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Category Archives: Change

Didn’t see that coming…

We have lots of trains around here.

I’m not a fan of waiting on trains.

I do everything I can to avoid them. In fact Sometimes I drive out of my way to make sure I don’t have to sit and wait. My theory is …At least I’m moving!

But sometimes I get right up to a track and the light starts blinking and the arms go down and there I sit stuck waiting on that train.

I didn’t see it coming.

And if I am intent on getting somewhere it makes me crazy. I try to occupy my thoughts so I don’t focus on the inconvenience that is currently traveling at an all too slow of speed in front of my vehicle.

Trains aren’t the only things that I don’t see coming. At times I am completely taken off guard by other circumstances in my life and it’s not that easy to just “occupy” my thoughts as I wait for the inconvenience to pass. Sometimes the intensity of the situation

ROCKS MY WORLD

and I am left with a large question mark…

What now?

I didn’t see that coming.

And all the what if’s and why now’s come marching in a parade blowing their horns. There is no candy in this parade. No sweet drippings. Only loud noises and confusing messages.

So I look up to my papa and say, “Is there room on your lap for me? I’m scared. And I don’t like these loud noises. ”

And he always says, “Yes come… Come sit, I will give you rest. Wait here while I  make all things new”.

And sometimes the thing that makes us tremble the most becomes the exact thing he uses to build something new in us.

The things that hit us out of the blue are never out of his control.

I am believing this today.

“Be still” when all is crashing in.

“Be still” When the waters rise.

“Be still” When the noise is more than you can stand.

Be still and know that I am God“. ps 46:10

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Help yo’ self Honey~

Let’s just say it…

School Lunch is not always the most appreciated.

Children who can’t stomach the lumpy potatoes and the disgusting Mac n Cheese pack their little brown bags filled with Cookies, chips and A Peanut Butter Sandwich.

Well Not at our school.
No sir. I have been told we have the best lunches around.
And I am officially joining the ranks of Lunch Lady.

When I told my children that I will be working in the lunch room this year my 2 boys gave me very generous advice.
“Mom”, My funny new 6th grader said, “when you’re a lunch lady don’t call kids Honey.Last year I went up to my lunch lady and asked for a fork, she lifted up her shirt to expose the belt around her mid section that held all the spoons and forks and said…‘Help yo’ self  honey‘. “Don’t do that! Can you believe she called me honey? My friend over heard and I was teased all year about that!”

“Yeah”, my soon to be 8th grader agreed. “Don’t call anyone honey!”

Alrighty then!

So now I know.
No Honey.
And no telling anyone to help themselves to anything that’s located on my person.
Very good advise from my Boys.

Yes I am pleased to serve your children. It will be a joy!
And I am currently, for a small fee, offering my spying eyes, for any and all parents who need a little feedback on your child’s lunch habits. 🙂

Let the good times roll….

Love God. Love Others. The end.

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Isn’t it cool how the words of long ago are still alive today?
I love that I can read something in the word and it beams a light on situations I may be facing.
It’s one of the best things about following Jesus.
He speaks through his written word.
If I let him.
Sometimes…. I confess I don’t want to hear it.
It may hurt.
I may have to change.
But when I surrender and realize he is speaking to me….
I do change.
And everyone is pleased. 🙂
Especially him.
And really shouldn’t that be who I want to please?
This morning he spoke to me from these words of old…
The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12

Love God.
Love others.
The end.

Sounds simple right?
So why is it so hard?
We, of course, say we do… And we may try. But when it’s so cut and dry I wonder if I’m doing it right.
And I see that I have room to grow.
What Does loving God look like?
Dependence. Obedience. Relationship. Trust. And….Faith
Not just a law keeper but a true believer. Someone who walks by Faith.
He says “step out” and I say “I will”.
He says “be still” and I say ” I will.”
He says “wait” and I say “how long”…what? I meant “I will”.
By Faith.. looking to the one who began a good work to complete what he has started. In his time.

And then we’ve got the tricky little loving others as we love ourselves.
What does this mean?
It means my speech will include only things that I would want someone to say of me.
It means I will recognize needs around me and reach to help.
It means I will share your burden as I would want mine to be carried.
It means I will forgive you as I would want you to forgive me.

