Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Wherever, Whenever, However.

Okay, so I am the one who wrote about the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) in my Arkansas History class 2 years ago.  No joke.  This probably qualifies me as a church nerd.

At age 16,  by God's grace I was saved.  My parents had just divorced and I was in a new state and new school.  Mansfield High School.  A new friend shared Christ with me at school before track practice.  That same friend made sure I was at church for the next several months.  First Baptist, Mansfield, Arkansas.  It was there at FBC Mansfield that God used a group of friends and adults to disciple in me a girl who loved the Lord and loved being a Southern Baptist.  At that church I learned how to be a godly wife, teach my children about Jesus, and love sharing His Word through teaching and evangelism (not that I have ever been proficient at any of these!).  Hospitality, love for His Word, and community in a group of believers was cultivated in me that church.  I can remember KNOWING and telling my mom I wanted to be in ministry when I grow up (I am sure she thought I was nuts!).   No clue that my main man at the time would become my husband and God would choose us to serve him through full-time ministry together.  Totally overwhelmed by His grace. 
FBC Mansfield, AR youth group
Mission Trip to Dauphin Island, AL

God would take Warren, Tyler, and me to Denison, Texas for a season of our life to call us to go wherever, whenever, and however.  I wish I had a picture, but I know God chose to engrave it on my mind forever.  Our little Tyler was 20 months old and his tiny little knees knelt  down on that hideous pink carpet in our apartment with Warren and me and we made that commitment with God as a family.  Wherever.  Whenever.  However.  God used a Texas Southern Baptist Church and its people to help us see His plan.  Parkside Baptist Church.  We were there for only a year and a half but God used this time to reveal His call on our life.  God's grace.
Tyler and me at VBS at Parkside Baptist Church

11 1/2 years is what He gave us at Waldron.  Definitely one of the toughest things we have ever done.  Leaving local ministry with family.  God used our time in Waldron, AR to cultivate, mature, grow, disciple, encourage, love, forgive, and be comforted.  First Baptist Church Waldron mourned the death of our parents with us, celebrated the birth of 2 of our children with us, rejoiced in the salvation of 2 of our children with us.  Waldron is where our children call home.  We poured every fiber of our being into the student and children's ministry there.  We stacked chairs, moved tables, unlocked doors, started ministries, traveled miles, and had the privilege to love on an Arkansas Southern Baptist Church with all of our hearts.  Our home there was filled with ones we consider spiritual children.  God's grace.
FBC Waldron students, 2010

This past Wednesday, I was on my way to Hampton to the place where I am doing my field experience for school this semester.  The Ouachita River was absolutely stunning.  I just wanted to stop on the bridge and stare.  The sun was rising in the distance, the trees were beginning to show signs of color, and the water had a little "steam" rising from it.  Gorgeous. (Even though the trees are too tall to see sunsets, South Arkansas is still pretty.)  Just before this, Warren and I  sat in PJ's coffee shop on the square in El Dorado and enjoyed this community we have called home for 3 1/2 years.  We love our walks at Mystic Creek, Sunday lunches with friends at Poppy's Pizza, and sitting on the porch of Laredo Grill.  Murphy money for Benchmark scores has always been great to get too!  Our children have some of the best friends anyone could ever have here.  One of the many great things about following Christ is the heart bond we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Our time in El Dorado serving at an Arkansas Southern Baptist Church has been sweet.  We have seen students, parents, and our own daughter saved and baptized here.  We have been blessed to see students grow, serve, and be passionate about Jesus. We have traveled miles with students and watched families want to be in church together.  Immanuel Baptist Church has a heart for others.  Inside the walls you find that there is very selfless people.  People who took care of us so we could make memories, people who have never hesitated to give for students to be provided for, people who will fill shoe boxes, and people who don't mind going wherever needed to love people. 

