolutely, positively perfect in every possible way, then the point of being a born again believer is moot. No reality for it exists. That is scary. God tells us that His Word is God breathed and inspired. He also tells us in Revelation 19 that we are not to add to it, nor take away from it. That just took several religions out of the running for preaching and teaching accurately. If the Word of God isn't right, then why are we worshiping a King that may or may not have existed, that may or may not have died, been buried and rose again? It's pointless, right? Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong. The Bible is historical books, for the most part written soley about the true and Living God. (A couple are secular, which, duh, points to the fact even more that the Bible is true...why would the canonizers add in historically accurate books if they might disprove the other books??) But I'm not here to argue why the Bible is perfect, I hope you trust me when I tell you it is.

So, if the Bible is completely accurate, there is no falsehoods in it...why aren't people believing it....knowing it....teaching it? There are so many people that are wishy washy Born again Believers today. So the buck stops here. Either you know Christ and are living the life or you don't. Yeah, there are backsliders and there are those living out of the will of God. They can still be born again believers, just not on track, not savoring and loving the relationship they have with Christ. But know that the Holy Spirit is always there, bringing a sweet conviction that only He can. I am tired of hearing televangelists and preachers talking about living a good life and we'll all be all right. That's a load of junk, promise. Why won't preachers talk about salvation? Why are we so scared to tell people that the alternative to Heaven is Hell? Are we afraid we'll scare them off? Mordecai told Esther in Esther 4 that she was brought there (to Persia, as Queen to King Xerxes) for "such a time as this". It's now or never folks. We are not guaranteed tomorrow, heck, we aren't even guaranteed this afternoon or tonight or 15 minutes from now.
It's such a simple process. I actually heard a preacher mock the Romans road to salvation last week. He said it's antiquated and outdated. Here's the thing's RIGHT! We are all sinners...while we were yet sinners Jesus died for US...Jesus is the Son of God...and if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, you will be saved. It's so simple, but we try to make it so hard. We try to put so much effort into things we shouldn't when what we should be doing is leading people to Christ. At a church meeting the other night we discussed the fact that in order to witness to someone we have to form a relationship with them...people are suspicious of people and ideas they don't know about. That's very true...and often very effective, but we also cannot discount the fact that some people come to us searching...and we can never assume people in our congregations aren't searching..we have to offer them the chance...cause they aren't promised tomorrow either.

Is what I'm saying harsh...maybe. Some people need to know the harsh reality, some need to be taught in a different way. No silly anecdotes today, no funny stories. I'm fired up. I want to see souls won. I want to see God's kingdom grow. I want to see people discipled and loved and grown in God. I want to be a part of that. We as born again believers were brought here for such a time as this. No other time in the history of this world has God been less worshiped or loved...this is our chance to stand in the gap for the lost and to be the shining light God intended and desired for us to be. With me?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I'm Your New GPS...and My Name Ain't Tom Tom

I went to a meeting for our new church tonight. We were talking about working within the church and the different duties that needed willing workers to fulfill them...ya know, that dirty word in the church...volunteerism (gasp! I said it!!). It's so true. When you ask a person to volunteer, it turns into the face looking up at the ceiling, at the floor, at their nails or picking a dirty spot on the seat beside them. They won't look you in the eye and say no, they'd rather slink off to their own little hole than answer...admit it, we've all been there, especially if you've ever worked in schools or in the ministry! Our pastor's wife has come up with a clever way to address the dirty church word. Instead of volunteers, we are now GPS "God's People Serving" (I think that's right!). I like that a lot, because it speaks to the fact that we are serving our brothers and sisters in Christ, not just giving up a little of our time, it truly serves a purpose.

So as the meeting progressed and it got later into the evening, we all got a little more talkative and the ideas, great, good, bad and ugly, began to flow. One person jokingly suggested we all get t-shirts so newcomers would know our purpose in the church. For instance, as an usher, my shirt would say "I Take U Money". Or as a greeter that hands out food, the shirt would say "I Make U Popcorn". Our praise band would have the greatest though "I Sing For U". Funny! But as we sat and joked, I began to think on it (scary, I know). It almost sounded like we were talking about a commercial. Can't you picture it? People walking around in these t-shirts that describe themselves. I don't know what they'd be selling, but I can picture it. So that made me wonder. If I had a t-shirt on describing myself, what would it say? I suppose I'd have to change it each day, as my moods and my heart changes. Would it say
  • "I Love Me"?
  • "I Love God"?
  • "I Love Others"?
  • "I Need Chocolate"?
  • "I'm Going to Harm My Husband If He Leaves the Toilet Seat Up One More Time"?

What if we wore our hearts, what's truly in our hearts, on our shirts every day. I've heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve, but this is a little different. If you could describe what's in your heart, what would your shirt say? Fulfilled? Souled Out? Riding the Fence? Soul Winning? Empty? Searching? Longing? Lost? What would it say? I think it would be a scary thing for everyone around me to know what's truly in my heart sometimes. Don't you? Or are you one of those perfect people in the world?? Ha! But I have to tell you something...God knows what's in your heart all of the time. Great, good, bad and ugly. I know as my Savior, He will forgive all things bad and ugly when I confess them to Him (yes, He knows the bad and ugly already, but He still desires for us to tell Him about them...something cathartic about it too). And since God IS good, He IS Love, all the good in your heart is coming from Him anyway...but we can still thank Him for it.