If I focus more on how I am helping others than how they are helping me…I will not fall into the snare of  loving others only so they will love me.

If my perspective remains on speaking only things of others outside of their presence as I would with them in the room… It helps me to remain pure in my speech.

The heart issue is this…do I have pure love for God and people I rub elbows with?
They go hand in hand.
Remember that Sunday School Song…
JOY JOY must be…JESUS first…Yourself last…Others in between.
It’s true.
When I live my life like this…it brings joy.
When I live to please myself first and then squeeze everything else in when I get around to it, I become selfish and me centered.

Living in  this way…
Waking up with the thought, “God what can I do today that will bring you the most Glory?”

This  normally, automatically brings others to mind.
Who does he want me to love on today?

What pleases him is that we have a listening relationship to him that recognizes his great love for all mankind and we in turn can love the people he created.

God,
Today this is my hearts cry…Make me a lover of all people. Not just the nice ones. But the hard ones to love. The ones who hurt me. And the ones who smell. The ones who I don’t get. And the ones who don’t get me. Let me love with pureness of heart. Forgive me for my lack of love. Forgive me for my self focus. Fill me with your power that I may love as you do!
Give me a heart like yours O God!

Crazy Days…

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I’m playing catch up… Because my book is in progress and I want this to be included.
So…
This is what has happened over the past weeks.
Life has been happening way fast and I am frankly dizzy, and tired and a little worn out tonight.
I feel like my eyes have sprung a leak and I’m hoping it will be fixed by morning.
Sometimes good sleep can fix the leakiest of hearts.
But right now I’m gonna think back to these moments that I don’t wont to forget.

Sophia has had a busy end to the school year. Including several field trips, one to a ballgame, that never happened, because of a thunderstorm. 😦 Daddy and her got some bonding time on the school bus at least. And then she played softball for the second year. She is mighty cute in her little pants and shirt but I will have to post a picture of that later. She also had her end of year dance recital. She will be going into 3rd grade next year! Slow down little one! I can’t let you grow too quickly!

A girl and her daddy. What's sweeter than that?

Sophie's dance school/2011

 

My sweet ballerina

Proud of our little princess

I love that little one!
Our Friends, Conrad and Leslie, from Alabama took the time to stop by for an overnighter. We loved having them and their family. What a sweet treat in June!

The Weber's

With the end of school Freshman turned into sophomore. And a very scary thing has happened. Most incidents of her passage make me cringe and hold my breath a bit…I am slow to participate in “what everyone else my age is doing”….I just think kids grow up so fast. But this one I can hold off no longer…She is officially allowed to drive. I feel most awful because usually by the time it happens I come around and I’m ready to celebrate the new thing…but this time I am just in total denial. I cannot tell you how cranked up my stomach is from this earth shattering event. Not that she can’t or won’t do a great job. She will do fabulous. It just rocks my world to have her driving me around.
I DO NOT FEEL THAT OLD!!
But here are a couple of other things she has been up to…
Summer Volleyball league.

And Starlights end of the year concerts.

I think my sophomore is beautiful inside and out! I feel blessed to be her mom!
My eyes are starting to water again…

But one look at these faces and I smile.
They are full of mischief, these two. I don’t know how in the world my mother in law raised 7 boys if they were anything like my two. Full of ornrie’s!

But these two also have brought tears of joy to my eyes in the past 6 weeks. Jalen won an award for showing sportsmanship and leadership on his tennis team. I was overjoyed for him!
And Micah had some very nice words from his teacher about his inclusion and compassion for some extra special kids in the class this year. I cannot tell you how those words ministered to this mama.
Both boys have made it through the year with wonderful report cards and character lessons. I feel fortunate to be growing up in the same house with them.

I love this kid!

I will miss Mr Micah and my chats in the van on the way to school. We had about 5-10 minutes every day just he and I. It was one of my most cherished times in the day. This year He is moving up to middle school. And once again… My tears fall. Transitions. All the time. I was not prepared for so many.
Baseball is the word on the street for these two. Jalen’s season has ended but Micah will be playing for another month or so.

And Jalen…
He will be 14 in just two short months!An 8th grader!What a young man! I love to hear him call “Good Morning” in his cheerful deep voice in the morning. I also love that he is very willing to kiss me and that even though he doesn’t toss around a compliment easily last week as we were riding alone in the van he looked at me and told me he thought I was pretty! Awhhh! He makes me melt like buttah when he talks like that!