We have also experienced community in El Dorado.  We have had the privilege to share the love of Christ on the baseball field, in social organizations, school system, and sports stadiums and arenas.  We have never been anywhere where God has opened doors like these before. 
IBC ski 2012, Durango

And now He sends us to love the Arkansas Southern Baptist Church from a totally different position than we have ever been in.  A place of a missionary.  We will get to love on and encourage Southern Baptist Churches all through the state of Arkansas.  We will soon begin our journey together as a family in Little Rock.  Warren will be a strategist on the Evangelism and Church Growth Team at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.  (www.absc.org)  I have never felt more like Sarah, Abraham's wife, than I do now.  We have no idea where we will live, but HE does! As we look in the land we are heading, only giants we see.  God knows this very well and is leading us safely in.  God's grace. 
"At this also my heart trembles,
And leaps from its place.
God thunders with His voice wondrously,
Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.
Listen to this, O Melissa, (my addition, it really says Job :))
Stand and consider the wonders of God."
Job 37:1,5,14
"Now you shall see what I will do..."
Exodus 6:1a

Whenever, Wherever.  However.  We will go.

"Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling...
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide my self in Thee."
-Augustus M. Toplady, 1776
Generations of student ministry.
From our very first student in 1999 to our present day student in 2013.
Totally Blessed.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Filling My Toolbox

Here is the scene.  Brown chair and ottoman in the sunroom.  A laptop computer.  A bag of fall Reese's miniature candies in cute fall colored foil .  A 3-page single spaced paper due soon.  Real soon.  That's my world this evening.  In the background I hear Elise jamming out to some music.  I stop and dance with her on the way to the printer.  Grab my papers.  Dance with her across the living room and back to my chair I go.  I have been at this for 5 semesters now. 

Filling my toolbox.

"The Lord is my strength and song,..."
Exodus 15:2a

A couple of years ago at a Beth Moore Living Proof Live in Little Rock, AR, Beth's message on "What it takes to fulfill our ministry" confirmed so much of what God was doing in my life.
Beth Moore, Little Rock, 2011

Beth posed the question:

What would it take to be excellent
at what God has called me to do?

  Don't you just love when God does that?  It's like He is talking to you solely.  Her second point is what hit home for me: ACQUIRE the Appropriate Tools.  I had talked to Warren already about my thoughts to go back to school.  It wasn't just to have a degree, add stress to my life, or make money.  It was to have the "tools" necessary to go and do and be wherever God led.  If He wanted to take us to the deepest parts of India or the bush of Africa, I had "tools" that He could use.  If He wanted to send us as church planters one day, I had a "tool" He could use to reach families.  If He wanted to place me in a school to love children and their families (which I absolutely love and have for so many years!) , I was able.  I had the "tools."  And trust me, this "tool" has been costly and a sacrifice to obtain with a full time job and family.  The bags under my eyes don't lie.  But I will be honest, even now, in the thick of 18 hours of school work and working full time, I never cease to be amazed at how God brings me through day to day and week after week.  Alive.  Well.  Succeeding.  Blessing me with opportunities to talk about Jesus.

"My hope is in Thee."
Psalms 39:7b

He is always adding "tools" to my toolbox.  Just this past week I picked up passport papers for my family.  We have no plans.  No open doors.  A great interest.  But if He does open a door to an overseas mission trip opportunity, I want to be ready.

"And He said to them,
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
Mark 16:15

I want to "live" in front of my children the message we surrendered to the Lord as a family almost 15 years ago.  Whenever and whatever God.  We are our yours. 

"Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments."
Deuteronomy 7:9

So, I continue packing my toolbox with Bible Studies that challenge me daily to share Christ.  They press me to pray without ceasing and know the great I Am.  I will learn to love Hebrew and Greek words and how to keep idols out of my life.  I will pass up really cute hair when necessary,  in order to sit before His throne in that brown chair every morning.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:16-17

I want my toolbox packed with whatever tool He leads me to, so His ways can be made known.  Until that day.
"I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the course,
I have kept the faith;"
2 Timothy 4:7

*By the way, I left 4 of the candies in the bag.  I didn't want Warren to think I ate the whole bag :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Stray Dogs and Toilet Paper

I love non-fiction books.  I love biographies.  When I was Ethan's age, Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley was my favorite book. I also love encouragement books, how-to books, and devotional books of all kinds.  This summer I have read many books and hope to share some of those good book finds with you later this week.  But I am so very excited to share with you one of the best books I read this summer.  This book first came to my attention when a friend retweeted  a quote by this author on Twitter.  I became interested in finding out more about Ann Voskamp.  As I dug into some information about her, I found out she had a gorgeous book called one thousand gifts.

