Welcome to my blog! Odd title you say? Yes, maybe, but I bet you would agree with me that life is chaotic! I'm mindful though, in the midst of the chaos, of Colossians 3:17 "Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father!" I thank God that my life gets to be chaotic...I know that through the chaos He is transforming me to be more like Him!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Christian Prom

Do you remember your high school prom? If a girl, you were purchasing your dress months in advance. You cleared your schedule for the entire day, just so you would have time to have your make-up and hair exactly perfect. If a guy, you rented a tuxedo in advance and made sure to take a shower on the day of the prom. You put your best foot forward. You knew, or at least your mom told you, that you needed to look your best. You took the best car your family owned, or you rented a limo to take you and your date to the prom. It mattered what you drove up in to the prom. You were careful to mind your manners and you were all smiles that night, especially for picture-taking time. Everyone looked picture-perfect. Flawless. Everyone seemed to be having the time of their life!

These days, prom isn't just for junior and seniors in high school. In NYC, there is a theatrical play called "The Awesome 80's Prom" set in a real dance hall that includes audience participation, and people flock to the theatre in NYC to relive their prom experience. There are many events all over the U.S. that closely resemble high school proms, usually as fundraisers for charities or even for-profit events. And every Sunday, churches across the country host their own version of the prom called "The Christian Prom."

Think about it, we treat going to church like going to the prom. Before church, we shower and get all cleaned up. We put on our best "church" clothes, and we make sure our spouses and kids are dressed in their best "church" clothes too. Then we load up in our nicest cars or SUVs for the ride to church, preparing ourselves and our families to be on their best behavior. Once, at church, we parade through the church hallways hoping that people notice how "put together" we look. We are careful to mind our manners, but most importantly it's all smiles! It doesn't matter that you and your spouse or kids fought all the way to church, once at church, it's time to turn on the charm. Once we get to church, we slip into our seat and watch those on stage singing in their best "church" clothes with smiles from ear to ear. Clapping and smiling, these people have gone through the same routine to get to church. So we sit and listen to the preacher, leave in time to grab some lunch and make it home to see the football game, and check another Sunday Christian prom off the list. We've done our duty. We've gone to church. We've let everyone see how perfect we are. Now we can get back on with our real lives...

Imagine this. The same Sunday, a girl walks into church for the first time. She's at the end of her rope, and while she doesn't want to be going to church, she feels it's her last resort. She thinks maybe there's hope for me there. Lonely and insecure, she approaches the church building. She sees nothing but perfect happiness on the faces of those walking in. Then she sees her co-worker dropping her kids off in the nursery. The same co-worker that is so rude to everyone in the office each week, is now all smiles and minding perfect manners. So this girl continues in to the church service. She's brokenhearted and looking for hope, but no one notices. She watches those on stage all smiles and dressed to impress, including her co-worker. She knows that this co-worker is going through a lot at home. She knows how rude this co-worker is to everyone at the office during the weekday, and so she's confused as to how she is standing in the choir acting as though everything is perfect and as if she's completely happy. Then she looks and recognizes her next door neighbor. She's only met him once when her dog ran away and she asked him if he had seen it. He stumbled to the door, completely wasted from all the alcohol he had been drinking, and managed to tell her he hadn't seen a dog anywhere. Now he's at church, sitting all dressed up and happy? She was looking for something real. She was looking for someone to notice her and help her. Instead, all she saw were happy, plastic people that didn't take time to notice her or offer her help. She figures she was right all along, the church is just a place where people go so they can dress up and be seen. A place for them to pretend like they live perfect lives. Flawless. Everyone seemed like they were having the time of their life! The Christian Prom.

Church is not supposed to be a prom. Church isn't even supposed to be about us at all. It's meeting together to encourage and disciple each other in the Word. It's finding out what's going on in the lives of others and teaching them what God's Word says about it. It's about discipling, and being discipled. This is how we fulfill God's command to us, the church. Matthew 28:19-20, "Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you and I will be with you." This is how we glorify God. This is how we expand the kingdom of God across the world. Church is NOT about us. It's about God. It's about loving people. It's about being real! Prom is so high school.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Miner's Rescue

Late last night and into the early morning hours, I, along with many others around the world watched in amazement as one by one, miners that have been trapped underground for the last 69 days were pulled one by one out of the mine to safety. I fell asleep last night after they had rescued 4 miners, and as I sit and watch right now they have already rescued 14 of the 33 miners. It's truly amazing to sit and watch. Relief overwhelms the faces of these miners as they are pulled to safety. Joy is on their faces as they are reunited with their family members that they thought they would never see again! And the world is inspired! The news media can't get enough! Facebook and Twitter is filled with messages from people saying they just can't stop watching the rescue mission...and I think, this is how Jesus rescued you too!