I love this kid too!

And Father’s day came last week. Right after camp and before Bible School and Swim lessons.
I am grateful that these kids get to have a dad who loves them so much.


And me?
Well… I’m the taxi and the grocery retriever and chore giver and listening ear and hair advice giver, and dishes and laundry captain. I am exactly where I want to be. And although sometimes I’m grouchy and moody I am so thankful to be your mom! I count it an honor that I have been given such a task!

I think you guys are worth the tears.
And I think one day I will look back on these crazy days and I will wish for just one back.
I love you my Sweet ones!
I hope one day you will understand how much!

If God is for me…Why does it feel like he is against me?

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Have you ever asked God…”Why do you hate me?”

I have.

There have been times when I wondered if I had done something to make God really angry with me. Angry enough that he would make everything in my life miserable.

I mean we can talk all day long about his mercy and kindness and love….but sometimes it doesn’t feel like he loves us.

When 10 bad things happen all in row we may ask what we did to deserve such contempt. We wonder.

We might not even know that we’ve done anything at all but it sure feels like God is against us.

And we hear the preacher tell us nice things about God and read blogs and listen to people who tell us how good he is and we wonder why we aren’t experiencing God like that.

Maybe if we were better or had a godly title then he would be good to us too. Maybe everyone is just fibing to us…if they would just be real they would admit that they too think God is fickle. He would like to pound us and if we aren’t careful that’s exactly what he will do.

But maybe it’s like this…I wonder if God is so for us that sometimes it feels like he is opposing us.

I tell my kids all the time…. I am for you! That’s why I’m asking this of you. I want you to be the best you can be so we need to take care of this issue. Sometimes it’s not even because they have done anything that needs correction. Sometimes we ask them to do something to help them grow in responsibility. Or we ask them to wait to stretch them in patience.  Maybe we don’t give them everything they ask for because we know it’s not good for them. It’s because we want them to be all they were called to be. We hope they will be responsible citizens of heaven and earth. We ask things of them to help them grow up.

It’s because he is for me….

Romans 8:31….If God is for us, who can be against us?

that sometimes I feel like he is against me.

 I Peter 4:5…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Is He For me?

Yes.

Does that mean he doesn’t need to correct me?

Or that I don’t need to grow up?

No.

As long as I breathe on this planet I will need to grow. He is preparing me for another life. The life to come. And so while I should be making strides in the growing up direction I have not yet arrived.

So…I will need to have lessons all along the way.

And if I look at those lessons thinking God hates me  I will become hard and bitter.

God’s word will no longer mean anything to me…because his word is only for those he loves…and I am obviously not one.

I become a victim and victims always need someone to blame. So I turn away from the very one who could heal me and give me all I need.

In Judges after Joshua had led the children of Israel into their promised inheritance, the next generation grows up and forsakes the God of their fathers. Judges 2 says that the Lord’s hand was against his people. He had promised them that if they worshiped other gods he would be against them. Then it says…He raised up judges(or leaders) who saved them out of the hands of their enemies. And they still didn’t listen. Because God had compassion on them he continued to raise up leaders and the people refused to give up their ugly ways. So God finally decided to turn them over to other nations to test Israel and see if they would obey his commands.

God continued to fight for his people even when they refused to recognize him. He can’t seem to get their attention so he measures out  different methods of discipline.

He is for them.

If we are his he is for us!

Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

I would dare say my kids don’t always feel like I am for them. Especially after I have issued out correction  to them.

But I love them like Crazy!

And if I, in my imperfect love, know what they need how can I ever doubt that the perfect love of the Father knows exactly what I need. He will go to great lengths to bring us back to himself.

I think maybe his opposition is the very thing that can bring me back.

It is the very thing that I need for growth and maturity.

It’s painful. And I’m not gonna say I love it.

But I need it.

He is for us!

Why Can’t I hear you? Part 2

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So Achan’s sin had been dealt with. The cleansing God required of his people is quite radical in our minds. A stoning of an entire family! That was how justice was brought about under the law of Moses.  While we don’t advocate this any longer since the shedding of blood has taken care of our sin once and  for all by Jesus Christ, we do get a picture of how serious God views sin. 