With school and school this past semester, I had no time to dig into it once I had purchased it from Lifeway.  But the book stayed on my mind.  I would read the book cover, inside cover, and even scan it every once in awhile.  I was really excited to dig in.  Did I mention the cover is super cute?

All during the month of May, I thought about what this book held inside it.  I knew it had to do with thankfulness.   I began to think about the gifts God gives our family.  Things we rarely appreciate anymore because we don't take the time to notice or even realize they are a gift.  That's when I got the bright idea.

The day we arrived back from our Texas trip to visit my dad, we started our 20 day project.  Every day that we were at home, for 20 days, I placed 10- 1x2 inch strips of paper on the counter for each family member.  When they climbed out of bed, their "thankful" papers would be waiting for them on the counter. They would then crumble them up and drop them in the jar sitting on the shelf in the kitchen.  At the beginning, I won't even lie, Ethan and Tyler were not so sure about this little project of mine.  Ethan was not too keen about having to think of 20 things he was thankful for and having to write them on the paper.  For at least the first 5 days it was the same dad, mom, sis, bro, dog, water, toilet paper, .........for Ethan. Tyler's tended to be a little one track minded at the beginning too.  Running and sports seemed to be his choice for "thankfuls."  Even Dick Vitale showed up on one of his "thankfuls."   Elise was a little more into it.  She was very descriptive with her "thankfuls."  I even noticed some texting lingo coming out in hers!

At the same time we started the "thankful" papers, I began the journey of reading the book with the cute cover that had stirred this idea in me.  This book was a little difficult to read.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it past the poetic and large vocabulary writing.  But as I kept reading, the more I was drawn in.  The words began to jump off the pages at me.  I could only handle the thoughts of one chapter a day.  The word Euchariesto grabbed my heart.  Thankfulness.  Throughout scripture we find the importance of thankfulness.  The gospels are full of  gratitude.  Paul learned the importance of thankfulness.  Thankfulness.

"And give thanks for everything
to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:20
"One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back,
praising God in a loud voice.
He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked Him-
and he was a Samaritan."
Luke 17:15-16
"magnify Him with thanksgiving."
Psalm 69:30
"My soul doth magnify the Lord."
Luke 1:46
"(Daniel) prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God."
Daniel 6:10
First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him."
I Timothy 2:1
Oh, how thankfulness changes our perspective.
  About halfway into writing 10 "thankfuls" a day and dropping them in the jar, I had an idea.
After the 20 days were up, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for a very large frame.  I cut a taupe colored mat the size of the frame.  I attached a sheet of paper with a verse, quote, and date to the center of the mat.  I also printed a picture of our jar, filled to the brim with thankfulness.
At first, I was convinced I could get all 1000 thankfuls on the mat.  My family did not agree.  I worked morning and evening for 2 days straight trimming, pasting, and putting together what I envisioned to be a really neat project.
As I unwrapped each of the "thankfuls" that had been stuffed in the jar, my heart would melt.  I had no clue how special this project  would be.  I had not imagined how beautifully the heart of my family would be poured out on these small pieces of paper.  No clue what  treasure laid in that jar.

My family was right.  All 1000 gifts would not fit on my mat.  I had to cover every inch of the mat and even spill over to an 8x10 frame.  I cannot even explain to you how moving these frames are.  Thankful. 
One act of thanksgiving,
when things go wrong with us,
is worth a thousand thanks when things
are agreeable to our inclinations.
~Saint John of Avila

