Thursday, December 18, 2008

Your Word Have I Hidden in My Heart...

Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11

I was reading a blog this morning that I follow from time to time, and the author is challenging her readers to memorize Ps. 139 by the first of the year. This just so happens to be one of my favorite Psalms so I thought I would take the challenge! It is so important to have the Word of God hidden in our hearts! Memorizing and meditating on scriptures are ways to make that happen! :-)

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
13 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.
19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against you wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way of everlasting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hope is the Thing With Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

by Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


and remember....
"Righteousness exalts a nation." Proverbs 14:34

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A little something

I was reading in one of my books last night that I've read over and over again, and thought I'd share a couple of short paragraphs with you that seem to go along with our current bible study lesson.....

(A Divine Confrontation by Graham Cooke)

It is easy to be joyful when things are going well for us. However, real joy does not depend on what is happening in a positive way. Real joy comes from the lord and is a source of great strength to us in time of trial and difficulty. The fruit of joy grows in poor circumstances in which we need to rejoice in the presence of God and His eternal promises.

The fruit of patience grows in troublesome situations in which we want to strive to take shortcuts or avoid difficult things instead of allowing the Lord to teach us to persevere in trust. God uses people and events to develop His character as well as His gifting in us.

We must learn how to enable the oil of the Holy Spirit to come between us and prevent the tension from becoming a friction. We get overheated through lack of oil. lack of grace, and lack of the fruit of God's nature in our hearts. Be challenged about this aspect of our walk with God. Learn to see other people through the eyes of God. When encountering difficult people, practice the grace of God. Develop the fruit of His nature. As you do, opportunities will open up for you in the nature of God.

There is always tangible success for us in these situations. Nothing may change in the circumstances, but something may change in us. Alternatively, our circumstances may change in many ways as the favor of God is poured through our chosen behavior. We must learn to respond to God and not react to circumstances.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Session Two

Holding Onto Hope

It was great to see everyone after skipping a week! We started out with breakfast (as usual!). We had some kolaches, donuts and a yummy fruit and cheese platter (thanks Theresa!). Then on to our 15 minute craft session.....

As you can see, we are a fun group of girlies! ha ha

We made masks of all sorts and personalities :-) Aren't they lovely??!!

Of course mine had bright neon pink feathers and glitter! :-)

After our craft, we talked about our masks and why we wear them, where we wear them, and who we wear them for. And we posed the question, does our mask better represent who we really are, or the person we'd like to be? Sometimes its easier wearing a mask so that we don't have to be honest about our feelings. Sometimes we even prefer others to wear their masks so we don't have to hear about their problems. Larry Crabb warns against this attitude: "Church is too often a place of pretense and therefore a place without hope. When brokenness is disdained, where the real story is never told, the power of God is not felt. Where brokenness is invited and received with grace, the gospel comes alive with hope."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Life can be a mess sometimes! And things aren't always perfect or the way we planned them. But according to this scripture we don't have to lose heart even in the midst of our difficulities! And there is usually a greater purpose and larger perspective to whatever it is that we are going through that God is trying to show us. Not that He causes our suffering, but for some reason, He allows us to go through it at times.

Two "Principles for Living" found in Session 2 were really good this week!......

~Often in the midst of suffering or struggles, God sets a fork in the road. Your choices at these critical crossroads will set the course for your future.

(Often we try to avoid things that send us reeling into difficulty and stress, but we do get to choose how to respond to them! p.22)

~Your life can send a powerful message of the amazing relationship a person can have with God. Even when you're spiritually and emotionally weak, God can use you to redeem the lives of those around you.

(So your ministry doesn't stop just because you are having some difficulties in your life! We can minister through our pain and hurts to help set others free and receive healing!)

At the end of our meeting, each lady was given a gift to remind her of the harvest waiting for her, just as Naomi, too, will receive a harvest in our story.

This Friday Session 3 is Signs of Hope. Hope to see you there!! :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Fall!

I haven't had time for crafting lately, so I thought I would just repost this card from last year! I made it for a friend as a Happy Fall greeting :-) So once again, Happy Fall my friends!

And hopefully I'll be able to find some time to make something new, especially with the holidays right here upon us! Anyone have any extra time out there to spare? Maybe you could put it in an envelope and send me just a little...... :-)

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Sorry girls! We have to cancel, or actually postpone, Session 2 for this Friday (tomorrow). The kids have been sick and we don't want to spread the germs! :-) So have a great weekend and I'll see you next Friday!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Session One Homework

Just a quick reminder for those of you attending the Famine to Fairytale bible study at my house. Don't forget to set aside some quiet time this week for the Taking it Home section on pages 17-18. The introspective questions as well as the offering questions to take to God will help you make the most of this study. Also, remember, it is important to write down thoughts, feelings, and key insights that God reveals during your quiet time. There will be time for sharing on Friday for those who are interested in doing so.