God gives us grace so we will have the freedom to obey.  It is not the freedom to do as we please.

Speaking to sin can be intimidating. I believe scripture gives us at least two reasons we must call it out. But we must be merciful as God has been with us.

 1. If the individual claims to be a believer.

 And

2. If the believer is non repentant.

1 Corinthians 5:12
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.

 Sometimes we don’t like to call someone else to accountability  because then we will have to clean up our own lives… and well, that would be painful. So you sin, I sin, we call it a truce. We slap each other on the back and live in our filth and wonder why our lives lack power and our ears cannot hear God. Sometimes we think if we are confessing it that’s enough. I may go to my friends and confess the same “struggle” week after week, month after month, year after year….but I can’t seem to rid my tent of the sin. Is that enough? If Achan had come and confessed but the sin wasn’t removed was that enough? No. I think sometimes we can make confessions without the Godly sorrow that leads us to true repentance. True repentance is the place we recognize the sin we have buried is costly to our soul and our community…whatever that may be.
We live under grace… but it’s not so we can go on sinning. It’s so we can be freed from the captivity of sin.

Grace combined with the Fear of God helps me to realize my master sees all and he will hold me accountable for my actions. This gives me freedom but keeps me from going my own way…to my own destruction.

When someone has repented, we forgive as we have received forgiveness. When we need repentance for our attitudes and actions we humbly Confess our sin and turn away from it.

The second reason we can’t hear from God is found In Joshua Chapter 9.

So the Israelites have found out why God had removed his blessing. They had taken care of that issue and were pressing on. They were headed to Gibeon. Now the people of Gibeon found out they were headed their way and  they were S.C.A.R.E.D! So they dressed some men up to look like they had traveled from miles away. They brought moldy, stale bread. Worn out sacks and old wine skins. They came to trick the Israelites into signing a treaty with them. They said….”We have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the Lord your God.” Joshua 9:9

They proceeded to lie and tell the elders how far they had come and how everything was fresh when they had left home. Joshua 9:14 is the key to our second point…”The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the Lord“.

They didn’t even bother to ask! You’d think after the travesty of losing 36 men and their reputation in the land that they would have wised up. God wanted to direct them. They just forgot to ask which direction to take.

So they sign a peace treaty with these guys who live just miles away from their camp.

How often do I forget to ask directions? I mean really inquire of the Lord. I may throw a prayer up here and there….but ernestly seek the face of God. Pour through the scriptures and spend time silent in his presence as he speaks to me.

 What am I afraid of? Am I too busy? Do I have more important matters to attend to? What keeps us from inquiring?

Do I taste the provisions and in my own wisdom it seems okay to proceed but I completely forget to ask my all-wise and knowing Father for his Direction? 

And so I make a decision based on human reasoning lacking the wisdom that comes from above.

If I inquire seriously of God and he gives me a freedom  in my heart knowing that no matter how this turns out he is with me.  A clear understanding that I have heard from him. It’s a joy in the middle of trials. Or a peace of mind in the midst of a tough circumstance. It’s clear thinking and sound rest even in the middle of the storm.

Because just as God promised his people long ago…He will not leave us. He will not forsake us.

After numerous battles up until the end of chapter 11 Joshua directed by God was successful in wiping out the enemy. Foe after foe was defeated. God was mighty and powerful and his name was made famous through his servants. But it wasn’t until they learned some valuable lessons of obedience and trust.

Joshua 11:23 (New King James Version)

23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had said to Moses; and Joshua gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. Then the land rested from war.

An inheritance.  It’s right there for us. He is waiting for us to Trust and Obey and walk into the battle with him leading the way. The battle may look different for us then it did for Joshua but we are in a battle every day. Until we receive the final inheritance we must be listening with both ears. Our hearts wide open for full examination. We must have feet quick to act when he moves us. 

It’s not always easy…But it will bring about the results we desperately want.

Lord,

Today we seek your face. May we be as Joshua was, on our faces inquiring of you. Give us wisdom that only comes from your hand. We are desperate for your voice. Your touch. Your movement. May you receive all the fame and glory for what you are about to do in and through your servants!

I adore you God of the Jews and now the Savior of Mankind!