Last night I hung the large frame and small frame.  It's hung in a place that we pass as we are hurrying out the door everyday.  I pray that these frames will stop us at times and remind us to be thankful.  For everything.  For every circumstance.  In little and in much.  In times of contentment and in times of change. 
Thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life.
~Ann Voskamp
Thankfulness helps us to believe, to forgive, to see, to heal, to fill, to be joyful, to make life full and large.
1.Rascal (the stray dog at our house for 2 days)
2.toilet paper
4.memories and dreams
5.When Tyler plays with his brother and sister
6.dying on the cross
7.calendars to schedule things
8.places we can call home and family
9.laughter of our children
12.a smokin' hot wife
13.light switches to turn the lights off and on
14.ability to forgive
15.hand sanitizer
17.Thanksgiving on the mountain
18.white swing
80.serving the Lord as a family
212.Arkansas Razorbacks
323.Hooten's magazine
433.wasp spray
567.my mom's opinion in different occasions
639.hair detangler spray
744. fires in the fireplace in winter
888.years I had with my mom
902.family dinners.
998.another day to wake up
1000.summer Bible studies with my man
"Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful loves endures forever.
Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights-
His faithful love endures forever."
Psalm 136:3-7

Friday, July 19, 2013

liberty and freedom

It was three years ago this past April that I woke up with a very heavy heart. I knew exactly what needed to be done. I walked into the living room where Warren was drinking his coffee and rather than saying 'Good Morning,' I proclaimed 'today is the day.'  I had tossed and turned all night and knew it was time.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way
which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
Psalm 32:8
A relationship in our lives was broken. Severed. Disunited. The events surrounding the broken relationship was confusing and really there was nothing at the heart of it. Just some feelings hurt. But it was a broken relationship. My husband, kids , and own heart were heavy everyday because of this broken relationship.  I am sure it was even affecting ministry and the church.
It was on that morning 3 years ago that I had my Esther moment. Not the beauty part. Not the Queenie part. The Courageous part. My people needed me. The 4 people in my house needed me to be courageous. I had to put aside my fear and pride because something way more important was at stake. 
"The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?"
Psalm 27:1
That day I searched the scriptures like I never had before. This broken relationship had produced silence for almost 4 years now. The broken relationship caused so much to be missed out on for both parties involved. My three kids were missing the memories.  Warren and I were finding ourselves making excuses, making intentional opportunities to avoid this relationship, and become somewhat numb to the fact this relationship needed repair.   But I was SO SCARED! In fact, scared may have been an understatement. Terrified. Terrified of their reaction to me, scared of the humbling I may have to take, and nervous about the road from here.  I have to admit, I was a  little prideful as well. But God quickly reminded me who I was in HIM and what our family had been called to.
"...To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives,
And freedom to prisoners..."
Isaiah 61:1
How can we do that when we are prisoners to a very binding broken relationship?
How can we tell others how to be set free and find liberty in Christ when we have chains of a hurtful relationship always on our minds?
"Now all these things are from God,
who reconciled us to Himself through Christ,
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..."
 2 Corithians 5:18
There was only one thing to do. Call. Make that call. I couldn't completely serve, love, and honor the Lord with this broken relationship in our lives.
"If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar,
and there remember that your brother has something against you,
leave your offering there before the altar,
and go your way;
first be reconciled to your brother,
and then come and present your offering."
Matthew 5:23-24
So I made the call and the rest is history. Praise the Lord history. Thanks upon thanks history. God is sooo good history. Humbled like never before history.  I mean it was very humbling. 
Why was this so important for me to do? Jesus. Simply Jesus.  Jesus.  His kingdom.  Sharing HIS good news. Salvation. Healing.  Oh, the healing.
But it was also important for generational changes. Doing things different. Our children. Being a family who is on mission together.
"Know therefore that the Lord your God,
He is God,
the faithful God,
who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness
to a thousandth generation with
those who love Him and keep His commandments;"
Deuteronomy 7:9
So a stone was laid that day 3 years ago on April 28,2010. The stone of God's faithfulness. I don't want to forget what His faithfulness and goodness is. I don't want Tyler, Ethan, or Elise to forget what it is. The stone is also a reminder to forgive, be forgiven, be humble, without bitterness, love, serve, and do whatever you can to be reconciled with others. That's what ministry is all about.
"Let this be a sign among you,
so that when your children ask later;
'What do these stones mean to you?'
then you shall say to them,..."
Joshua 4:6-7a


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mirror image

I have a girl in my house with two older brothers.  Two older brothers who constantly challenge Elise to math questions, free throw tournaments in our driveway, and sun flower seed contests.  She is taught by these boys the best teams in NBA, stats in MLB, and how to draft fantasy teams in NFL.
She is in a constant battle between being wrestled by Ethan and her heart being wrestled with the often reminder from me, "gentle and quiet spirit." (I Peter 3:4a)

Of course Cutie Patooties is Elise and my team :)

Tyler and Ethan are best friends to the core right now in life.