We were dead and buried in all our sin because of our sin, destined to remain there for eternity until God stepped in. He sent us a capsule, His son, Jesus Christ, to pull us up out of the pit we got ourselves trapped in! He didn't just pull us up out, but He gave us freedom forever! The assurance we would NEVER be trapped again! It is amazing how stories of rescue capture the heart of people all over the world, yet when it comes to their own rescue, people turn a deaf ear. I think it's because they fail to see their need to be rescued. Can you just imagine one of these Chilean miners trapped for 69 days already, yet when they sent the capsule down to him and said, "It's your turn to be rescued" he said, "Aah, no thanks, I don't need to be rescued. I'm just fine right here where I am." It would NEVER happen. That's because they realize that staying trapped there will lead to a slow death. Yet, when it comes to our need to be rescued from eternal death, most people will be content to sit tight in their mine, ignoring the capsule that's been sent for them that would lead them to eternal life in Christ.

I read newspaper headlines this morning that said "Joy as Capsule Raises Trapped Men to the Surface!" and "Chile Miners Rescued!" Can you imagine if there were headlines like this everytime another person in the world decided not to stay trapped in their sin anymore and decided to receive the free gift of the capsule and be rescued! I only pray today that people would realize that they, like the miners, are trapped in their sin which leads to death, and only through the capsule, Jesus, can they be saved from death for eternity. It's as urgent as rescuing coal miners in Chile, except that there's more hope for them than for some who continue to ignore God's gift of salvation.

"...today is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Morning Commentary

Well, when I started Monday Morning Commentary, I didn't realize that it would be another whole week before I blogged again! Oh well, such is the busyness of life.

What a wonderful weekend though! My husband surprised me with a trip to Dallas, Texas! Now, there's nothing special about Dallas except for my favorite mall is there, they have a Cheesecake Factory (my FAV restaurant!), oh yeah, and HILLSONG was going to be at Fellowship Church! My sweet husband got us tickets and so we hit the road...

We left Wednesday night and drove halfway to my grandparents house in Jonesboro, LA. I LOVED getting to spend some time with them, even though it was short! My grandmother cooked us breakfast the next morning before we hit the road again headed to Dallas.

While approaching Shreveport, we got the crazy idea that we should stop by and check out the site of one of our favorite tv shows at the moment: Billy the Exterminator. We knew he was sorta close to Shreveport so we looked it up and punched it in the GPS. (Oh yeah, we made a pit stop at McAlisters for free sweet tea day!). So we found the site of Vexcon in Benton, LA! This may not be very exciting to most of you guys, but we think Billy is pretty awesome, and we DVR his show every Wednesday night! So here's the pic of Vexcon.



While we were enjoying taking pictures of the outside like total idiots, all of a sudden Billy himself walks out, gets in his truck, and drives passed us! So what else were we to do...but follow??



We followed Billy for about 10-15 minutes like complete stalkers hoping he was going to a job and we would get to watch. We were very excited! Instead he parked here...



It was a gas station...and of course we went inside.



Unfortunately, we were so close but didn't get a picture with Billy. He went into the gas station restaurant and I guess my husband was afraid we would get in trouble for stalking if we asked him for a picture! So...our adventure ended...and we continued to Dallas.

Thursday night, we celebrated my early birthday at Cheesecake Factory...my favorite restaurant of all! Friday was full of LOTS of shopping and Forever 21! Then Friday night we went to Fellowship Church for Hillsong! It was an amazing night of worship!



Saturday was full of even more shopping...my poor husband didn't understand at all! But I'm so thankful to my sweet husband for giving me a wonderful birthday trip!

PS - no idea why the photos in this post are so jacked up! Please forgive me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Morning Commentary

Welcome to the first edition of my Monday morning commentary. The weekend was full of adventures: from dog sitting to sushi to going tubing on the Rez on a very tiny tube!

We survived our final day of dog sitting yesterday. My family headed to the beach last week, and asked us to dogsit for them. Like I'm gonna say no? Here's the thing though. I don't really do the whole animal in the house thing...but I must admit, it was kind of fun. Hartley (the chihuahua) is a mess! He's basically like a cat because all he likes to do is lay in your lap or on the back of the couch and give himself baths. He's a little high maintenance for someone who isn't used to a four-legged friend in the house. We survived however, and managed to take some cute pics!





Friday was clean-up day at the May household. It wasn't too much fun, and I think it may have made my husband sick! The reason I say that is because after the clean up was finished, he suggested that we go out for sushi! Now, this may not seem to strange to most of you out there, but my husband eats American food. Period. Every now and then I can convince him to eat some Mexican, but for the most part it's American food. So, the fact that he mentioned going to eat sushi was incredibly strange! But we headed to Nagoya in Madison for some sushi that our friends, the Hendricks, introduced us to a few weeks ago. Which brings me to Friday night dessert...Gigi's cupcakes!

If you've never been to Gigi's Cupcakes you should check out this link and visit one soon! You can see what it's all about here: http://www.gigiscupcakesusa.com/
We just got one here in Flowood, and it is a hoppin place! I met the owner of our Gigi's Cupcakes the other day (whose name is NOT Gigi, I might add...I was kinda disappointed about that...) who told me that they sell between 800-1200 cupcakes per day! She also told me that out of 20 stores nationwide, and having only been open for 2 months, her store is ranking #2! Leave it to us Mississippians to boost your cupcake business!