Wearing your heart on your t-shirt would be scary...for everyone to know your true heart sometimes. But more often than not, your life tells the story of your heart anyway. Your countenance, your words, your actions, the way you CHOOSE to act and react and live your life, are all telling the story of your heart. So where is your heart? Are you good to go, happy in Christ and living it all souled out completely fulfilled in Him? Are you putting on the happy face but slowly and agonizingly wasting away inside your heart (then something is missing and we need to talk, so hit me up!)? Are you completely baffled by what I'm saying and know nothing about what truly should be at the center of your heart (my Jesus and yours), so that all things good will be in your heart and show in your life? (then, again, hit me up!)

So as I go back to thinking about being a GPS (all I can think of is having a red blinking light on my head!) I want to make sure that my own heart is where it needs to be, completely and wholly centered on Christ...or I will never be the GPS God intends for me to be...and if I'm livin' it souled out, I want to be EVERYTHING He intends me to be!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jewels, Wine and Some Crab Cakes...

Charity functions are a new thing to me. So new, I went to my first one tonight. We have prayerfully decided to give a small amount each year to a relatively new foundation for pediatric traumas at Baptist/Brenners in Winston Salem. Great cause, one dear to our hearts. But I suppose even the most minute givers get invited to the swanky shindigs, so we went. More or less to just check it out and see what was involved in this whole "charity" thing. It was a lot of fun, great people involved - it's a wonderful foundation to be a part of. So we go to a beautiful jewelry store not too far from our home and walk into a huge room full of all things sparkly, shiny and expensive. Very expensive. Our biggest concern of the evening to this point was what to wear (or what NOT to wear, like the TV show!), until we walk in the doors. Oh my. The people. The pretty, shiny, happy people(wasn't that a song a while back?) Or at least they seemed happy...ya never know a person's heart. They all had shiny things on to wear. And shiny shoes. And shiny purses. They were ALL buying shiny new dangly things, while sipping wine, munching on crab cakes and eating, you guessed it, cheese. (Or did you guess it??) We kept seeing the same poor waiter hocking his wares (his wares consisted of shrimp cocktail, steak on little pieces of bread and, of course, crab cakes). Some folks in there looked as out of place as we did (or at least we felt like we did!) and my husband reminded me several times that he was the only man there, other than the owner (why do I care, this is HIS shin dig!). Surveying the crowd a little closer revealed a lot of overly made up women that were spending a LOT of money...on jewelry. Something to make them prettier, something to make them stand out, to shine a little more.

Sometimes when I see things online, in a store, or even see something nice that someone is wearing, I think, wow, that's nice, I'd like to have that. Or when I see a new Jetta (my newest hang up) going down the highway, I think, I wish I had the mulah for that one. Don't get me wrong, I'm not THAT superficial that I feel like I am entitled or HAVE to have these things, but sometimes I think, wouldn't it be nice?? I saw a lot of pretty people tonight, wearing pretty clothes, pretty things. But I realized something. I don't need all of that. The jewelry...the purses...the shoes. Yep, I've known this for quite some time, but occasionally it takes going to an event such as this to help bring me back to this reality. I am good at shrugging things off when I one of those desires...often when I get one of those hankerings for worldly things the Holy Spirit quickly reminds me that I am who God created me to be. Maybe not living up to His standards the way He would like, but I am trying. And I know for certain that a lack of jewelry, purses, shoes, hair, make up, clothes or what-have-you will not make Him any happier. I am and I have all I need in Christ. I am complete in Him, even when sometimes my human mind thinks otherwise (human nature, right??) There is a song that I love (you may be listening to it now) called How He Loves. One of the verses goes like this..."He is our Portion and we are His prize". Jesus is my portion...He was given for me, what more could I possibly need???? I love that...we are His prize!! I am His prize, how humbling, why would He want a girl all caught up in the things of this world, putting the world ahead of Him?? He doesn't need prizes caught up in the superficial...He wants prizes wholly immersed and loving Him! I'd say (based on scripture and some basic common sense) that He is most happy when I am centered on Him, living a life that makes others say, "what does she have that I'm missing??", and spending my days in worship of Him (yes, when you are centered on Him and becoming Christ like, your LIFE turns into your worship!) I think that the rest is just jewelry, wine and crab cakes...

Yes, I did enjoy the evening. The folks were actually very friendly, didn't try the nourishment they provided, and the people watching was fascinating. Overall, it was a fun time...a time reminding me that this world has some great things to offer...but what the world has to offer is nothing in comparison to my Jesus!
Yes, I know the format is new. My hubby informed me today it's impossible to read this blog at work because the background is pink and purple and that doesn't jive with working with a bunch of me. So, new format, let me know what you think, how it works for ya!

God bless, have a great day...keep Him at your center today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I normally only torture my 3 blog readers once a day or even every other if my fingers are still and my mind is silent. But I have to share this...if you read my blog yesterday you may have gotten a hint of my disgust for the media today, sexualizing little girls...and you may have gotten a hint of my desire for my daughter to understand and appreciate the beautiful creation she is in God. So this issue has been a huge one on my mind for a while now...and then I get a flier in the mail today for the Ssecret Keeper Girl Tour coming to Concord in November. It's all about little girls and their moms digging into God's Word and finding out just how special they are as a creation of His. It goes into why girls don't have to sell out and strive for that unattainable goal of a perfect body or the perfect image (ie clothes, friends, look, attitude..etc). So here's the site...