Our craft for Session Two is going to be really fun! We are going to make a mask! We will have only about 10-15 minutes to create, so be thinking about what you would like your mask to look like. I will have the masks and supplies available for you to decorate with, but if you have something specific you would like to bring to decorate your mask, please feel free to do so! I can't wait to see our different personalities reveal themselves in this activity!

Have a great week! :-)

"I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together." Ps 34:1-3

Friday, October 3, 2008

Famine to Fairytale - Lesson #1 - When Tragedy Strikes

This morning was our first bible study. We had a great meeting! As we invited the presence of the Lord into our midst, the Holy Spirit took over and became our facilitator! We shared some personal time getting to know one another better, eating, having some coffee, and making a collage of our dream vacation! (See pics below) Then we dove into our lesson and discovered how we each relate to Ruth or Naomi in some way or another. We were reminded of God's faithfulness and His desire for each of us to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

An exerpt from Lesson 1:
The story of redemption is captured well in fairytales. Since girlhood many of us have dreamed of living a fairytale. We long for adventure and the thrill of being claimed as royal brides. That yearning in our hearts is natural because we were created for a real-life fairytale. In fact, we're destined to find freedom from bondage through the King's love - a scenario not entirely unlike Cinderella's story.

Sadly, the original paradise God created for us is now lost for a time. When the Enemy deceived Adam and Eve and they rebelled against God's perfect plan, we became slaves to sin and struggle. But through Jesus we have a way out. Still, even after we come to faith in Jesus, we still must wait for the final "happily ever after" ending that God promises.

Real life is messy, and is at times filled with tragedy. Life's pain and heartaches seldom make sense to us, and can leave us wounded, discouraged, and disillusioned. As we walk the path of tragedy and triumph with Ruth and Naomi, let's consider how their story relates to our own.

One of our favorite scriptures for today was:

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

A few pictures from this morning:

Princess Theresa & Princess Linda :-)
Princess Shelly & Princess Stacey :-)
Our vacation collages!

In celebration of Fall (my favorite time of the year), at the end of the meeting, each lady was given a small pot plant for herself and one to give away. :-)

There is still time for you to join us! If you haven't registered for a bible study yet, and think that this one might be for you, come on over! Call the church, leave a comment here, or send me an email and I'll get your book ordered!

Next Friday, Lesson #2 is HOLDING ON TO HOPE. See you then!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So I said I would post again before our first meeting....looks like I'm barely sneaking this one in! Our first meeting is tomorrow morning at 10:00 am at my house (and for obvious reasons, I won't post my address or phone # here!). I think everyone knows how to get to my house, if not call the church and ask for my cell phone number. Or just follow the smell of coffee and cinnamon streusel muffins........

See you in the A.M.!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Famine to Fairytale - Women's Bible Study

Starting Friday, Oct 3, I will be doing a Women's Bible Study entitled "Famine to Fairytale" (Gene & Elaine Getz). It is a study of Ruth and Naomi and their path to redemption. The study is from the Women of Purpose series which highlights ordinary women God used in extraordinary ways. Any ordinary women out there dreaming of extraordinary things? :-) Pick me, pick me!

Here is a paragraph from the back of the book....

Both incredible women, the intertwined stories of Ruth and Naomi teach us so much about how God can bring incredible joy out of tragic circumstances. From the opening scene in the book of Ruth, filled with famine and tragedy, to the almost fairytale ending, we see the real life struggles. Real life is messy, and these women are far from perfect. Yet, their faith and devotion through the pain and tragedy of life led each to experience unexpected joys, and the blessings that God was longing to give them. In the same way, God has unexpected joys for each of us today!

The bible study is only 6 weeks long so shouldn't be that hard to complete (even for those of us who have a hard time staying on task and FINISHING things!!). :-) If you can't attend the meetings at my house, but would like to get a book and follow along with us, let me know! Each lesson has icebreakers and/or a craft (and you know I LOVE crafts!), so hopefully we'll learn some things AND have some fun! And of course, you know I'll be posting pics. :-) It will be a great opportunity to get to know not only Ruth and Naomi, but each other and perhaps discover some things about our own selves!

So let me know if you are interested! I'll post an update before our first gathering.