Saturday was a fun afternoon on the Rez with my small group. We headed out on the boat for some tubing, swimming, and boat riding and had a blast! I'm pretty sure I have the best small group girls ever! They even convinced me to try out the tube, which I might add was incredibly tiny! (Or was it the cupcake from the night before?) Anyway, here are some pics!





While on the boat, we took a ride by some islands where some goats have been placed in order to eat up the vegetation. We searched for the goats and we found them! What can I say...it's Mississippi!



Sunday was a great day! I heard two great messages that are worth checking out! One is from our church in Brandon, Pinelake Church. The other is from Newspring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. (We like to call Newspring our church away from church, although we have never been!) Here are the links! The message from Pinelake is up now, the message from Newspring won't be up until Tuesday. Enjoy!

Pinelake Church
Newspring

So that brings me to Monday. Bryant and I are going out of town this weekend (I will tell you more about that later) which means a lot to do in a lesser amount of time this week! We have a lot going on at Monkey Charms and there's a lot to be done before we leave town. I think that means my blogging time for today is over...back to work!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Proverbs 16:1

"The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord."
I was reading this verse this morning and was reminded of a video that my husband recently showed me that goes so well with this verse. If God has ever not answered your prayers the way you thought He should and you've wondered why, this video is great! God just asks us to follow Him, not to try to figure things out. Enjoy!
http://vimeo.com/4654340

The Zach Files

Tuesday night, Bryant and I got to have our favorite 2 year old, Zach back over to the house for some playtime! This little man is growing up so fast! It seems like just yesterday he looked like this: Now he's repeating every word you say and even making up some new words! This dude is smart! Here's a fun game Bryant and Zach made up. Enjoy!
video

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The. Fourth.

red. white. blue.
stars. stripes.
food.
family.
fireworks.
freedom.
the fourth.

Growing up, the fourth was always a celebration. Since my dad's birthday is only two days after, we would always celebrate his birthday on the fourth of July. This meant cooking out at the reservoir or at the lake, feeding the ducks, eating watermelon, & shooting or watching fireworks! I didn't always understand what we celebrated on that day, but I always looked forward to it! These times were always so precious! I don't know that I have always appreciated these times as I should have though. The older I get, the more I learn to be thankful for the little things in life like the food, family, & fireworks on the fourth...and the bigger things in life like freedom.

The freedom I have is so taken for granted. The blessings I enjoy are enjoyed as though I deserve them sometimes without a moments thought of the people who gave their lives so I could experience it. The grace of God in my life is so evident, yet I complain about the smallest things. The Savior of the world gave His life for me so that I could experience grace. But He didn't stop there. He sent men & women before me to give and risk their lives so that I could worship Him freely in this country. Freedom. So Thankful.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Friday, June 4, 2010

Doing or Praying?

Does doing seem better than praying to you? No, really. Does DOING seem better than PRAYING in your mind? In your life? It can be a real struggle - finding it easier to just do "good" things than to actually spend time in prayer with the Father. And when I say prayer, I'm not talking about the hurried "God bless these french fries," or "Help me have a good day." I'm talking about prayer. I'm talking about the fellowship with Christ that Calvin Miller describes "can only be experienced at a wilderness table for two." You and God. Alone. Away. Intimate.

We find ourselves having plenty of time to "do" but not enough time to "pray." Life is hurried, at least that's our excuse. In fact, I wonder if it would be accurate to say that most of our hurriedness with God is actually just a cover up for laziness? We say that we don't have time to meet with God and stare deep into the inside of who we are when, in fact, we don't want to make the effort. We know that coming face to face with God will require US to change. It will require a realignment of our priorities, and we really don't have time to re-prioritize.

Then, we catch ourselves asking Him why things didn't go as we planned. "God," we plead, "I told you to do this, and you didn't!" We wonder why our relationship with God feels stagnate, and assume that He is the One being distant. And so we don't pray. We don't have time. We are too busy doing {ministry}. We think about it from time to time, but we don't want to. We know we should spend time in prayer, but we feel as if God isn't listening anyway. Unfortunately, this type of arrogance keeps so many from experiencing the fullness of an everyday, passionate relationship with our Father.

Hebrews 10:19-22 describes the way made for us into the Holy of Holies.
"Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great Priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

These verses tell us that we can have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place, that is, intimacy with God, whenever we want to because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He made a way. He opened the curtain. In fact, He ripped it...which to me is such an awesome picture of how much He loves us and wants us to come to Him. A.W. Tozer, in his book The Pursuit of God, asks, "[So] Why do we consent to abide all our days just outside the Holy of Holies and never enter at all to look upon God?...We sense the call is for us, but we still fail to draw near. The years pass and we grow old and tired in the outer courts of the tabernacle. What hinders us?"