Take your time and peruse it. Whether you have boys or girls or both, you will appreciate this stand this one person has decided to take and how she now has over 10,000 people on board with her.

God's timing is unmistakably perfect. I can't wait to pack up my little girl and head off down to Concord to see these folks do their thing...what a huge impact they can have. And if we try, we can have just as big of an impact on our own families...if we just put forth the effort!

For Real...

So I was explaining to a friend tonight why I started my blog. I told him that it was really more like a personal journal, I guess I could have used a big AP English word and told him that it is "cathartic" for me. Go find Mr. Webster if you don't know that one!! And for you young ones out there (haha, like I have any youngins ready an old lady blog!), I know you probably learned what cathartic meant in third grade...but I digress. I have to make a true confession here...the real reason I started the blog was because I watched the movie, Julie and Julia, a few weeks ago and I thought blogging looked like a good way to document my insanity (so I guess both are true then??).

I hear that being completely truthful is the way to go, so I'll admit something else. This blog is largely what God has laid on my heart, with a few random ramblings of my own thrown in. Do I have a goal with my, it's just what I fill in with when the Holy Spirit lays quiet. Haha! But do I have a goal with what God lays on my heart? Kind of. I don't know what His goals are though. Maybe to lead one or two or fifteen or twenty to Christ (I hope and pray so!)?? Maybe it's to encourage or admonish one specific person that the Holy Spirit led this way. Or maybe it's just so someone can get a short, small taste of God that day. Whatever God's reasons are, I'm enjoying doing it. I don't hear voices like "get the men in white coats to take her away" voices, but I sure hear God, through His Holy Spirit, throughout the day. I love it when He talks to me through those beautiful, inspired 66 love letters He had written for you and I. I love it when His Holy Spirit whispers inaudibly to my heart, or places a thought in my mind. I've learned that being focused, entirely centered on God, allows me to know when He speaks to me. Even when I'm not entirely focused on Him, I still hear His Holy Spirit, gently nudging me back to where I need to be, because I walk with Him daily.

Now, if you aren't a born again believer...if you aren't believing on the fact that Jesus Christ was sent to this earth to die for our sins and that He rose again on the third day...if you don't have that personal relationship with your Saviour, then you probably do think we need to call the men in the little white coats. But you see, it's as simple as your ABC's. Admit to God you are a sinner, Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you'll be saved from those sins in your life. Doesn't make life peachy keen, but the rewards, both here on earth and eternally, are unbelievable.

If you are a believer and you don't hear from God...we need to re-evaluate. If you aren't in His Word, then you certainly won't hear from Him there. Being in His Word, knowing it, and living it, enables you to be prepared to hear from the Holy Spirit. And being centered on God (His Word is a large part of that too!) further enhances your ability to sense His presence and know when He is speaking to you.

Does the Holy Spirit go silent on me sometimes? Yep. Even sometimes when I'm centered on God, that's when faith kicks in. And my condolences to anyone who reads this if I'm not centered and hearing from God, because then you get me, and only me. Me and my ADD ramblings. So good luck with that, but I encourage you, get close to Him and listen to what He has to say...He may just say something life changing to you!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trash in, Trash Out...

I was at JC Penney at Hanes Mall yesterday. As I'm walking through the store, I hear this little sing song voice nearby trying to recite the words to a song...."F -E -R - G- A - L - I - C- O-U-S....I'm so delicious, I ain't promiscuous..." so of course, my attention was caught. I look over in the direction of the little girl and I see her, in the words of my aunt, jirating around, swinging her hips and dancing. Cute right? Why did it repulse me? Maybe the words to the song? Maybe the mom standing there laughing, encouraging the little girl? Maybe it was the fact that this little girl has already been exposed to something far beyond her years. I go out of my way to avoid songs like that. Some people can listen to that stuff all day long and not be affected (yeah, right), but I'm not one of them. Music, TV, books...they all affect me. They affect the way I think, the way I think about myself, others, my self esteem, you name it. For a (maybe 4 year old??) little girl to be singing about promiscuity, turned my stomach.

A couple of years ago I adopted the term, trash in, trash out. Our minds are like cameras. When we experience something with any of our 5 senses, we catalog that experience. Whether a sight, sound, smell, taste, feeling, etc, we catalog that. Pornographic images and obscene language tend to be those things we file away to retrieve for later use the most...whether we intend to or not. Sometimes, things we are exposed to aren't necessarily things we want to be exposed to, regardless, we catalog that, it's how our brains work. When we continually expose ourselves to trash, that's what ends up filling our brains the most. Maybe it's a TV show (toe stomping on some folks here I know, but....Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Nip Tuck...etc...I could go on and on), the music we listen to in our cars, or the people we hang around with. Whatever it is...we have to ask ourselves...does this give honor and glory to God?? Does this lend to my own sin, my own sinful thoughts, actions??

You know, it's one thing to expose myself to that stuff, I will have to answer to that one day, when I stand before God...but what do I expose my child to? My family? Do I lend to their sin? Their sinful thoughts, actions, words?? Children are so impressionable...what she watches, listens to and even wears, is shaping her mind. It will affect how she ultimately carries herself, feels about herself and will affect her walk with God in the future. So, why not build up her self esteem now...knowing that she is God's child, beautiful and made whole in Christ? Why not expose her to music and tv that glorifies the one that made her? Do we let her do secular activities, watch secular betcha. Some stuff out there is perfectly safe (depends on one's definition of safe...we are VERY particular in our house), and some slips little things in that aren't appropriate for 8/9 year old little girls and boys. And the things that aren't (yes, we watch with her), we use as lessons.