Changing the subject a know those moments where you just feel soooo close to God? Like He's right there with His arms wrapped around you? Like your heart is going to explode because it's so full and you can't stop smiling? This morning while driving into town was one of those moments for me. As I was enjoying the beautiful, beautiful Fall weather, it was almost like I felt Him get in my car with me! Thank you, God, for allowing me to feel your presence today. Thank you for spending this morning with me. And help me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, even when I can't feel your presence, that You are with me. And thank you for FALL!!! I know heaven must be like this. :-)

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Final Hurricane Update! (hopefully!!)

I am late in posting this, but we had our electricity restored Saturday evening. So only 8 days without power! We are definitely blessed, it could've been a lot worse! The guys working on the lines worked so hard for us! But there are still people here without power and of course, all of those who lost their homes and loved ones. I'm not sure when the island will be open for the public. From what Ihave heard and the pictures I've seen, there is not a lot left in many areas there. It will take a while to rebuild, but I know they will. All we had was a big mess in our yard to clean up. Shawn finally paid a couple of his guys to come over this weekend and help finish. Here are a couple of before and after pics of our front yard:

before the storm
after the storm
before the storm
After - You can see the corner of our house in this one. So glad the tree fell away from us!!

Beginning the clean up....

I had to show this picture - this is part of my living room - notice the extension cords running through the middle of the floor? When we got home, Shawn was set up in the camper in the front yard with the generator hooked up - all he had hooked up was the refrigerator and the TV with the Directv (which explains the cords!!). I was like, you have to be kidding me!! As long as he had cold food and satelite, I guess he thought he was doing ok!

And this was our temporary home for a couple of nights! The generator was sitting on the four wheeler because we had to keep taking it from the water well to our house! We stayed in the camper just to have hot showers and also it had a propane stove to cook on.

We attemped to take a walk/ride to the river behind our house, but found the road cluttered with downed trees and fallen limbs, plus the river flooded the back half of our property so this was as far as we made it!

I also wanted to include these last 2 pictures of some of the beautiful skies we got to enjoy while at my sisters in the hill country!

After every storm, a new hope shines through. Sometimes the end of one thing can be a beautiful beginning to another. I pray for beautiful new beginnings and hope for all those who lost so much during this time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

**Wednesday Update**

We made home with little drama late yesterday evening. We left my sisters about 1:00 pm and headed to McDonald's for lunch! We then ventured to their local WalMart to stock up on some canned items and basic necessities. My brother in law also let me take his extra large cooler to fill up with ice and cold food items (lunch meat, milk, etc). At the checkout, we were told that there was no ice! I knew my cold food would not fare well on the trip home without ice. So I desperately said a small "please God" under my breath and as we were walking out the door we saw 3 bags that had just dropped from the machine! So Taylor grabbed them and I went to pay! Coincidence? Good timing? Whatever.....God is good :-) The challenge now was fitting everything into my Tahoe! It was already filled with the ice chest, blankets, pillows, luggage, and kids! But my kids were so great, putting potatoes and cases of water under their feet and helping me to organize everything to make it fit! So we began our journey home.

To keep this long 6 hour trip (normally 3.5 hours) short, I will spare some minor details. :-) The trip did end up taking a few hours longer. There was not really a lot of traffic, but electricity was of course still out all along our route home, so none of the traffic lights were working. This meant treating them all as a 4 way stop and even when there's not a lot of traffic, things can back up quickly. So we rolled our windows down and turned up our music and enjoyed the nice, cool breeze that God sent our way to replace our air conditioners! Coincidence? Good timing? Whatever....God is good :-)

As we traveled, there were a lot of trees down, signs blown over, tin roofs lifted in spots, but nothing like we are seeing on the news for Galveston, of course. (The kids took pics of the long gas lines, etc, I'll try to post another day.) All in all, we are so blessed. When we arrived at home, some cleanup had already begun, but our yard was still such a mess. There is a huge oak tree across our driveway and lots of big limbs down. But we were told yesterday by a sheriff that we could not burn anything yet so we'll just have to pile it for now.Shawn pulled the camper next to house and hooked it up to the generator. We stayed the night in it last night because the windows are still boarded up, but tonight we will stay in the house. We'll have to take showers in the camper (if we want hot showers, and I do!), and also cook in the camper on the propane stove. Our house is all electric, and the generator won't run everything at once. So we'll just live between the 2 for now! Oh, and my sister said that she saw on the Internet yesterday that we will have power restored by October 5. What????? Yikes.