Tomorrow I will continue with this topic….Why Can’t I hear you.

Why can’t I hear you? – Part 1

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I am doing something a little different the next 3 days…I will be writing a 3 part blog on this subject. I hope Spring Break has been relaxing for you no matter where you are.

Do you ever wonder if you have a terminal wax build up in your ears?

Like maybe if you could get some help for that you would be able to hear your father’s voice more clearly?

Do you ever wonder why God speaks so clearly to some people and yet you struggle to hear from him?

I think we can all identify a time in our life that God seemed far away. And if he could just drop us a direct line from the clouds we would be able to grab hold of that and Know  we have heard correctly.

I have been reading  out  of Joshua,the past few weeks.  Joshua comes right after the Torah,  The law. The first 5 books of the old testament. Joshua was a mighty warrior . God  tells Joshua he should be courageous and strong… he is his Father  and he will never leave him.  And then God raises up that would be warrior and has him  lead those people across the Jordan River. God rolled back the waters and the people passed over to take the land that had been promised to their parents. Up to this point they had been living in the desert eating Manna that was provided to them every day. They literally lived hand to mouth. They only knew complete dependence on God for their daily bread.

So they cross the Jordan, and take Jericho with a mighty victory. You can imagine by now they are confident that God is with them. He has been mighty to save on their behalf. But God gave them strict orders after their march on the city. He instructed them not to take any plunder for themselves but only bring back goods for the treasury offered to God.

One man secretly and greedily decided his desires were more important than God’s command. And so, Achan brought back some gold, silver  and a beautiful robe,and hid it under his tent. (Remember this man had been living in the desert all his life. His clothing was tattered. He had nothing to offer his family and here was his chance….can you identify  with the temptation of the lust of the eyes? And the pride of life? The greed to take what doesn’t belong to you? Even if God has forbidden it?)

 The Israelites believed they could conquer the entire land because God had been giving them the victory. They trusted that he was with them. So they pressed on to the next town. The men went forth to fight and 36 Israelites were slain through an ambush from men from the city of Ai.

 I’m sure many wondered if God had left them. Why wasn’t he acting on their behalf? What was it that they had done to deserve this? And as their leader Joshua was devestated so he  inquired of the Lord. God told Joshua, “there is sin in the camp”. So after figuring out who had sinned, Joshua had Achan bring the stolen goods to him. The Israelites  took Achan and his whole family outside the camp and stoned them.

One man looking out for his own interest affected the entire Israelite camp. One man who decided he knew better than God, caused 36 innocent men to perish. One person who was driven by his own lust brought rebuke on his people.  One  made it difficult for the rest to hear from God. One individual brought shame on the name of God.
After Joshua and the other elders of Israel spent the day on their faces (literally)before God he answered them this.

Joshua 7 -NLT

10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.

13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.

God had promised to always be with them. He encouraged them calling their leader a mighty warrior and now he’s saying I won’t be with you if you let this sin go unpunished. Not that God had been unfaithful to them. They had been unfaithful to him. In fact 1 had been unfaithful.

Could it be that our lack of hearing God is because of sin that isn’t taken care of in our camps?

What does that mean? Sin can come in all sorts of packages. And we may have trouble recognizing it because of the narratives we have been raised with or a sin that seems common to man.  Perhaps we have tried but we just can’t seem to knock it. So we bury it deeper under our tent hoping no one will notice. In fact we may even have trouble calling it sin any longer. ….And…. we continue to struggle with hearing God’s voice…. And…. sometimes it affects innocent people like the rest of Achan’s family….. And…. others around us.

In Joshua 22:20The Israelites remind the tribes of this…Do you remember When Achan son of Zerah acted unfaithfully regarding the devoted things, did not wrath come upon the whole Community of Israel? He was not the only one who died for his sin.

When we sin it affects more then just ourselves.

Maybe Our lack of hearing is coming from something buried much deeper than we can see. Maybe we need to ask God to show us what he wants to uncover in us. And then we must be willling to rid our tents(bodies) of it.

Is there sin in this tent Father? Is there something you want to uncover? Clean it out. Rid me of my disobedience. I want to hear from you more than I want this stuff. Bring your cleansing fire to burn up sin and prepare this heart to hear from you.

Part 2 will talk of a second reason we may have trouble hearing God…