Do I think my child and family will be safe from trash? No! Satan is everywhere, lurking in every corner, waiting to drive his wedge in to render us useless for God. But when we stay guarded, limiting the trash in and knowing when Satan is approaching, we can stay victorious in God and be useful for His kingdom. We are trying to raise our family wise to the world, but centered on the God who made it :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Too Lazy to Turn the Radio...

I was cruising into the school parking lot this morning, listening to some of my favorite praise and worship music when...da, da, daaaaaaaa...the DJ's started talking. Wah! I am one of those people that could go all day and never listen to a DJ and that would be fine with me (I know, I know, that's what iPods are for...). But, being too sleepy/lazy/apathetic to turn the station or flip it to a CD, I listened. They were interviewing David Nasser...he is speaking at Carowinds Christian music day tomorrow. I so wish I was going - a rainy day mixed with nauseating, migraine instigating rides, followed by loud music and tons of teenagers, wow, my kind of day (10 years ago maybe, and maybe now too if i hadn't been battling a migraine all week!).

If you've never heard or read David Nasser, check him out. I haven't listened to a lot by him, but I do know he collaborated with Mac Powell of Third Day on some of their most popular (and hard hitting) songs on their Glory Revealed CD. Nasser has a real passion for youth, but he also has a passion for souls in general (man, if all Born Again Believers could harness some of that passion and use it for God's glory!!!). Today he made a comment, generic in nature, very unassuming, but quite straight forward and to the point. So many "Christians" today go to church/fellowship/worship because of their religion, not their relationship. Hmmmm...might he be suggesting that a good number of self proclaimed Christians are sitting in church on Sunday, Wednesday, whenever, for religion and not for the relationship God called them to. I believe so. He also made the comment that far too many "Christians" think of Jesus as the sin police, keeping an eye on you, making you feel guilty, even conspicuous, rather than thinking of Him as a Friend, a Savior, a Redeemer, One worthy of all of our praise, honor, glory, awe and love. When I think of that, I cannot even begin to fathom why one would not want, desire, and fight with all that is within them to have a relationship with a man that physically, truly, in a real, human body gave His life, specifically for them. For me. For you. For everyone. Haven't you ever met someone that you instantly wanted to know more about? You wanted to know them, be friends with them, hang out with them? What was the draw? Was it anything nearly as awe inspiring or humbling as knowing they'd give their life for you?

One disclaimer I should issue...when I use the word Christian in quotation marks, please don't think I'm making fun or being disrespectful. You see, so many people call themselves "Christian" today, that true Christ followers are getting a bad name. Because they have some or a few Judeo Christian beliefs they call themselves Christians. I prefer the term born again believer. I have been made new in Christ and I believe wholly in Him. Do you? What place do you fall into? Are you desiring that relationship, or are you in the game for "religion"...or are you in it at all?

I like what those DJ's had to say...I may listen to them talk a little more often...or not :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From Migraines to Romans

I haven't posted in 3 whole days!! I bet no one even noticed! That evil vice grip called a migraine hit me on Sunday afternoon and just loosened it's hold yesterday. I swear it seems like there is some sort of large bee buzzing around the back of my head...and the pain, oh the pain. Light is forbidden and sound should be non existent to live through one of these things! And just when I think my pain is more than I can bear...I get a phone call.

My mom calls and casually mentions that my cousin's wife is in the hospital. No big deal, right? Well, I have to set the stage for cousin is mentally handicapped due to a condition in utero/infancy. His precious wife is even more mentally handicapped than him. They are one of the most precious, sweet, loving couples you will ever meet. Obviously they never had children, and for the last several years they have lived with his parents, in their basement apartment. Self sufficient, but still somewhat dependant on others. Friday, his wife was admitted to High Point Hospital. Monday she was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer that has metasticized (spelling??) to her lungs. They have given this precious 44 year old woman less than a week to live. My migraine pain left. I suddenly realize, I have no problems. My migraine...uh what migraine? That is nothing in the grand scheme of life, huh?

Easy to ask God why at times like this. I have my theories, but they are just my ponderings. One thing I know for sure, one day I get to stand face to face with my Creator and ask Him why. I can ask Him why this cousin, so precious and childlike? I can ask Him, why my sweet cousin Nathan last year?..a brain tumor took him to be with Jesus at the tender age of 6. "Why wouldn't you let me have more babies?", I think I will ask Him. Some things He reveals to us here on earth, some things won't be revealed until that day when we meet Him face to face. I personallly think I will be flat on my face in awe of Him, so I don't even know if I'll have the presence of mind to ask Him! But I do know that since I have confessed with my mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in my heart that God has raised Him from the dead, that I am saved, so I will stand face to face with Him once day (or prostrate on the floor in front of Him!). Saved from my ugly, deplorable self, from my sins. Romans 10:9 tells me that! Does it save me from hard times?Hard questions? Sickness? Heart ache?? Absolutely not...but scripture also tells me that one day my body will be made new, this time on earth is fleeting, the things of this world are temporary. Both the good and the bad. Embrace both, because the bad times teach you as much as the good times, if not more. A precious friend of mine says this quote all the time..."If God brings me to it, He will see me through it". I like that. A lot. It's very true and very relevant.