Too many times the answer to that question is self. We quit praying because we didn't get the answer from God we wanted. We feel as if God is distant because WE didn't get what WE wanted and thus, have stopped communicating with Him on an intimate level. We don't understand what God is doing, and we frustrate ourselves trying to figure it out on our own and give up. Days go by. Weeks. Months. Years.

Once we finally realize our stupidity and selfishness, the question then becomes, "how do I get that intimacy back?" It seems like work. The truth is, it is work. It's work because it insists that we deny our self and confess our selfishness before God. It's work because it insists that we change our agenda and make it His. But it's far worth it. In fact, what's the point of living a holy life if you aren't even communicating with the Holy One? Doing good must not be our passion. Being good must not be our passion. Being one with our Father must be our passion. As Calvin Miller notes, "We must practice prayer in order to develop a passion for prayer." But to lust for God is a glorious passion. It's what we were created for. In fact, we aren't experiencing the life God wants us to live if we aren't experiencing intimacy with Him on a daily basis. And if you're scared of having to stare deep inside yourself to get rid of the ugly self, just know that God's invasion back into your life replaces your guilt and self-incriminations with His glorious affirmation! Therefore, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence and find grace and mercy in our time of need. And if you're still feeling hurt that God didn't answer your prayers the way you wanted Him to before, be encouraged that God will give us the desire of our hearts as long as we crave Him, but that requires self-denial.

If you're struggling with your purpose in life or finding meaning in your life consider this statement. "This intimacy with Christ is a wonderful soul-to-soul life nurtured by the Savior in the very bosom of God - only there, where our souls merge, do we find the epicenter of meaning." (Calvin Miller) Isaiah 55:6 says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near." God never left you. We are the ones that seek our own way. He is near. He may be found. I pray that we will encounter Him today at a wilderness table for two, and approach the table with confidence that He is enthralled with our beauty (Ps. 45:11) because His blood has covered us.

"Pray for me that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministry to the poor." Mother Teresa

"No individual's prayer life will be greater than the quality of his regular time set aside to meet with God alone." Jack Taylor

Monday, May 24, 2010

6 Things to Catch You Up On!

I can't believe it's been almost exactly 1 month since I last posted! There's been so much going on! Let's see if I can quickly update:

1. We just opened our second Monkey Charms store in Brandon, MS! It's smaller than our Flowood store, but it's the same concept. The new store has much more of a boutique feel than the 1st store...they both definitely have their own personalities! So for the past few weeks, I have been busy helping get the store ready for business! It's been so much fun, but lots of hard work. We were spending so much time getting the store ready that I had no time for blogging! This past week, we opened the new store and I worked helping train new employees and making sure all the "kinks" were worked out. We will have our grand opening on June 1st! I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I'll be sure to post some soon!

2. Since we last chatted, my wonderful husband finished seminary! As he reminded me, he has been in school since he was 4 years old! He's now 26...that's a lot of school! The last few weeks were filled with papers, studying, and tests! I'm so glad it's finally over. We finally feel like we can live a normal married life without having schoolwork always hanging over our heads! Also, my sister-in-law graduated from college the same week! So proud of both of them!

3. New Orleans! - In celebration of Bryant being finished with seminary, we decided to take a last-minute trip to NOLA! We had so much fun! Here are some pics!

On the road...


Taking in a NOLA Zephers game...not sure really who they are, but it was fun!



At the aquarium...



At the zoo...Bryant pretending to be Gary Saurage...



We also took in some Mullattes, Cafe Du Monde, and shopping! It was so good to get away, and the best part was probably not having to come home to schoolwork!

4. My book is sitting with only half of a rough draft completed. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to write much of anything! I found out that I'm not going to get to go to a Christian book writer's conference that I was really hoping to get to go to, so that's kind of bummed me out. But I shall start back writing soon...

5. If you've read my blog, then you know about our favorite little boy, Zachary. Well, Thursday was Zach's 2nd birthday! I can't believe our little boy is 2 years old! (I'm sure his real mommy, Allison, can't believe it either!) Thursday night we were invited to his birthday party...a Bob the Builder party! His parents hosted the party complete with hard hats, cones, & caution tape! So cute!

Here's Bryant & Zach...



6. I guess the last thing I will blog about tonight (since it is 2 am!) is that I really have a feeling that God is getting ready to do something different in our life. I'm not sure what it is yet. Some recent situations haven't turned out the way we thought they would, leaving us kind of confused. Regardless, I know that our God is faithful & He hasn't forgotten about us. I'm excited to see what's right around the corner...praying that our hearts will be ready for whatever it is and that we will hear His voice clearly! I'll leave you with some words to a song we sing at church....they are my constant prayer right now...

Forever, You are my reason for living
Merciful, Savior, unending
Breathe on me
Forever, You are the God of my story
Write every line for Your glory!

Breathe on me

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flowers or Beans?

