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I truly thought that as we entered this Lenten season that I would be called to do something drastic.
I truly believe that there are some seasons of your life that God calls you to not necessarily give any thing up sacrificially, but calls you to focus intentionally in the midst of the chaos.
Life is busy right now. I have three great teenagers. One is graduating from high school in 3 months. Two will graduate next year. Are you picturing this with me? My pouring into their lives daily (in this way) is slowly (and quickly) coming to a close.
My hubs has a high stress job and tends to travel alot..
My mom lives close by and needs me more and more..
I have a full time, wide-open job that I love.
So… I struggled when I shared with my hubs that I thought God was calling me to step back from FB and Twitter and he responded negatively. He wasn't mean and he didn't shrug off the conversation. Please don't misunderstand me. He checked me on my motives. The conversation turned to his encouragement not to step away completely. Encouraging others and relationships are a big part of who I am. If I stepped back from those two formats completely I wouldn't be myself. True.
Conflicted. Isn't that part of the point of Lent? To sacrificially give up something that prevents you from digging deeper into your relationship with God?
Confused. Aren't you supposed to spend the season of Lent in reflection and intimate examination of your heart and your relationship with God?
I think the answers are yes and yes.
Here is how God is using this season, and quite frankly it's freaking me out a bit. IT's SOO personal. So stinking personal. ( I KNOW!!!)
A Thomas Nelson sponsored devotional taken from 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God that Invites You into His Story by Dr. Larry Crabb.
An email in my inbox every morning for crying out loud. I am on day seven. ONLY day seven. I've been on my face every time. Every time.
Outside of some amazing Bible Studies and reading the WORD for myself, I dare say there has been any time more personal. I am almost afraid to say any more about it.
So, consider this.
Could He possibly ask you to intently focus during Lent while not giving anything up?
Could He possibly ask you to get to a place of victory as you begin to surrender to His will?
Could He possibly ask you to sacrificially give of your time?
Let me know…
Me.. He's got me on my face. It's okay, there is a great view down here.
My co-worker, Adam and his wife Peggy became parents for the second time on Wednesday, January 20th. Their son, Caden was born weighing 2.1 lbs and 14" long at 25 weeks. He has been breathing on his own and fighting something mighty fierce from the beginning.
Kid is a fighter. (I would love to post a picture of him, but don't have permission just yet.. trust me though.. he's one gorgeous kid..)
We have been praying for his healing and growth and for his family. Could you pray for him too? He made it through some surgery today, but really needs prayers for his blood to begin clotting again. It's critical.
I get really confused when teeny, tiny little ones suffer or have a hard battle like Caden has. I struggle with watching my friends hurt and grapple with decisions they shouldn't have to make surrounding a birth of a child. I cry out to God to help me make sense of all of it. Then there comes this peace..
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." – Psalm 34:18
He gently reminded me once again that He's got it. He needs me to be obedient and pray and serve Him by caring for this sweet family as He directs. He is the HOPE. He is holding onto Caden.
I'd love it if you could pray for him tonight and in the coming days/weeks.
Happy New Year!
I know I am late (face it.. it's been since October) with posting after the new year but honestly, I have been struggling with self expectations vs. God's expectations and His will over my life.Whew, that was a long sentence.But there you go. Struggling with where to go with this blog, asking God if where I am in service to Him is where He wants me to be, basically just pleading and begging Him to speak to me CLEARLY.I need that because, I am DENSE.What I have realized is this: He's been talking to me the entire time. (Durrrrr…) I have been listening but not necessarily walking in His will. I have been listening, but possibly too scared or lazy to actually step out. It's very easy to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. I've done that. I don't want to do that anymore.Here are the highlights: (no, not the hair kind, although I have recently stepped out and added some warm brown to this ever gray hair…)
- Beth Moore's message to me… no not just me, but heaven's to Betsy it sure felt like she was speaking to my heart and only my heart. Here's a glimpse of what I took away from the 2009 Simulcast besides the heavenly, only liked by me in my household, (WHAT?) Texas Sheet Cake recipe.
- Preparing my heart to begin to lead a group of women (who, by the way, amaze me every Monday night) as we jumped and dug and wrestled and soaked ourselves in His Word in September. I have a whole nother (yes, I said nother…) week worth of posts that would let you in on why this was a HUGE deal for me… but suffice it to say that I officially came out of retirement after 3 years.
- THEN… in October…the honor, privilege and blessing of taking my sweet girls, Lisa and Becca to their first official Living Proof Live in Memphis. Aren't they precious?
If you ONLY knew sweet ones the amount and breadth of generational sin that runs in my family… I think that then, you would understand that I could not do anything else but be slain by the LOVE and GRACIOUSNESS of God. Standing there in between them, worshiping with wonderful, sweet women… no words. Just tears of gratitude. And you know what else? God gave us such a sweet time of fellowship with each other as well as the opportunity to fellowship with other sisters in Christ that have come to mean so much to me. SLAIN, I tell you. The message blew me away.. a smidgen: going on a wild God chase, what if we became a people able to receive the revelation of God?, am I altered through the Word?, Here's WHAT I AM LIKE…, "He will let you feel lonely so that He will be the ONLY ONE, the ONLY ONE that you can trust and who is worthy. 1 Cor. 15:21-25, Romans 8, I could just go on and on. but won't.. you are welcome.