Is it true we are only 2 days away from Fall???? This is my most favorite time of the year. I can't wait to buy some colorful mums for my porch and make a new wreath for my door, but for now, I'm going to have my 2nd cup of coffee. Have a wonderful blessed day!!!(I'm not editing this since they are turning the generator off for now, so be forgiving!!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another Update

Today is Tuesday and we are still not home. Still no gas, no food supply, and no electricity! But we are going to head for home in the morning anyway. The kids are so homesick and ready to go! So today we will pack, go buy some food to take home, fill the ice chest, and fill up our gas tank! Hopefully we can get going about 6:00 am to avoid some traffic!

Here is a pic of our front yard that Shawn sent to my phone after the hurricane. You can see a tree down, lots of limbs and our windows all boarded up with plywood!

Off to prepare for our camping trip! :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

**Hurricane Update**

Saturday hurricane Ike kept inching closer and closer to us so about 3:00 pm we decided to evacuate. By 3:45 we were packed and in the car! We went to my sisters house in the hill country near San Antonio. Shawn stayed behind at a friends house so that he would be able to check on our homes asap and also be available to work. We waited anxiously for news on our home as reports of damage and destruction kept flowing in from the news, text messages and phone calls. Finally, Shawn was able to reach our property to find our home in tact! We had trees and debris down in the yard, but no major damage to our home, just a lot of clean up. We are very blessed. A lot of our friends and family were not so lucky, having trees through their homes, roofs torn off, businesses destroyed, etc. I cannot imagine living in Galveston right now, they need a lot of prayer. We also have some friends in Baytown whose church received major damage. I was told last night that there is a possibility our electricity will be out for 2 weeks to a month. And with us living on the outskirts of the city limit, we are usually some of the last to have it restored. With hurricane Rita, we were without electricity for 2 weeks. Also no school of course for this week, and we find out Friday if there will be any next week. And with the outages and shortages of gas, it will be hard to continue running the generators. Hopefully we will be getting gas in the next couple of days. The kids and I are still in San Antonio. They are asking that Texas evacuees not return until Tuesday. So we plan to hang out here again today and leave early in the morning. Hopefully we can leave early enough that traffic will not be too terrible. I plan to shop for food before leaving the area, since almost all 0f our stores are closed and the ones that are open have long lines out the door and a lot of empty shelves. Please continue to pray for those who found tragedy in the midst of this big storm. Pray for hope, healing, peace, comfort, restoration, and salvation- that many would draw near to Jesus during this time. When I get home, I will give another update possibly with pictures and more details.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preparing for Ike

Today we are preparing for hurricane Ike and watching lots of news on the TV! We should start seeing tropical storm force winds around noon tomorrow (Friday) if the storm stays on track. We are boarding up our windows and have removed everything from our porch and yard that we could. Now it's just watching and waiting! So say a prayer for us! Minimal damage, trees falling AWAY from the house, no flooding, and NO TORNADOES!!! We will be getting absolutely no sleep tomorrow night since the strongest winds are supposed to begin between midnight and 2:00 am! I'll update when I can! After the last hurricane, we were without electricity for 2 weeks!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My little man started back to "school" today (Parent's Day Out). So I have been a little sad and lost this morning! I didn't even have my first cup of coffee until 10:30! I have also been browsing through old pics on my computer and found the file with the ones from the day he was born. I wasn't even looking for them and there they were! There were some of my sister and my mom holding him (they were in the delivery room with us) and when I saw them I just got all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about what is to come!! My sister's baby girl is due in December and I can't wait for that to be me holding her in the picture!

I've also been thinking about my friends from highschool and how much I miss them! What got me started was finding out that one of my best friends from long ago is finally getting married! I am so excited for him and his soon to be bride! I got an email from him this morning and it made my day!

One of my BFFs (more like a sister!) D sends out some encouraging emails/prayers from a book entitle It's Never Too Late to a group of us girls. The last one said..

It's never too wonder.
Look with innocence.
Drink with your eyes.
In people.
Ponder it.

So this morning I have been wondering, pondering, thinking, reminiscing, and all of the above I often do! Sometimes it just lingers longer and invites your emotions in to places you haven't visited in a while. :-) And then there's the what ifs, the whys, the could've beens, (in the words of D).... and today. Where our life is at this very moment.

She ended the email by saying exactly what I would say to you today....

Let's take some time to wonder...about the difference we can make in our life, our family's life, a friend or a stranger's life.Let's take some time to wonder...what can I do to make today more pleasant; is there something I have control to change about me that could make me more pleasant; Let's wonder...let's ponder...let's do.I pray today that you will wonder a little.I pray today that you will see the mystery and enjoy it.I pray that you relax today, breathe today, sing today and dance.