I've got three words. Canton. Flea. Market. If those words don't mean anything to you, then my guess is you're not from around here in Mississippi. The Canton Flea Market is an arts & crafts show that takes place in Canton, Mississippi twice a year. This year the event will take place on May 13th and October 14th. With over 1,000 exhibitors and as many as 50,000 shoppers per market, you can tell that it's something we "small town folk" really get into.
There's a few particular vendors that I know will be there every year, and I love to go see what's new! One particular exhibitor is a lady who makes pottery with Scripture. Her stuff is absolutely beautiful! My mom used to buy things from her at the market and store them for gifts throughout the year. When I got married, my mother gave me a piece of this pottery. It's a soap dispenser for the kitchen sink with a scripture from Psalm 24 about having cleans hands and a pure heart. Ha! Pretty clever huh? I love that piece and use it everyday! Shortly after we were married, my mother gave me another piece of this beautiful pottery. It was a short little flower pot, short enough to sit on a counter and she had planted some monkey grass inside of it. Because my green thumb was smashed before I was born, I managed to kill the plant within a matter of a couple of months. This landed this beautiful piece of pottery underneath the kitchen sink in a cabinet. (Yes, the dead monkey grass is still in it! I guess I keep thinking it will miraculously revive itself one of these days...) The point of this story is that while both of these pieces of pottery started out as the same lump of clay, they were molded by the same potter, and they both have amazing beauty one ended up on top of the cabinet on display for everyone to see when they come into my kitchen while the other ended up underneath the cabinet where no one can see it. Now, don't you think that if I asked both pieces of pottery where they would like to be displayed that they would both want to be sitting out on the counter so everyone could see them? I think so. But they both can't. The soap dispenser can because it's purpose is to hold soap by the sink. The flower pot, on the other hand, is holding dead monkey grass right now. It can't sit out on the counter right now. It's purpose was to teach me that if you don't water a plant, it will die! (As if I haven't already learned that lesson enough lately!)

Here's my point. We all want to be like the beautiful piece of pottery sitting by my sink. Why? Because it's sitting out for all to see it's beauty! We all have a desire to be noticed for our talents and abilities. But what happens when the purpose that God wants us to fulfill doesn't allow us to be seen or appreciated by others? Are we still willing to let God use us?

"Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?" Romans 9:21 MSG

Do we feel like we have the right to question where God wants us to serve Him? Or do we instead feel like God loves us less or that we are less important because He has called us to serve Him in a place where no one sees what we do and we get no human praise for it? Here's the verse from Romans 9 in it's context:

"Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, 'Why did you shape me like this?' Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn't that all right? Romans 9:20-23 (MSG)

My natural response to this verse is, "But God, I want to be the vase for holding beautiful flowers! I don't want to be the pot for cooking nasty beans. Can I please be the one especially designed to show Your glorious goodness instead of being the one to show Your angry displeasure?!"

I'm reminded of Job's response to all the bad things he had to experience.

But Job replied, "You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?" So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. Job 2:10(NLT)

Here's the thing. Both pieces of pottery are serving their purpose. The soap dispenser is serving it's purpose of providing me soap when I need to wash my hands while being conveniently located on my kitchen counter. The flower pot is serving it's purpose of teaching me the importance of taking care of my plants so they won't die.

God's purpose for us is perfect. He alone directs our paths if we will let Him. Instead of fighting back with Him and questioning what He's doing in our lives, we can submit to His authority and His plan for us. We can trust Him. Even though we may not be completely enjoying being under the counter for a season, God hasn't forgotten about us. In fact, it's all part of His plan. He won't leave us there forever. Just until His purposes are accomplished.

Later in Romans 9 it says, "I'll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I'll call the unloved and make them beloved. In the place where they yelled out, 'You're nobody!' they're calling you 'God's living children'."

You see, the flower pot won't stay under my counter for much longer. Very soon I am going to plant a beautiful new flower in it (hopefully a Gerber!) and set it out on the counter for everyone to see. It will be much more beautiful than it was before when it had the monkey grass. It will be a vibrant new color, with fresh new leaves, and this time I will know how to better take care of it...like remembering to give it water daily!
What is it you are questioning God about today? Is it about where He has you in this season of your life? If so, remember that He planned for this season of your life. He molded you into the person that you are to be where you are right now and to accomplish His purpose. Instead of wasting this time complaining that He has forgotten about you, learn whatever He wants you to learn right now. Do whatever He has already asked you to do. Don't waste anymore time feeling sorry for yourself that you aren't sitting on the counter on display for all to see, because God is working a much greater purpose in you than what you could plan for Yourself. Believe it and walk in His promises today.

Monday, April 26, 2010

God's Spirit vs. My Flesh

Here I am again, in a constant boxing match with my flesh. My flesh wants one thing, & it seems like God is wanting something else. There are sometimes when it's no struggle at all to want what God wants. Actually, that's how I feel most of the time. But then there are the situations, like this one, where it becomes an absolute struggle against my flesh and what I want.