- November took me to 2009's LifeWay's National Women's Leadership Conference in Nashville. I'd retired/stepped away from Women's Leadership in my home church so to be back and poured into was odd, familiar, thought provoking, convicting, exciting and blessed. My home church has some great new leadership rising up and it is my honor to walk alongside them. Really. He continues to blow me away in spite of my own little pea brain!! I am excited to see what He has in store for our local church/community under their leadership. You know what else I heard? … "It's enough." What I am doing, what I am able to be a part of is enough. He has me exactly where He wants me.
- Okay.. so knowing all the above.. you would think He would just stinking pull back a bit.. NOPE. I was asked (through much prayer and discernment on their part, lemme just add) to speak to a group of women at a luncheon given at Carraba's. Our church hosts a luncheon for working women quarterly. No fluff message was asked to be shared. LEMME JUST SAY!!!! really? seriously? NOPE. He said.. "lay it out there". So I did. Shared with my local peeps about what God had been doing in my heart through the last few years. It just blessed me so. BLESSED ME SO. I had to go back and thank Him for all the grace and mercy and beyond comprehension joy He's bestowed upon me. No LIE. I had to sit back and thank Him for not giving up on me. IN the process, I truly believed that He gave me insight into my life's message and this season's direction. Hardly recovering from that….
- We enjoyed lots of family time over the Christmas break.. LOTS OF FAMILY TIME. I love my family to pieces.. I do… but two weeks filled with extended family and three, very wonderful, active, talkative teenagers, whew!!!! I clearly know that my gracious Provider is preparing my heart to usher these babies out of this abode to college. Glory be.
- Ran up the road in late December to have 24 hours of girl time… did you get that I needed them? Hope so.. sure nuff!
- Started off this year just really resting in Him, puttering around the house, asking questions of Him, pleading with Him again to humble me and show me.. show me the desires of HIS HEART for me…preparing to lead Bible Study again locally and remotely… AND THEN!!…
- He takes me to this little bitty town in Alabama called Oneonta. I know, right? What's there? Well, she was there. I just had to meet her. Make her another IRL friend. I was thinking I was just going to make a road trip to see some girlzzzz and hear a little bit of the Word. And possibly eat Mexican or have more coffee and chocolate. Goodness… that dessert was a dessertle't. We had to go looking for more food. But dag nabbit, she sure got up all in my bizzznessss. Thank you Jesus! Here is what she screamed over me.. (she really didn't yell at me, she is too stinkin' sweet for that.)
- Luke 5:33-39 was our scripture reference…
- Jesus came to infuse us with new life, not suck the life right out of us.
- You can't slap a patch on something that isn't working and expect a qualitative new result. (there was this cute story of a worn pair of jeans and some duct tape..)
- We must desire to be seasoned not hardened… we don't have an excuse to not be flexible. New wine skin is pliable and flexible…fine aged wine has value. You can either hold it in and be hardened or exhale and expand and let it go. (WHEW)
- We must learn to loathe that which is destroying us.(there was some sort of story about having to loathe french fries.. boo hiss.) What is the french fry in your life? It doesn't have to be bad, but what is killing me? God, help me to understand what is not healthy for me. What is not healthy spiritually, physically and emotionally healthy for me?
- Good enough is not good enough – We often say, "What I do is good enough!" Serving in Sunday school, singing in the choir, donate to charity, rock babies in the nursery, go to church on Sunday.. Are you content with life, comfortable, settled? What if we miss the best of what He has to give us because we are content in the middle?
- Then she said it… obedience… in the little things. Being stretched and obedient. There it was again. The same message. Over and over and over again in this season. Obedience in the little things.
- RUN, yes, RUN to this website and enter your Pastor's wife for some love! I did.. Promise! She's just precious. AND.. let me just add this. I can spot a fake ten miles away. I can, because I have been one. Honest to Betsy. Lisa McKay is a changed woman of God. She's desperate for Him… loves HIM to pieces. She is authentic, vulnerable and a gift. Watch out girls, God is about to do something FIERCE through her. Can not wait to watch it!
So.. that's it in a nutshell. No resolutions, no themes, no SCRIPTURE FOR THE YEAR! Just reality. Obedience in the little things. Do the next, right thing. Discipline, self control, honesty, authenticity, sacrificial living in a hard and wonderful world. That's it and I'm good with that. Cause trust me, THAT IS ENOUGH.
Don't forget to curl up in His lap today,
For those of you following me on FB or Twitter you know that I became such a follower. I am an avid blog reader (not so great at my own blog but I am working on it) and when Vicki and Joanne and Mel started Killian's 30 day Shred.. well, I was curious.
I love the Biggest Loser and am constantly motivated and awed by all the contestants and their hard work. I know, I know, there is editing and the fact that they give up their lives and jobs and are at the mercy of cooks and WACKY trainers like Killian and Bob. But it's just amazing… amazing they way their bodies and their health changes. Seriously.