So I pray for my cousin, his wife and his family. It's going to be a difficult week for them. It makes me understand that my afflictions here and now, are temporary. So one day, when I get to see my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents all again, we'll be in those new bodies, we'll be a spiffy looking crowd! And the afflictions of this earth, will be no more...cause I believe in my heart...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Biscuits n Gravy...

I think sometimes I think too you ever do that? I analyze things I've said, things I've done, what people were thinking of me when I said and did those things. I guess it's a little of that high school insecurity that creeps into my head and makes me second guess myself. I hated high school!!

But this morning, my mind is racing again. Random and borderline ADD thoughts...see if you can follow...hehe. Thinking hard. Sometimes I think the Holy Spirit creates that racing line of thoughts going through my head. As I'm sitting here waiting on my 75 biscuits to cook (we are SUPER DUPER hungry this morning!! nah, church event later on ;) I have this song on my mind, by Jimmy Needham. It's called Fence Riders - a good friend introduced me to the Jimmy Needham music and I have to say, it's hard hitting and real. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE praise and worship music, but this stuff is meaty and speaks to where I'm at in my precious, wonderful walk with my Maker. Here's a link if you want to hear it...

Basically, it speaks to the fact that we, as Born Again Believers, aren't taken seriously, but we should be. It's calls out the ones that scoff at us, at our love for Christ...essentially the ones that laugh in God's face. Even more specifically than that, it's calling out the ones that just ride the fence in their love for God. Just think...I know one of our main goals is to win souls to Christ,
right? But imagine if we won back the fence riders. The ones that already know of God or even know God as Savior but aren't walking with Him. Could you imagine if we had THAT many more working for our cause?? I think we all know that the Church as a whole has failed miserably at discipleship, right? Win em to Christ, then get em to help with the next fundraiser...that's our view of discipleship these days (of course, not mine personally, but so many churches are very much in that mindset). I don't think it's something we have done on purpose, but Satan had a purpose it it. The enemy is the one that orchestrated this whole debacle of discipleship. At church last night my Pastor spoke of this...Satan has a real plan of attack, make no mistake and the Church is his first and favorite target. After all, if he hits the major organ supplying the knowledge and growth of God's people, then he's been successful.

How do we change that? By being real. By staying Christ centered...being of one like mind in the body of Christ. Having the goals and the dreams that the Bible dictates we are supposed to. When we stick to God's goals and not our own, the possibilites are endless! We also have to stay aware and on guard to evade Satan. We are always a target of his as long as we are walking and working for Christ. My pastor made the comment last night that it's not a good idea to attack hell with a water gun...I am not attacking Satan, but when he attacks me, I am equipped with more than a water gun. I have the Holy Trinity on my side and a slew of fellow believers to back me up.

So I've gone from biscuits (hungry yet??) a song about riding the the discipleship of the the attack of Satan...all random, yet somehow connected. These are the thoughts the Holy Spirit has put in my head. Sometimes it's overwhelming...but right now it fires me up, makes me ready go out and win souls to God...disciple...and grow in Him...

Friday, September 11, 2009

I guess we all remember where we were when the world stopped turning 8 years ago. I was at my mom and dad's house. I don't remember why my dad was home, but he was. We were getting ready to paint the kitchen when the Fox 8 morning news switched over to the FoxNews station...I get chills now just thinking about it. Watching the coverage that morning, I could only sit and snuggle my 11 month old baby. We went about our morning like normal, we even went to Home Depot to buy paint...that's when the plane hit the Pentagon. I just remember wanting to go home to my husband so I would feel safe.

How dare someone have the audacity to come to my homeland and attack my people? How dare someone feel so superior to me that they want me murdered. That is what they wanted. That's what they want now. Me, you, our children, anyone who doesn't believe in what they believe. Anyone that believes that the Muslim faith is peaceful, has never read the Koran and doesn't know their history.

I am beyond blessed that I was born in this country and to a family that raised me well. I understand that, it was the hand God dealt me. But I am glad that in the free will God gave me to choose what to believe, that He lent me His Holy Spirit to bring the sweetest conviction to my heart to know Him. I am thankful that God has allowed my heart to be opened to, not only His Word and the freedom of salvation that was given to us all, but also for growing me. I am thankful He has brought me to a conviction of knowing I need to be all I can for Him, every day. That is how we fight hate...the kind of hate that befell us on September 11, 2001. We love the Lord our God with all that we have, we strive to grow in Him and in spiritual maturity, and we win others to that grace and salvation that He so freely gives, so that they may in turn live a life sold out for Him. That's how we fight hate...that's how we have victory over the enemy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Revelations of an Eight Year Old's Room

So I didn't attempt a 5:15am wake up call this morning...I chose not to suffer through the rolling hills we call my neighborhood (I swear they are the leftovers of when the Appalachian mountains were formed). I did however, tackle the mountain of 'stuff' in Gracie's room today. If you have a little girl in your possession, you know they don't get rid of anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Anyone out there feel my pain? I promise you, my daughter still treasures a hair ribbon from when she was two and barely had hair. Get rid of a barbie? Are you kidding me? She COMPLETES the collection of 52 Barbies. Throw out the drawing she made while waiting on her chicken tenders and fries to come one night about 3 years ago at Chili's? Nuh uh! So I waited until she was at school today and I tackled. Man I should have put some pads on first, cause it hurt. Soooo much stuff. So much trash...and trying to decide what to keep, what she would miss, what she would never know was gone...