Today in the ring: God's Spirit vs. My Flesh. Thankfully, God knew exactly what I needed to read to get my flesh down for the count. I wrote these verses down this morning from the L3 before I even knew I would need them. Now I really have to let these punches sink into my head and heart.

Right Hook: Romans 8:6 "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." Why do I want to fight for something (my flesh) that is only going to lead me to death spiritually? Instead, I have to set my mind on the Spirit because that's the only way to life and peace.

Left Hook: Romans 8:8 "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Well, it doesn't get more clear than that one. In my flesh, I am not pleasing to God. That reminds me of Hebrews 11:6 that my small group and I talked about yesterday. "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

Cross Punch: Romans 8:14 "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." When I am led by the Spirit, I am walking in my rightful role of being a son (daughter) of God. When I am walking in my flesh, I am not living as a son or daughter of God.

Uppercut: Romans 8:15 "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out 'Abba Father'!" I have been set free from the slavery of my flesh. I now have the ability to let go of my wants and desires, in order to receive what God has for me. He is our Abba Father, our "daddy."

Jab: Romans 8:24-25 "Who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." My sister posted a quote on Facebook yesterday that said, "Hope is believing God can, Faith is believing God will." My small girls and I talked yesterday about FAITH is when you are "Fully Acticipating It Totally Happening." I need to stop trying to believe in what I can see. Right now, what I see God doing in my life isn't making any sense to me. But I have to have faith in His promises. I have to hope for what I cannot see right now.

Half Hook: Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." For me, this morning, this verse meant so much. The Spirit can help me in my weakness if I will let Him. It's so true. I don't know what in the world to pray right now! But this verse shows how compassionate and full of love our God is towards us. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, but not just flippantly. He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. What love! He feels our pain and confusion. He knows how badly I am battling my flesh right now. He is praying for me.

Cross-Counter Punch: Romans 8:35,37-39 "Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, but in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

There is nothing that can happen in my life that can separate me from the love of God. His love for us is so strong and so deep. I can trust someone who loves me that much. I can trust Him to have complete control of my life. Even though I don't understand what He is doing right now, I can have FAITH in His promises because He loves me, He is praying for me, and He will accomplish His purposes for my life. When I set my mind on the Spirit instead of on what my flesh wants, it will lead to life and peace and it will be pleasing to my God.

Those are fighting words. But the only way to fight and win these kind of matches between the flesh and the Spirit is to take off the boxing gloves, lay them down, and surrender to God.

God, I am setting my mind on You today. I will walk in the Spirit. I will trust You. You are working out a plan for me right now that is greater than what I can see with my eyes or what I could imagine in my mind. I am Fully Anticipating It Totally Happening!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Uber-Abraham

Abraham...boy what a character. What faith! I'm thinking about Abraham today because of what I read in the L3 this morning. In Romans 4:18-22, talking about Abraham it says, "In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken...without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness."

This dude really makes me look bad. Especially when you take in account everything he went through...

The first we hear about Abraham in the Bible is in Genesis when it starts listing the geneology after the flood. Yeah, you know, those verses that you usually skip when you're trying to "read through the Bible in a year." Abraham was a descendent of Shem. You remember Shem, Hem, & the odd-ball, Japeth? Noah's sons? They had just survived a flood that wiped out the entire world. Then they were told to multiply and God scattered them across the the face of the whole earth because they couldn't stop arguing over whether or not they could build a tower tall enough to reach up to Heaven. Really? Hello, flood is over, you all have families now, it's time to get a J-O-B. Anyway, several hundred years later, a man named Terah had three sons, one of which he named Abraham. (They desperately needed a baby name book back then or at least to glance at the Forbes Top 10 Best Baby Names List for 500 B.C.) Anyway, Abraham married Sarai, and she was unable to have children.

Now there were those couple of times that Abraham lied about Sarai being his wife to keep himself out of trouble, but other than that, this man seemed to be almost perfect. Well, there was also that time when he slept with his maid at the request of his wife...so maybe he wasn't perfect. At least when it came to his faith in God it seemed that way.

In one incident, Abraham and Lot (his nephew who hung out with him because his own dad had died) had to find a new place to live. They had so much livestock that they couldn't live together in the same town (weird, I know. How many sheep and cows can one person have?) so they had to go separate ways. They came to a fork in the road so to speak, and one way was plush green pastures, the perfect place to establish a home. Abraham, being perfect as he was, decided to let Lot choose the way he wanted to go first. Lot, of course, decided to choose the pasture land, while Abraham was content to head in the opposite direction.

Then, there was a instance where Abraham was offered all kind of goods, but he wouldn't take them for fear that glory would be taken away from God. (Come on, dude, where's your selfishness? You're making me look bad!)

Then, of course, the time when God chose to reward Abraham for his faithfulness by telling him that his descendents would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. He also told Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, and that He would establish a covenant between Abraham and his descendents forever. This didn't make sense to them at the time since Sarai was not able to have children, so there was the time when Sarai tried to take matters into her own hands by having her husband have a child with another woman.(That always works well...) That didn't turn out so well with Sarai, but God took care of the situation and blessed that child and his mother.