I am so behind on blogging but now that summer has come to an end, maybe I can steal a few moments to write. Hopefully I'll get some first day of school pics of all the kids up on the family blog this week (or next....).

And hopefully I can share some things on here that God has been speaking to me these last couple of months.

Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I cry out to God Most High, to God, Who fulfills His purpose for me.

Psalm 57:2

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Please send someone else!

Moses felt inadequate and questioned God about sending him to rescue the Israelites.

Ex. 3:11 "Who am I, that I should go and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"

He felt inadequate because he was! himself. But God did not expect him to do it alone or in his own strength.

Again Moses reminded God of his inadequacies and weaknesses (like He didn't already know!) and pleaded with Him to reconsider and send someone else.

v.10 "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue."

v.13 "O Lord, puhleeeaaassseeee (emphasis added) send someone else to do it."

First, God's reply was -

v.11 "Who gave man his mouth? Who made him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

and then

v.12 And God said "I WILL BE WITH YOU"

But after Moses continued to beg to be replaced by someone more qualified or with a Masters in Speech and Communication :-) , God agreed to let Aaron (Moses' brother) go and speak for him.

Moses was so overcome with feelings of inadequacy that he could not trust even God's ability to help him. Been there.

My friend J. (quiltermamma) commented on my last post about the bible stories we heard growing up. No mention of struggles, inadequacies or weaknesses for the most part. (Where's the reality in that?!) Just plain ole superheros of the bible! But truth is, they were ordinary people like you and me. People (superheros) who had struggles and problems and issues. People who when God called them to do something, sometimes didn't think they could do what He was asking! But the one thing that I believe gave them superhero status was that they did it anyway! Even if they whined a little in the beginning (or ran away for awhile!), they eventually obeyed and fulfilled their mission, their assignment. They allowed God to do great things through them.

Each of us has been given an assignment. Probably several assignments. Let's remember what God told Moses, "I will be with you." He doesn't expect us to go alone. He knows our weaknesses and inadequacies. The great thing is, He loves us anyway! And He doesn't change His mind about His plans for us!

I have so often been filled with feelings of inadequacy and thoughts of "I can't" or "There's no way" or "You want me to do what??" or "How, God?" or "Can't you send someone else??" and the list goes on! When the world (and the church) so freely exercises their judgement and takes pride in exposing other peoples' weaknesses, stepping out in faith and doing something you've never done before and don't feel qualified to do can be terrifying! I mean, leaving the wilderness with your GPS set for Egypt can be a little less than exciting! (Especially when the last time you were there you were a wanted man!)

Moses was worried about how the people would respond to him.

Ex. 4:1 What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say "The Lord did not appear to you."

As Moses, I too have also done this many times. The What-If Game. I can sit and play several scenarios in my head of different things that COULD or MIGHT go wrong. What if I mess up? What if I say the wrong thing? What if they hate me? What if? What if? What if?

When we put our eyes on the people and not the assignment, we get into big trouble. People can be scary! (Can I get an amen?) And mean!

So, as I am traveling once again through the Old Testament, I am being reminded that I am a perfect candidate for helping to carry out God's plans and purposes on the earth. My resume is filled with some of the same "qualifications" as Moses and other bible superheros. Not that I should be ok and content with my weaknesses and inadequacies, but that I should not let them be a reason or excuse to give my assignment to someone else or allow them to stop me from fulfilling my purpose. God choose me (and you) even with all of our flaws. We have to learn to trust God's ability, and not our own. He is a big God. And even when we don't, He knows what He is doing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Genesis proved to be filled with amazing revelation, just waiting for me. I know God is leading me.

This footnote from a page in my bible sort of sums up the book:

"The book of Genesis gives us rich descriptions of the lives of many great men and women who walked with God. They sometimes succeeded and often failed, yet we learn much by reading the biographies of these people. Where did they get their motivation and courage? They got it by realizing God was with them despite their inadequacies. Knowing this should encourage us to be faithful to God, to rely on Him for guidance, and to utilize the potential He has given us."

So I learned that most(all) of the people in Genesis were like me. Imperfect. Filled with inadequacies. They sometimes succeeded and often failed. And they loved God. And God loved them and used them to do great things.

I know He is preparing me to share some things. Some personal life lessons. Some struggles. Testimony of sometimes succeeding and often failing. Testimony of some things lost and some things found in my pursuit of Him.

For now, I begin Exodus! The exciting story of God's guidance!