 Tyler takes Ethan everywhere he goes.  They lay in bed or on the floor watching superhero movies, Andy Griffith, or John Wayne most nights.  They love to wrestle each other.  I am not sure the wrestling is going to last much longer though, Ethan is growing fast, real fast. They camp together, grab Sonic together, and Tyler has been known to post Ethan as his #mcm (man crush Monday) on Instagram.

All three of these kids are so different, yet impact each other more than any other.  I hear Tyler stepping on Ethan's toes about choices.  Ethan will work with Elise on the proper way to catch a baseball many afternoons.  Tyler and Elise push our family to memorize scripture.  They work together, fuss together.... a lot, forgive each other, and play together. 

Not too long ago my dad (aka GT or Grandpa Texas), the kids, and I visited Lake Meredith in the Texas Panhandle.  I asked them to take a picture with GT.  This lake holds many memories for my dad.  There in front of me were 3 (almost) young adults.

 I promise it was just yesterday that they were young and I couldn't wait for them to GROW UP!

 Let me say, I didn't have to wait for that to happen.  Moments like these (and I have them quite frequently) stir up such an urgency in me. 
Am I doing all I can to teach them to walk in HIS ways? 
A crazy sense of double dose of Jesus down your throat kids starts to take over.  I feel the complete urge to pick up the gazillion parenting books I have and learn more ways to make sure they walk in HIS ways forever and ever.
My summer reading pile....

But as I read Deuteronomy 6,  God beautifully lays out a plan to raise children that walk in His ways.  It starts with our hearts.  I have read this passage probably a million times and never noticed the command for us personally.  Before we ever start the talking with our children, we have a command as parents from God.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with
all your heart and with
all your soul and with
all your might.
And these words, which I am commanding you today,
shall be on your heart;"
Deuteronomy 6:5-6

It is then, when our hearts are set on HIM, we can talk about Jesus.  And it will come naturally.

It is when Jesus is our love.  Our priority.  Our reason for being.  Our purpose.  Our vision.  Our goal.

Our children will get it. 

"Know therefore that the Lord your God,
He is God,
the faithful God,
who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness
to a thousandth generation
with those who love Him and keep His commandments." Deuteronomy 7:9

We won't have to shove awkward conversations down their throats.  We won't have to wonder what to say. We won't have to depend on someone else teach our kids about Jesus.  Our kids will get it.  When we are head over heels in love with Jesus. 

I absolutely love my man.  I could talk to you all day about Warren.  You ask, I could tell you how awesome he is.  This is because I spend time with Warren, love him with all I have, desire him, and want to do everyday of life with him.  Talking to you about him would not be awkward.  You would know from my actions and words, if necessary, that he is who I am crazy about.  We text and  talk on the phone when we are apart.  I cannot even imagine going a day without some kind of communication with him. 

When we love God , like the command gives in Deuteronomy, it will be like that.  But even more so.  Talking about God will be natural.  Spending time with Him will be natural.  Knowing what His Word says will be natural.  Because we have that close relationship.  It will be something we desire.  It will be something we will talk about. 

When we love God with every aspect of our lives, that love will guide our parenting.  The choices we make for our home. 

Rules and Boundaries.

"and you shall teach them diligently to your sons
and shall talk of them when you
sit in your house and when you
walk by the way and when you
lie down and when you
rise up.
And you shall
bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall
be as frontals on your forehead.
And you shall
write them on the doorposts of your house and
on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:7-9
My devotion and love to the Lord is directly related to my children's love for the Lord and His ways.
It's time to seek the Lord like never before.  Every time I blink, they grow a little faster.
My children, my future grandchildren and generations after are counting on me to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to keep His commandments (Deut. 7:9). 
Parents, let's set our hearts on Him!  Warren and I are cheering you on as we raise these kiddos together up in the Lord!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Been here long enough

Confessions of a MIA blogger:

While in Borger visiting my dad in May, I noticed a piece of metal in the tire of our suburban.  Knowing I had many miles of  travel to get home, I had it checked out.  Super nice guys at the tire shop, I would totally recommend the place if you are ever in Borger (I don't expect a phone call anytime soon).
While sitting and waiting for the tire to be looked at, I watched many people come in and out of the door.  The floor caught my attention.  Obviously it was an older floor.  Many years on it.  And very worn.
The floor had a distinctive path of wear.  Quite noticeably, people take that path, the easiest path to the cash register. 
As I waited for my turn, I took advantage of the quiet. 
I began to think and pray about some issues weighing me down.  I find myself doing that a lot lately.  That's when the floor really caught my eye.  I knew I was on a beaten down path and wanted off.

Ever been there?  Heavy hearted?  Frustrated?  Joy stolen?  Passion and zeal for the Lord empty?

I had no idea that God would use that beaten down floor and other heart wrenching events in life to begin restoration in my life.

A couple of weeks after my visit to that tire shop, God brought a scripture across my path.

"You have circled this mountain long enough. Now, turn north......He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness....."
Deuteronomy 2:3,7b
Definitely a word I needed to hear!  I have circled these issues, frustrations, and struggles long enough.  It's time to move forward. It's time to stop walking the easy path of discouragement and it is time to trust HIM for all things.
Warren and I always do a summer Bible Study together.  I always push a Beth Moore study upon him.  Bless his heart, by the time the study is over, I am sure he knows more than he wants to know about women.  We've done her Esther, Daniel, and Psalms.  We have done Precept's  I Timothy and I Samuel.  We have done James McDonald's DownPour.  Last summer we did Beth Moore's James.  This year I chose Deuteronomy. 
I had no idea back in April (when the Lord laid this study on my heart) that it would meet me exactly where I am. 
The day after God had given me Deuteronomy 2:3-7 as encouragement, He reiterated this same thought to my heart in Beth's lecture on Deuteronomy1.
"You have stayed long enough at this mountain.  Turn and set your journey...."
Deuteronomy 1:6-7a
He knows.  I mean, HE KNOWS.  He knows our struggles.  He knows when our vision has been lost.
But He also knows how to get us out of that beaten down path.
"He brought me up out of the pit of destruction,
out of the miry clay;
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
And He put a new song in my mouth,
 a song of praise to our God; 
Many will see and fear,
And will trust in the Lord."
Psalm 40:2-3
And that is exactly what He is doing in my heart.
He is so faithful time and time again to speak so very clearly. 


He uses His word.

Just needed to be reminded He was God.  Be still.
He uses prayer.
One of the greatest prayer warriors I know.  Mark Ward.

He uses His people.
Paths crossed at just the right time.  For such a time as this.

He uses circumstances.
Totally Heart broken for his precious wife and girls.  Heart broken for the church and community.  Heart broken for his friends.
Absolutely encouraged in the faith.

To remind you to keep walking, talking, living, and breathing JESUS.  No matter what.
"He found them in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the apple of His eye."
Deuteronomy 32:10
No longer a MIA blogger.  Can't wait to share more with you!



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

walk life together

A couple of weeks ago I had the  privilege to drive a group of ladies from my church to Frisco, Texas to a ladies conference.  We had such a great time!

The conference was called "dotmom."  (http://www.lifeway.com/dotMom/c/N-1z13wdb?type=events )  It was an absolutely fantastic conference with great speakers. Angie Smith, Vicki Courtney, and Priscilla Shirer were absolutely wonderful.  The breakout sessions leaders were great as well.  I learned, was reminded, and was definitely challenged to "step it up" as a mom. 

" ...do not provoke your children to anger;
but bring them up in the discipline
and instruction of the Lord." 
Ephesians 6:4 

I came home with a ton of books. 

To add to my ton of books. 

All unread and waiting for me to finish reading Historical Philosophy of Curriculum....(the title even bores me!)
Oh summer-where are you?

Here are some of the thoughts I wrote down at the conference (which means I needed the reminder or I am stinking at right now!):
  • Your children are not puppets in your show (beware of ruining the moment to put pictures on social media)
  • Be intentional!
  • Be unpredictable to your children, especially your teens (impromtu date to PJ's for coffee...)
  • Put the phone down in the car.
I could keep going, my notes were PAGES!