How hard could it be? And for goodness sakes, it was only 8.99! I was curious. Could I manage?
I ordered it.
I started it at home and then started talking to gals at work about it around Day 5 after I learned how to sit and walk again. I AM NOT JOKING!
Really. This skeptic has turned into a believer.
The scales are moving a bit. Mostly I feel stronger, more fit and my clothes are beginning not to fit.
I love being a follower especially in this case. I renamed her Killian, it's a love/hate relationship. I'm grateful for her and don't like her being around at the same time. But, you know what? It's me getting suited up every day, and making the decision to be demeaned and demoralized by Killian. It's me making the choice to just take 20 minutes to take care of myself.
A girl has to do that in order to take care of her family and herself. I'm tired of giving up on myself and then feeling guilty. Goes back to a post I wrote awhile back.
Keep me motivated, okay?
I declared that May would be drama free and a wonderful month. I forgot to mention that for mom's with lots of kiddos that the month of May is worse than the month of December. Truly. Throw in there some weird ole school closing and it's drama filled.
Not to mention that my brain is fried and my body is old.
Not to mention that I have THREE teenagers in my house.
I love them. Please don't write to me and tell me that I should cherish this time with them. I do. Honestly, I do. I just would cherish some time ALONE.
Hammock. Sunshine. Peace and Quiet. Unplugged.
Sounds wonderful doesn't it? Not my reality.
Here's one thing that is true.
God's mercy and peace surpasses all understanding. He is never changing and loves me always. Nothing is impossible with God.
My world is great. My family is wonderful. My job is perfect. All the stress and distractions are self inflicted and choices that I have made.
So then. Why do I make them? What distracts me?
What constantly pulls us away from the peace of His hammock. His Sonshine. His Quiet?
Has this week been full or what? Is it just the change in seasons… trying to go from cold to spring? Everyone around me has been sick with sinus infections (bacterial and viral) like the one I battled weeks ago.
The same issues are wrangling in my brain and I continue to ask myself why?
Why do I push myself so hard to accomplish certain things to live up to my self expectations? What am I trying to accomplish outside of killing myself?
I am trying hard to study for a piece of a national certification that fell between my fingertips last November. My exam is on May 1st and all my spare time is going to cramming. Why do I feel the need to accomplish this? I've got a great job where I am valued and appreciated and am secure in knowing that I am contributing to the greater good. Why the stress?
Why do I continue to stress about keeping our home a certain way? Seriously? My hubs is so laid back about the house, but it drives me nuts to have things all cluttered and unplanned. Planning meals, cleaning up, working on the yard… What pushes me?
I am completely clear on the whole weight issue. I know that my motivation to work out and eat right are based on the fact that I have not taken such good care of this temple that houses the Lord. I've been quite lackadaisical about it since getting sick.. but am working on getting back to the gym and writing down what I am eating. Makes me more aware. But why do I stress about it?
What is preventing me from just resting in His presence and having some plain ole fun?
And shall I just say that the whole season of being a mom on a daily basis is quickly changing. This time next year, Griffin will graduate from high school. This time next year, Lisa and Becca will become Seniors. So why do I keep stressing and what keeps me from enjoying our time together?
Just some things I have been thinking about and praying about.
By the way, these blogs have been such an encouragement to me the last few days:
So what do you think? What is on your mind?
First, Happy Holy Week, Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Thanks be to God for the amazing gift given to us all.
Second, please forgive me! I realized this week that it will have been two weeks since my last post. Not intentional, but definitely divinely inspired.
I started this Lent Season here and can't believe it ends tomorrow, or does it begin? My decision not to give anything up but to remain focused has proven itself to be not that easy.
The world threw in some obstacles like illness that took forever to overcome, busy work deadlines, wrestling with season of life changes, trying to remain frugal, etc. I also threw in some of my own obstacles like trying to kill myself with a manic work out schedule and weight loss strategy, giving into materialism, pridefulness and boredom.
What I did not do was give all my own agenda items or have to do lists to Him. I was not consistent with my speaking to Him, my quiet time, my study time.. do you get the pattern here. It was all about the "but I don't want to do that, or focus on that, I just want to rest, relax or do someting FUN!"
I've been beating myself up mentally about not staying focused on the weight loss and working out schedule. I was feeling so much better.. then I got really sick and couldn't kick it. I can't afford to miss work.. too much depending on my attention. I lost focus on preparing meals and making sure we stay within budget and only purchase what we need.
Wah Wah Wah.. or in the words of my teens, Blah Blah Blah…
My focus shifted from Him to Me. AGAIN. I just wish that I could get that lesson right for once. Focus on Him, His will for my llife, how I should serve my family and others first and realistically take care of this temple that He calls home. He lives here, right? Am I showing that?
He certainly showed it to us the Good Friday he died for us and the Easter that our Father raised him from the dead. RESURRECTION. LIFE. ETERNITY.
Why is it so stinking hard for me to show that every day consistently?
Here are some interesting blogs that have got me thinking today.
Praying for my brain and yours to rest in Him and Him alone this weekend…