So an hour later and 4 (as in FOUR) trash bags later and 3 bins of yard sale stuff later...I was done. I kept thinking...I am so sick of seeing Barbie shoes. Polly pocket clothes. Littlest Pet shop whatever it is they have. Magazines, random lonely socks, Nerds (the candy), you name it, it's on her floor. And the guest room...all of her "stuff" spills over into the guest room. Arrrrgh!

But then, it hits me. In two more years...she won't like Barbie. She won't have the tiny little Polly Pocket shoes anymore. No more little drawings, cute paintings, fun toys. She'll be almost 11 then. On to iPods, clothes, computers and more. No more sweet hair ribbons or tiny little pair (cause her butt is tiny) little random pair of underwear to find under her bed. Nope, she'll be half grown then. A little sassier. Less apt to want to be seen with Mom. Gosh, bet I won't even be Mommy anymore then either. I'll be Mom. Yikes!! I need to learn to enjoy the here and now...enjoy her "stuff", her junk, her toys. Enjoy her sweet little hugs, our cuddle time. Oh, I know we'll still have our sweet Gracie, but things will change. Since I can't have more children, I have become more and more aware of the little things that I didn't take time to stop and enjoy when she was little. I know I can't get it I choose now to enjoy all that she does, says, is. To enjoy watching her grow into the beautiful, God loving, Christ centered young woman our Creator intends her to be. I choose to rejoice in the gift of each day I have with her.

So, I choose to enjoy her stuff...leave it in the floor a little longer. Growing up can wait...but when I can no longer see the floor, I guess I'll have to tackle it again, and remind myself to enjoy this time :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

My Running Epiphany...

5:15am...crickets still chirp at 5:15am. Postal workers, paperboys and truck drivers (and the McDonald's biscuit maker) are the only people functionally working at 5:15am. So what do I do at 5:15am? Logically, I would roll over and wait with baited breath for that last sweet hour of sleep. But no, I can't do the sane thing, no, I have to force myself out of bed so I can So 5:15am rolls around, I stumble out of the rack and get my running duds on. Lace up the runners and out the door I go...check the clock, 5:26...I'm early. So I go outside with the crickets and one barking dog. You know what? It's creepy outside at 5:26am. So, I wait on my neighbor, who has invited me to run with her. After all, why wouldn't she? I begged her to let me tag along! I can jog, right? I mean, I've been in boot camp for a whole week and a half, jogging should come naturally, right? So the neighbor emerges from her garage with iPod in hand...and has an absolute look of shock on her face. She actually says to me, "Well, I have to admit, I'm surprised". Do I take offense? Heck no, surprised? I'm shocked! So we walk at a brisk pace up the street, getting ready for our "run". The neighbor, by the way, has run 2 5k's and has been running since last spring. I occasionally walk the hood. So we top the hill, find the end of the street and begin our "run". You see, I have to put "run" in quotation marks, because I don't think that's what I did. At first I thought, I'll just keep a slower pace and follow behind. Slower pace my left foot. I ended up walking half of the half that I jogged slowly (Iwould equate it to a hippo running -can hippos run?- in slow motion) I had an epiphany. It just popped into my mind as clearly as any epiphany I'd ever had. Chubby girls aren't made to run. That has to be it right? Otherwise I could do it right? So as the neighbor's sillouhette disappeared into the dawning morning ahead of me, I slowed down. I realized, right then and there, running was not for me. I admire the folks who can lace em up and pound out the pavement, miles at a time. But I don't think God made my body for running. I am good at other things, but that is not one of them. So, as I walked at a brisk pace, I watched my neighbor with facination. I honestly wondered, are her lungs just gonna jump right out through her throat (cause that's what mine felt like)? She looked like she was made to run...I look like am made to cook and eat. Moral of the story is this. Love your neighbor as yourself. No seriously, God made me who I am. He made me in His image and I am His creation. He loves me the way that I am. Yes, I will continually try to make the most of this brief life here on earth and treat my body with the respect that God's creation deserves, but I will no longer compare my abilities or disabilites (yes, I think my lack of running skills can be considered a disability...really, you should see me run :) to others. God created those folks (like my beautiful neighbor) to be to His liking, so I accept that now! I don't have to be like others to be complete in Christ :) I LOVE that! Not that I was comparing myself to my neighbor, but I had a desire to run, to be fit, to love running. Now I know...this chubby girl is not a runner :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Completely Broken you ever wonder why God allows us to hit bottom? Why He allows us to go through those dips in life? Why He allows us to feel the point of questioning His faithfulness to us? Do you ever think that? Wonder that?? It's so He can answer those questions. It's so He can pull you into His arms and allow you to feel the fullness of His love. I look at it like this...the military takes young recruits and sends them to boot camp. The break them down until they are completely dissolved or broken. Then, step by step, the military moulds them into what THEY want the recruits to be, so they can be effective soldiers. Well...I think that's what God does too. He allows these trials in life so that, at some point, we will realize that we need to be completely and sweetly broken at the foot of the cross, so that we can be moulded into what God desires for us to be. So that He can build us up to be effective soldiers for Him.

Here are the lyrics to the Jeremy Riddle song...Sweetly Broken...and a link to hear the song..hope you like it!