There were so many moms at this conference.  All writing things down.  I could see the pencils smoking across the room as each speaker spoke!  We need help.  We needed reminding.  We need mentoring.  We need each other.  And mostly we need Him!  We are Proverbs 31 women trying to do it all NOW!

"Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her..."
Proverbs 31:28

This journey of parenting is tough.  Full of so many seasons.  Diapers, Thomas the Tank Engine, ABC's, us reading books to them, them reading books to us, T-ball, pitching machine, Kid pitch, piano lessons, multiplication,  tween years, teen years, car keys, ACT scores, college applications.   Attitudes, smiles, crying, laughing, throwing fits at Wal-Mart, giggles as you tuck them in, disappointment, failures, successes, growth.

"There is an appointed time for everything.
And there's a time for every event under heaven-"
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Being a mom is one of the greatest blessings in life.  It is the main ministry we have.  This family we have is here to reflect His glory.

So I encourage you today, encourage the "moms" around you.  They may be in your Sunday School class, a friend, a teacher, a younger lady you know.  Encourage them.  Share with them. 

  • share good places you know about that moms can use to find out information on movies (http://www.pluggedin.com/ is a great site!)
  • share boundaries you found that work for the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing
  • share how you worked through the "girl drama"
  • share good homemade baby food recipes
  • encourage them to pray for their children
  • encourage them to love their husbands
Family is so important.
One of my most favorite verses is found in Psalms. I pray it for my family almost everyday.
"God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us-
That Thy way may be known on the earth,
Thy salvation among all nations."
Psalm 67:1-2

Stay strong moms (and dads!)!  Keep seeking Him. 
Warren and I are rooting you on in prayer!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


I have a ton of these.  In them hold some of the greatest joys of life and some of the most embarrassing cries to the Lord.  Precious moments between me and God.  In the pages of the books I have celebrated with Him.  Cried to Him.  Questioned who I was.  Desired something more.  Made commitments (of which I did not carry out a week later!).  But I am so thankful for them.

These journals lay on my shelf untouched.  They stay untouched until I need to remember. 

I find myself picking them up when I need to be reminded where I have been.  I need to be reminded that God saw my needs and and heard my cries.  I need to be reminded where I am headed on this journey of life.

Journal entry from 1999

I  prayed prayers of guidance for the first days of ministry for our family 14 years ago. I read about the places of joys and struggles.  I find difficult times of decision.  When I read the entries I can't help but think of Nehemiah 9:9-15 and unfortunately at times I read times like Nehemiah 9:16-20.
And all the while He saw.  He's El Roi.  He heard.  He made.  He knew.  He lead.  He provided.  He spoke.  He gave.  Truth.  Good words.  Compassionate.
I had no idea AWANA clubs would be what needed to happen.  WOW!
hard decisions in life.....
Heavy yet Happy hearts....
Our first week in ministry 1999

Ever been there?

Yet there are those times like in Nehemiah 9:5-8 where all you can do is thank and praise Him.

Remember.  Take time and jot your prayers down each day.  A day will come when a sweet reminder of God's faithfulness in the past is what lights the way in which you are to go today. 
"...to light for them the way
In which they were to go."
Nehemiah 9:12b


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Do Something Radical

Happy New Year!  I don't know about you, but I thought the Christmas season FLEW by!  I was very proud of myself, I had all of the Christmas decorations put up before school started back!  The new year also brought a time of resolution.  I am an organizational nut, so I LOVE resolutions.  (even though I couldn't tell you my resolutions 2 months later!)  As part of the resolutions, I started a money saving system.  I saw this on Pinterest of course!  You put the dollar amount that matches the week amount in the jar.  So week one-one dollar, week 24- 24 dollars, week 52-52 dollars, and so on.  Thought it may be something fun to do.
Week One -Saving System

I also tried to organize closets, cabinets, and drawers before school started back.  Oh my!  What an undertaking!  How embarrassing to see the BAGS and BAGS of junk we got rid of.  How do we accumulate so much STUFF?  Elise's was really bad, but she is now organized (for a week or two!).