Lord, help me to read with the determination to follow You wherever You lead me.

Do you know where He is leading you? Ask Him. He still speaks. :-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Noise in the Garden

I have started reading my bible from the beginning once again. I have started this several times but haven't ever finished reading it all the way through chronologically. I usually get lost somewhere in the so-and-so begot so-and-so's, you know? :-) Then I start skipping around and re-reading all my favorites....Esther, Isaiah, Ruth, Psalms......

So here I am, back in Genesis once again. In the beginning. And right away God began speaking. I love it when that happens. :-)

Check out Chapter 3. Temptation. You know.., the part where it's all the woman's fault. (smile)

There was some "noise" in the garden. A voice other than the Lord's. And what did Eve do?

- She listened to the voice (of the enemy)

- She agreed with and believed it

- She acted on it

How often are we swayed by voices other than the voice of the Lord? How often do we allow the voice of the enemy to convince us of something contrary to the Word of God?

Eve had everything she could ever want or need! I mean, she was in THE GARDEN!! She was QUEEN of THE GARDEN! She walked with the Lord!! Literally! There was only one thing she couldn't have! The voice of the enemy will remind you or bring to your attention the one thing you don't have and cause you to forget the blessings all around you.

I can just hear the conversation.

"What? God said you can't eat the fruit from THAT tree? Why not? What??...he said don't even touch it? OMG!! That is ridiculous! It won't hurt you! You will SURELY not die! What's the big deal? In fact, if you do eat the fruit from that tree, it will make you like God! You NEED that fruit! "

After listening to the serpent, Eve started thinking maybe the fruit wasn't so bad for her after all. She probably began to desire it, want it. Why? Because she listened to the voice of the enemy. And she forgot the Word from the Lord.

Verse 6 says she SAW the tree.....she began to look at it and think about it. She saw that it was good for food. She saw that it was pleasant to the eyes. She saw a tree desirable to make one wise.

How many times has God told us "don't touch it", "it's not for you", "stay away" ? And the more we look at it, the more we think about it, the fainter His voice becomes. Until finally we have convinced ourselves that He must have been mistaken or maybe we didn't hear Him right, or ....SURELY this won't hurt me. In fact, really, we NEED this.


So we begin to doubt God and His word to us as the final authority. As did Eve. And once she acted in disobedience, a separation occurred. Her relationship with God changed. You know the story.

But it's my story, too. I have chosen many times to listen to something or someone telling me things contrary to what I knew was God's word to me. But I am learning to hear God above the noise. I am learning to hear Him through the noise, and in the noise. But even when I hear Him, I have to choose to disregard the voice of the enemy, because inevitably, it comes. And I have to choose to believe God and His word over anything else. Over the adversary, over my flesh, over "logic", over my emotions, over my friends or families opinions, over other "Christians" opinions, or over anything that proves to be contrary to His word to me.

I cherish my relationship with Him. I WANT to hear Him. I WANT to obey. He is my hope, my strength, my redeemer, my help.......

Teach me to listen, Lord. And help me to obey.

"Show me Your ways, O Lord. Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day." (Psalm 25:4-5)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

This is My Story (Part 1)

This Is My Story

Well....part of it. We all have a story to tell. We can all give a first person narrative of triumph and tragedy, joy and sorrow, victory and defeat, life and death. Each part of our story has meaning and significance. Perhaps to help or encourage someone else, perhaps to propel us forward, growing into the mature son or daughter of God we were planned to be. I believe God allows us to go through certain things in our life, not because He wants to bring us harm, but so that others can see His provision, healing, goodness, mercy, love, and faithfulness. So today, in hope that you will somehow find encouragement, hope and healing, I open my book, flip forward a few chapters, and allow you a glimpse into the novel of my life, my journey, my story.

I was reminded several times this week of God's indescribable magnificence and goodness. Everywhere I looked, I saw His reflection or heard His voice. I knew it was Him. In the breeze. In the trees. In the sound of my kids laughing. In the birds singing. In the beauty of His creation. We don't have to look far to find Him.

As I was glancing out of my dining room windows, I noticed a banner that I had made last year. It was draped across the top of my bay window. It simply says "CELEBRATE". I made this on one of my "creative days". (For those of you who know me well, know that I have been known to - on occasion - turn my dining room table into a mini art studio, filled with fabrics, paints, papers, and all sorts of embellishments and supplies.)

My brother-in-law was visiting a few weeks ago and asked, "Why do have that hanging there? What are you celebrating?" I just smiled and said, "Life". Because I am.