To the cross I look, to the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing
For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is loveAnd God is just
Chorus:At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered
What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been givenThrough Christ crucified
You’ve called me out of death
You’ve called me into lifeAnd I was under
Your wrath
Now through the cross I’m reconciledC
Chorus:In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sleeping In and Rolling Over

What a day! The journey God took me on today was, well, interesting. I love sleeping in...regardless of what my previous posts said,I don't get to do it very often and with the days I have coming up, it looks like I won't get to any time soon again! So my 8:00am lazy rollover this morning was savored! I love to spend those first few minutes of the day just talking to my thank Him for a good night's rest and for, well, what the coming day is going to bring. I know some people scoff at the idea of being thankful for what is yet to come...because, what if your day stinks?? What if you start it off by burning the toast? Coffee pot goes out? You hit your husband's beautiful Chevy silverado for the 2nd time in 6 months while backing out of the driveway (yes, I am now on limited driving privileges in my own driveway, haha!)? You get bad news from the doctor? You get a call about a family member? You get the idea? How am I supposed to be thankful for what I don' t even know is coming?

Here's my theory, fully backed up by God's perfect, Holy, inerrant Word, the Bible. See, God's got my back. When I accepted Him as my Savior, when He sealed me with the Holy Spirit, when He wrote His beautiful promises in those 66 love letters we call the Bible...He guaranteed me that He would be there for me always...through every situation. He promised me that He would never leave me or forsake me. He even gave me a guide, a helper, a comforter, a friend in the Holy Spirit. Does that mean I like it when the bad stuff hits (like my poor friend who came home from a weekend at the beach and found her freezer door had been left open and lost lots and lots of food??)? Absolutely not. Did I question God when my precious father-in-law passed away suddenly from a heart attack... 2 1/2 months before my daughter, his only grandchild, was born?? You better believe I did. When the proverbial crap hits the fan, human nature has a tendency to take over. When Christ became the center of my life (remember from my last blog...this didn't happen as soon as I accepted Christ as my Savior), His reaction took over when the proverbial crap would hit the fan. By praying to see things through His eyes, somehow, when I asked, I received. He allowed me to react in a way that is not of Leslie, it's of Christ. I can't explain that any other way than I finally let God have it all. The good, the bad, the ugly. And youknow what?? He's offered that to all of us, if we'll just stop letting our human nature take over and accept Him for what He is, our Savior. Our Center. Our Hope.

So where did the journey go today? took me to an apple orchard, a gift from our Maker to show His majesty and love for us. Then to supper with friends and home again. God is good...he blessed me today with a good day, while others I know didn't have such a good day. I pray for those folks, because I know tomorrow it may very well be me that has to face those crappy life obstacles that sometimes come our way. And when the bad does slide in there with the good, I pray I'll react in a way worthy of an heir of Christ. And if I get to sleep in again any time soon...I'll post...:)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where He's Taken Me

So, I'm bored tonight and I was rereading the description of my posts, thus far, aren't living up to it huh? So here goes...we'll start with where God's taken me thus far...ha! Can't cover that one with one post!

I won't start with the mushy, "once upon a time in a far away land" ...oops, sorry wrong story. No my story begins with the usual, I was raised in church, loved my youth group, yada yada yada. I'll use the antiquated term..."saved". I got "saved" when I was 11. My basic understanding was this...sin is bad. I sin. Sin leads to eternal separation from God, thus I needed to be saved from my sins. So I accepted Christ as my savior. Nope, I did not fully understand what having a "relationship" with Christ was. I understood that I was saved from my sin because I believed in Christ's death, burial and ressurection. But it was a start. Don't get me wrong, my Pastor, my youth Pastor and his wife, everyone at church, taught us well. The fullness of Christ just didn't process with me. Yet.

As I grew up in the church...I knew something kept me under conviction. Kept me from doing the stuff other kids were doing. Kept me from wanting to be like the world...I just didn't know it was the Holy Spirit...that understanding came later too. So I somehow, came through my teenage years living my mediocre "Christian" life. Anyone identify with that?? Or maybe the mediocre adult "Christian" life? Stay gets better.

At some point, I cannot put my finger on it, my heart changed. Over years of being exposed to the Truth (Jesus), solid Biblical teaching, and years of making stupid mistakes (basically making life decisions without consulting God first!), God changed my heart. My eyes began to open. I made my self emotionally available (my therapy friends identify here??) to the Holy Spirit. You know what happened?? The most exhilirating, frightening, hilarious, blinding, confusing yet revealing years of my life. Leading a Christ centered life did not automatically begin with my salvation...I would love to say I was on fire for Christ as soon as I was sealed with the Holy Spirit, but I wasn't. I was too busy living life. Now I've finally figured out the Christ centeredness leads my busy life. It doesn't make it easier or keep bad stuff from happening, but it sure does give me hope, reassurance and, well, an exhilirating feeling knowing it's in His future is His...I am His and He is mine.

Think that's the end?? Ha! That's just the beginning...stay tuned!

Ode to My FBBFF

I am missing my FBBFF right now. She is the ying to my yang, the night to my day, the all around finishing piece of my puzzle. Right now I'm relegated to receiving the occasional text regarding whatever FABU restaurant they are visiting at Myrtle Beach, the periodic picture of a strange man in rubber boots and a swimsuit walking down the beach, or some such gab. What is a FBBFF you ask?? My Facebook Best Friend Forever...we all have them right? Or am I the strange one in the crowd?? She's the one that always has an answer, smart aleck or sweet to even my dumbest, most neurotic FB posts. She's the one that can sense my moods even through my obsessive comments and notes. She's my FBBFF...