Then the time finally came for them to have a child...when Abraham was 100 years old! (Talk about a news story!) But it doesn't stop there. When his son, Isaac was a little older God commanded Abraham to take Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering to God. Now this is the point where I would've said forget it! "God, I'm done with you. I've got what I need, no thanks." But not Mr. Perfect, of course. He believed that God had a plan that was bigger than his. He knew what God had promised him. He knew that God would be faithful then as He had been before. And as always, God provided and Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son. Abraham lived to be 175 years old!

All of these things and more are what landed Mr. Perfect in the Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11:17-19.
"By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, 'In Isaac your descendants will be called.' He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type."

This got me thinking...what will people write about me when I'm gone? "By faith, Heather, when she was tested _________..." or maybe "yet, with respect to the promise of God, Heather did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God..."

Ouch. Lately it's been more like "Lacking faith, Heather, when she was tested screamed, cried, and stomped her feet in frustration and decided to take matters into her own hands..." or "yet, with no respect whatsoever to the promises of God, Heather continued to waver in unbelief not allowing God to strengthen her faith, and trying to take some of the glory for herself..." Double Ouch. That's definitely not the kind of legacy I want to leave, and that's not at all the kind of example I want to set. The truth is though, that's what it looks like when I doubt the faithfulness of my God.

I was encouraged this past Sunday at church when our pastor preached from Revelation 20 about the Judgement Day that will come after Jesus returns. He talked about how we will be judged according to the deeds we have done, both good and bad. Both great and small. We will have to give an account for those actions. While I haven't really studied about the Judgement Day as much as I would like to, I do know this. I don't want to have to stand in front of my God at Judgement Day and have Him ask me why I couldn't just trust Him. I don't want Him to ever have to show me what could have been if I would've not taken matters into my own hands. I want instead for Him to be pleased with me, and for Him to get glory out of my life. And for this reminder today, I have Abraham to thank. He set an amazing example for us to follow.

In other news, I just went to get a load of clothes out of the washing machine, and I discovered that I washed our dustpan. How in the world these things happen to me, I'll never know! Apparently while I was picking up some more clothes to put into the washing machine, the dust pan fell in, I threw clothes in right on top and never saw it. The dustpan managed to escape the scene with only minimal water damage. Hmm...maybe I'll host a 5K to help me raise money for a new dustpan...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Aaahh!!

I just wanted everyone to understand this difficult battle that's going on in my life right now when it comes to taming my sweet tooth. I told you yesterday that I was trying to opt for fruit instead of the ice cream...well, last night I did have an orange, but I'm pretty sure it was canceled out by the piece of oreo pie that I ate. (My husband made it! I had to try a piece so I wouldn't hurt his feelings!) Anyway, then I dreamed last night that we ate the oreo pie and THEN we went to Baskin Robbins too! Unfortunately it was only a dream...Then today when I went to get the mail from the mailbox...this was in it!



I personally think it's a sign from God telling us that Baskin Robbins really is a healthy part of our diet. Bryant said it might be the devil tempting us, but I said nah! Either way, we're keeping the coupons! And next Wednesday, at all BRs it's 31 cent ice cream scoops! Don't ask me how I know this, I just do! I'm telling you, I'm in a bat-tle! Thanks for letting me vent.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Random Thoughts...

My husband and I attended a rehearsal dinner for a wedding this past Friday night, no joke, someone had taken every photo the bride and the groom had ever taken of themselves and put them to music. They had 6 videos!! I'm not even kidding! At aleast one of the picture videos had more than 1 song! We had to just sit and watch 5of the 6 videos in a row. This was after already arriving to the dinner later than scheduled, waiting another 30 minutes for the guests of honor to arrive, and waiting as they sent someone to get a computer that would actually play the video dvd. Fortunately for us, the 6th video didn't work at all...I think I might have had to shoot myself in the foot if it had. We started the night with the 5:30 rehearsal and got home after 11. My husband then had to arrive at the church the next day at 2:30 for a 6pm wedding! Needless to say, our weekend was pretty much shot. (Like I would have like to have been during those videos!) At least I got 2 new dresses and some new shoes out of the deal! : )

So thanks to my husband, I have developed a sweet tooth for more than candy. Before we were married, I rarely ever wanted to eat cakes, cookies, or ice cream. Now, thanks to him, I am finding it harder than ever to stay away! My latest addiction is this:

Baskin Robbins rainbow sherbert! It's the best and we have been giving the Indians a lot of money lately!! Not only that, but the crazy part is we have 2 Baskin Robbins opening up just down the road. Unfortunately, they aren't open yet so the closest one is about 15 minutes away from us! But that doesn't stop us...no sir. This is how much we are devoted to getting this stuff! It's bad. In fact, yesterday we were supposed to workout together after work. Instead, we found ourselves driving home last night with ice cream in hand asking ourselves..."how did this happen?" We are vowing to grab a piece of fruit tonight when the craving hits. I'm not sure how it will work though. I'm already thinking about making an oreo pie. Hmm...maybe he's not all the problem.