 And yes, school is back in full swing!  I have began working full-time at Hugh Goodwin Elementary this semester.  Everyday I have the privilege to do some interventions, teach some math, teach a DI class, and recess duty!  Now on rainy days like this week, recess duty is NOT a privilege.  It is WORK!   I also started Block 2 in college.  There are days when I just want to hurry the days away. Then I look at Tyler and I am fine with the schoolwork taking forever.  When I graduate college, Tyler will be finishing up his junior year of high school.  The seasons of life pass so quickly.  But I am so excited the direction the Lord has our family going.
Just one of the $500 worth of books

As this new year and semester was beginning, I just had a burden to have a fresh word from God.  Have you ever been there?  It seems like the holidays were dragged down with problems, strife, and just a sense of unpeacefulness. Times seem difficult and I don't like it.   I am a person who likes freshness, security, direction, purpose, and peace.  As I have been struggling and wrestling with God about some of these things in life, He kept bringing me back to a passage in scripture.

"And MY people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek MY face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

As I dwelt on this scriptures, I knew what was needed.  I needed to SEEK HIM.  What does that look like?  How do I seek HIS FACE?

I knew that meant prayer and a place of being humble.  It also meant turning from my wicked ways.  This starts with me no longer being wrapped up in me.

I had picked up the book '7' months ago.  When I saw the book in a monthly magazine Warren receives, I was immediately drawn towards it.  I have picked it up to read at least once a month, but would always put it down because it was nothing I was willing to do.  If you are not familiar with the book by Jen Hatmaker, you need to go to her website. www.jenhatmaker.com

As I flipped through the pages of this book I realized many of these areas were owning me.  Not intentionally.  But they were.  I knew that I needed less of my kingdom and more of God's.

"For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?"  Matthew 6:25

Worrying about food, clothes, money, things.  This is exactly where God is finding me these days.  He finds me craving chocolate chip Teddy Grahams and cool whip frosting (to dip them in, of course!)  everyday when I get home from school.  He finds me wanting a diet coke and those wonderful bubbles in it EVERY hour of the day.  He finds me desiring to buy cute clothes AND shoes AND jewelry AND purses and HOUSEWARES from Target every time I see that great red bulls eye.   He finds me wrapped up in everybody's whereabouts on Facebook. He finds me wrapped up in myself helping no one and too busy to passionately care.   It's at this point, famished, a little beaten, wanting to "fix" my "emptiness/tiredness/struggles"  that I need to remember Him like I haven't at any other point in life.  I NEED HIM.  I need something RADICAL and FRESH to keep me going.  I need something to fill me up and HE is the only one.

"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain NEW strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."
Isaiah 40:31
So I took the radical challenge of '7'.  I started reading the book and actively following along.  A week later we began the workbook version in my Sunday School class.  (By the way ladies-if you don't have a class, Lorrie Moudy is a FABULOUS teacher and always takes us through wonderful studies!) I began January 1, 2013 with chapter 1 of "7".  30 days of only 7 foods.  I chose these foods based on their simplest form that would be good for me.  I am not a meat eater, so the 7 I chose was:
spinach, sweet potato, peanut butter, apples, blueberries, 100% whole wheat bread, and tomatoes.
And water.  Lots of water. 
A little side note is I am still drinking coffee.  There is just something about winter that makes a quiet time and coffee a necessity in a cold sun room at 4:30 am.

I am not drinking diet cokes.  (Big deal since I could be the poster girl or a great stock holder in the company due to the amounts I drink!)  I also use salt, pepper, and olive oil to prepare my food.  I am now on day 12.
I have wrestled, struggled, questioned myself (and God!), been totally ashamed of how "controlled" I have been by food, and found myself spending more time doing the things that are good & right and less time standing in the fridge/pantry wondering what I will eat.  So I eat the same thing every night.

I will update you at the end of this 7 journey later this year. 

"And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a NEW spirit within them..."
Ezekiel 11:19a
Looking forward to what the remaining 6 challenges hold in store.  I know HE will rock my comfort zone.  And I am thankful!  Looking forward to the continued NEW and fresh word from the LORD.  I need it. 

"Behold, I am making all things NEW."
Revelation 21:5a

Happy New Year from G5!