Almost four years ago, I was pregnant with Logan, my third child. During my sixth month, I went to the doctor to have a mole on my shoulder removed. No big deal. (Right?) I left the office with a few stitches and glad to be rid of the ugly mole. About a week later, I came home to find two voice messages on my answering machine from my doctor urging me to call him as soon as I returned home. He had followed procedure and sent the mole to the lab for testing. There was something in his voice that made me very nervous. I knew something was wrong.

The next morning, my mom drove me back to my doctor's office to hear the results of my lab and the reason for his concern. Unlike a routine visit where we sit and wait in an exam room, we were escorted to his personal office and sat down in front of his very large, intimidating desk. I knew now that the mole was in fact, a big deal.

Melanoma. That was my news. And almost more than I could bear. And because of the size and depth of the tumor (mole) that had been removed, they did not receive clear margins large enough all the way around to their satisfaction. I was to be referred to an oncologist to discuss additional surgery, further testing, and possible treatment options if the cancer had spread. Thank God my mom was there. All of the strength drained from my body and I buckled under the weight of what I had heard. I was devastated. I felt like I was going to be sick and excused myself to the restroom. I remember feeling like someone had punched me in the stomach and I couldn't catch my breath.

I found out later that my mom set my doctor straight on a few things while I was gone. Although we appreciated his professional opinion and advice, we had a higher authority and a greater physician. While my earthly doctor was very gloomy and negative in his report, my Heavenly Father, the Great Physician, said by the stripes of Jesus I was healed! (Is. 53:5). And Jesus said that He came that I might have life and have it more abundantly! (Jn 10:10)

So for a few days, I could only cry. I knew what the word the said, but I was struggling in my emotions. You can imagine the things running through my mind. I had two children already, and was six months pregnant with my third. All I could think of was what if? I was tormented and consumed with negative thoughts and the feeling that I might die. I remember thinking about the movie, Stepmom, where the mother gets cancer and was dying. She began to prepare her children and leave momentos and videos for important events in their life that she would miss. I couldn't bear this thought. I had drifted into a place of utter despair and had to pull myself out of it.

After I'd had enough of feeling drained, hopeless, and full of despair, I decided enough was enough! I got out my bible and my praise CDs and did what I should've done from the beginning. I immersed myself in the presence of my Lord. I even had headphones and baby praise CDs for Logan (in my tummy!). Even when I didn't feel like it, I praised Him. One morning shortly thereafter, I was kneeling beside my bed and heard God speak more clearly than I ever have before. It seems now like it may have been an audible voice, but I don't think it was. I heard it but I don't think anyone else could have. I just knew it was Him. I will never forget what He said, "I have already taken care of it." And that was it! As I let the words sink in, I was transformed in His presence. The negative, hopeless thoughts that had been clouding my mind and destroying my faith were gone. My negative emotions disappeared. I felt my spirit strengthen as I replayed His words in my mind. Words that were not unfamiliar to me, but that had now become personal. They were now part of my story.

The next few weeks were busy. My sister was getting married and I was in her wedding, big belly and all. I had much to distract me from my upcoming doctor visit. I kept trusting God and believing His word to me, but it was a task to keep the negative thoughts from returning. I continued to praise Him for what He had already done. The praise music took me out of my circumstances and into His presence. It was the safest place for me to be.
After the wedding, I came home and braced myself for my visit to the specialist. I knew God was in control. I initially met with an oncologist who my primary physician referred me to. However, my OBGYN was doing some research and making some phone calls on my behalf. He wanted to make sure I saw the best doctor and got the best care possible. He was concerned for me and my baby. He referred me to a dermato oncologist who then referred me to a surgeon. Both doctors were very positive and confident that I was going to be okay, but we did need to do the additional surgery to remove a larger area around where the tumor was. They would also have to inject radioactive dye into my shoulder to see where the cancer would have most likely spread to - IF it had spread - lymph nodes under my arm or in my neck. After talking, praying, and getting reassured over and over that neither procedure would harm or affect the baby, we decided to schedule the surgery right away. This way, I would be healed enough to be able to breast feed without pain and discomfort from my arm and shoulder.

So about five weeks before my my due date, I arrived for my surgery, accompanied by the best family and friends a girl could ask for! The radioactive dye determined that IF the cancer had spread, it would have most likely affected two lymph nodes under my arm. The surgery was performed and the two identified lymph nodes were removed for biopsies.