We've known each other for a couple of years...through school, etc. Then came "FACEBOOK". That (insert sarcasm) evil, morally decrepit, hate mongering avenue for kids, and now frighteningly enough adults, to commune via the post their thoughts and feelings for all the world (or their "accepted friends") to see. And, not to go completely ADD on you, but "accepted friends"...yeah, let's go there for a minute or two...did anyone else go through that brief moment of high school teen angst when sending a friend request to one of your high school "acquaintances" for the first time?? Okay, maybe that was just me...I'm an adult now and I have the ability to network without anxiety, but for that brief, fleeting moment...

Well, again, I digress. So Facebook comes along (or, haha, I finally came out from under the rock I was living under and found FB) and I make a new friend. My FBBFF and I had the ability to knock around ridiculous, senseless banter for was great. My friends will recall the peep project of 09"...

So now that my FBBFF thinks I'm a stalker, I'll end it up with my bestest of best are not fired, but I am adding another neurotic mind to the bunch. If we were a bouquet, we'd (and YOU ALL KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!!!) make up a colorful arrangement of neurotic, ADD layden, OCD blessed flowers...and now I'm adding one more to the mix!

God has blessed me with great girl friends...He intends for us to have great friends that we can fellowship and have fun we can keep each other in line, confide, love, admonish and encourage one we can lead one another and guide each other when we find ourselves losing our place, losing our grip on life. He's blessed me with great friends that I love very much and I am very thankful for. God sent us His sweet Holy Spirit to comfort and help many ways, but He also sends very special friends our way to be a bright spot in this short time on earth...I don't think I can describe how humbling that is to me...that God showed me favor with such wonderful friends :)

And to my perfectly normal friends I've left out...well, I love you but you're boring...haha! (no worries, couldn't think of any Normal friends :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturdays that start out with one's neighbor plugging his rock hard, dry as a bone yard with the use of his allterrain vehicle, can never be good. Not that I mind being awakened by my neighbor's yard adventures, on the contrary, no self respecting 31 year old woman should still be in bed at 9:30am on a Saturday. Especially when said woman has already been approached twice by her 8 year old requesting breakfast. No, the problem is, that, well, the neighbor made me feel guilty...with a capital "G". Here I am, sleeping the day away, when my nasty **Disclaimer - nasty in the terms of a person with OCD and nasty in the terms of a "Normal" person are completely different** house is waiting for me. My daughter's room (the hungry 8 year old) looks like Barbie threw up in it and then the laundry fairy not long after her. Bathrooms?? Ugh! Floors?? Ugh! Laundry?? Surely we can wear the same clothes that we wore, say, on Thursday? Yeah, Thursday wasn't a sweaty, food stained day!

But I, I roll out. Fix myself two hard boiled eggs for breakfast (cause that darn "Eat Right For Your Type" diet won't let me have wheat or dairy, so breakfast is, well, boring) and start making my list. An hour later, after FB has been updated, the kiddo is fed and I make sure the hubby is still breathing (still in the bed at this point), I get dressed and get started. Two seconds into my cleaning frenzy, a sweet friend drops by with two precious pumpkins for me. Diversion #1 out of the way. So I resume this point, the hubby decides to roll over, roll out, get dressed, clean. WITHOUT ME EVEN ASKING OR GIVING DIRECTIONS! Bizarro world (my Seinfeld friends can identify here).

Two hours later, three "If You Don't Get Started On This Room in the Next 5 Minutes..." threats to the 8 year old and one trip to the dump and Subway, the house is mostly clean. So I relax...yeah right. Onto tossing the Barbies, Polly Pockets and 400 Barbie clothes and accessories into their rightful rubbermaid containers, grabbing a quick shower and dressing for Saturday night church. CHURCH?

As I get dressed for church, my mind starts wandering...anyone else have that syndrome? Doing my hair and makeup do that to me...So, I begin wondering. Does God ever look at me like I look at housework?? Bathrooms....Ugh. Floors...Ugh. get the idea? I wonder if sometimes I grieve Him enough that He simply cannot stand to even think of me that day. I know I am trying to live the life that He wants me to, but I know I fall short every day (I suppose we all do, we are only human and He is absolute perfection). Scripture (it's late,not looking it up right now) tells us that God merely tolerates us. Even our best, it says, is pitiful in God's eyes. So how much my shortcomings and failings must grieve Him, even disgust Him. I can know this and simply try harder each day. But I can also know, that through the death, burial and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am forgiven of these things...and so I sleep a little easier at night. Repenting is hard, but God's forgiveness comes so easily. So why do we make it so difficult to accept? Anywho...God called me years ago to admonish, encourage, love and teach his precious women about His amazing love and mercy and to help them grow to a passion for Him that is unsurpassed by any other interest or passion in their life...but I am reminded today of His love and mercy for me. So I guess, there are just some days that the neighbor waking you up can be looked at as a good day...a day God will once again reveal Himself to me :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Blogging Novice Gets Her Start

Wow! So welcome to my blog all one of you that is reading it! This is an endeavor I've wanted to try for quite some time so here I go...:) Good luck to me and good luck to you who reads it...uplifting or down and out, here goes my life with Christ as the center!!