After one and a half weeks of waiting, I received the news that we had been waiting for. Cancer free! Clear margins and lymph nodes! No further surgeries or treatments of any kind! I would only have to visit for my checkups with both doctors every six months, then every year, which I continue to do today. He had already taken care of it. :-)

And on December 13, 2004, baby Logan weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs 10 oz! And loving his praise music! But that's another chapter...... :-)

Here's Logan today at 3 1/2 and full of joy!

So I said all of that to explain my banner. CELEBRATE. Not just on special occasions, birthdays or holidays, but everyday. Through this chapter of my life, I have learned how valuable and fragile life is. And how every moment of every day is special. Although I am FAR from perfect, and still get frustrated, lose my focus, and sometimes take the little things for granted, I try to remember to celebrate. Celebrate the dirty dishes and my house that is too small! Celebrate my children when they obey and when the don't! Celebrate Him. Celebrate life and every morning that I get to wake up. I am thankful to hear His voice, and thankful that He is taking care of me.

My soul waits for the Lord. He is my help and my shield. For my heart shall rejoice in Him, because I have trusted in His holy name.
(Ps 33:20-21)
I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Ps. 34:1)

Monday, June 23, 2008



My title alone suggests that I am contradicting my previous post. However, that is not my intention. Instead, I thought I would write about our significance IN HIM! As I was reading in one of my books this morning by Dr. Tim Kimmel, I found my inspiration for this post....

"Some people confuse humility(see my previous post) with a low view of themselves. They divert attention and praise from themselves because they feel unworthy to receive legitimate recognition for their efforts. This is an insult to God. The bible says we are "fearfully and wonderfully made." God has given us intrinsic value and extraordinary abilities." (T.M.)

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, not so that we can boast in and of ourselves or glory in man's praise, but so that He can receive glory through every part of our lives and the things He enables us to accomplish. When we realize our value and significance is in Him and our abilities and talents are from Him, we won't need or want man's praise and approval.

I have printed scriptures and other encouraging reminders of God's goodness and His plans for our lives and posted them throughout our home. One is titled "Who I Am In Christ." At the bottom of the page it says.....

I am significant...
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life. (John 15:5)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
I am God's temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6)
I am God's workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. (Phillippians 4:13)

Be encouraged today as you realize your significance in Him. You are a child of the King! Take your extraordinary talents and abilities and use them today to bring glory and honor to your Father!

Have a blessed day! :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008



Do you ever feel like God speaks a word to you? No like a long prophecy kind of word, but A WORD? Just one word. Well, the other day, I felt like He was speaking to me the word insignificant. I know. Not exactly something to jump up and shout about, right?

Let me back up a little bit.

My hearts cry for some time now has been "Empty me of me, Lord. Empty me of me so I can be filled with more of you." (You know the Chris Sligh song! Listen to it at the bottom of this post) "Less of me, more of You, Lord." Because you know, ME always gets in trouble. And I've had enough of ME.

So, as I began to meditate on my nice, exciting WORD from my Father, although I know what it means, I decided to check it out a little further anyway. Just in case I was missing something.

Insignificant - unimportant, small, of no consequence, lacking power or position, not worthy of notice, of minor status, a person without significance.



But, Lord. (How many times have we said that?!) You want me to be....Insignificant?

Light bulb. In order for ME to let ME be replaced with HIM, ME has to become insignificant to ME. Ok, that didn't work too well. I'm confusing myself. Let's try again. Remember the song "It's not about ME. It's all about You, Lord." That's what I'm trying to say. It has to be all about Him. Not about my accomplishments, recognition, popularity, position, importance to people, other people's opinions of me. Not even about my feelings being hurt, not being included, or about being right or wrong. So what if no one even knows my name. It's not about me.

When we are willing to become insignificant in our own eyes and the world's eyes, then we will find our significance in Him.

1 Peter 5:5b says "All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

So the word "humility" in this passage means "having an humble opinion of oneself, a deep sense of one's littleness, lowliness of mind....." Sounds familiar.

I need God's grace, not His opposition.

Help me, God, to be insignificant to my own self, in my own eyes, so that I can find my significance in You. Help me to clothe myself with humility. Help me to not care about what other people think of me. Let me not put importance on my own accomplishments or what I can do in my own strength. Without You, I am nothing. Let me do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit (Phil. 2:3). Let me not trust in the stability of earthly things or in my own power and resources. Teach me to trust in You. Your resources and your power are far greater than mine! Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life! (Prov. 22:4) And with humility comes wisdom (Prov. 11:2). I choose to clothe myself with humility. It's not about me, Lord. It's about You. Empty me of me, so I can be filled with You. Less of me. More of You, Lord.