In other news, we bought some plants since it's spring and all and that's just what you do...haha. No, we really did want to add some color. The plants we planted last year died. I think we killed them before we even planted them. So this year, we get to start all over. So we found these really pretty flowers to hang on the front porch...

Pretty right? Except for when we came home the next day, they looked like this...

It's so sad. We try to have pretty flowers. It was a nice thought. Actually though, we watered them and they were revived! I think we got the super flowers! Yay! However, the ones by our front door, I guess we are just going to have to replace...who knew that you actually had to water them??

Yep! They are brown. Officially dead. Looks like we're headed back to the shrub section of Lowe's to spend more money...And the green thumb award goes to The Mays! We bought some flowers for our backyard yesterday. We walked around looking at so many different kinds of flowers and could almost hear them saying, "No, not me!" We found some and took them home though. So far, so good. Only been a day though. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Enough of my random thoughts for today. I could probably keep going except for Bryant and I are heading outside to get some exercise (so we can have our dessert later)...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Things I Learned About Myself

I'm so excited today! It's my favorite day of this week! Not just because the weather is beautiful either...it's because my sweet husband is coming home today! He has been in Destin at a staff retreat (grr). Not only did he leave me, but he left me to go to the beach & didn't take me with him! It's been such a long week...this is the first time we have been apart for that long (4 days) since we were married 17 months ago! In the midst of missing him this week, I actually learned a lot about myself!

First of all, I learned that I don't like staying at home by myself. I kind of already knew this heading into the week, but this week I eliminated any doubt! I promise we never have random, strange noises when he's home! Which leads me to the second thing I learned...

I don't like scary noises. Why does the ice maker in the fridge have to sound like something from a star wars movie?! And why do animals wait until after dark to start making their noises?! Which leads me to the third thing I learned...

I don't like being in the dark. In fact, I never was in the dark the whole time he was gone! Left the lights on 24/7! (Sorry babe, I'll go ahead and apologize in advance for the electricity bill...but it was worth it!) If you've ever had to stay by yourself when you're not used to it...you understand that one!

I don't enjoy having to keep myself company. I'm a pretty boring person when I'm by myself. I don't like not being around people. I really don't know what to do with myself when it's just me and...well, me. Of course there are many things that I COULD HAVE and SHOULD HAVE been doing...but nothing that I wanted to do at home by myself!

I don't enjoy killing bugs. Seriously, I returned home after dropping Bryant off to leave for his trip and I bet I wasn't home 15 minutes before I spotted one of those stupid long-legged bugs that fly! "Really?!" I thought. "There is no way I'm leaving that bug there for 4 days!" (That's what I usually do when I find a bug at home and Bryant's not there...put a cup over it and leave it for him to find when he comes home!) So I mustered up the courage, grabbed the broom, and beat the bug to death, literally. Then got the dust pan and swept it up and threw it outside. Seriously, you can't understand how huge this was for me! I was proud...but I'll be okay to surrender the bug killing responsibilities back to Bryant when he gets home.

I don't like having to make sure the doors are locked at night. Does this bother anyone else? Locking the doors...setting the alarm...those are boy jobs...right? I remembered to do it, but mainly out of fear that someone was going to come in my house and get me if I didn't! (Since we have that problem a lot...not.)

I don't enjoy taking out the trash. I remember during marriage counseling having the discussion about household responsibilities. I also remember Bryant volunteering to be the "take out the trash guy." What I don't remember is discussing what happens when he leaves to go on a trip...Who takes out the trash then? Certaintly not me! My husband loves the surprises that await him when he returns home!

It's no fun to cook for one. Meals for one are boring. It's seriously not worth my time to prepare a fabulous meal just for myself. So I have been eating my meals out, with company because you know I don't want to have to entertain myself...I already feel like I've gained 10 pounds!

When the husband's away, the wife will play! I treated myself to a pedicure on day 1. New make up on day 2. Sleeping late on day 3. And shopping on Day 4! I also had a fabulous sleepover with some pretty special girls and got very little sleep. Splendid! I'm pretty sure all these things helped take my mind off of the fact that Bryant wasn't here with me!

The most important thing I learned while he was away was how much I couldn't live without him! I can't imagine me having to kill bugs and take out the trash! No, seriously...he is so perfect for me. He is the one that God brought into my life, no doubt, to be with forever. There's something in me missing when he isn't here. I love him very much. Before I stop with the mushy...I have to tell you that my sweet husband left me notes and candy hidden all over the house for me to find everyday while he was gone! So sweet! I'm not sure what I did to deserve him! And I will be completely okay if he doesn't leave me again to go on any more trips...I'm not sure I can stand to learn much more about myself!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Elah Sh'maya V'Arah

Confused. That's the word that best describes me today. What in the world is going on in my life? It seems like craziness. There are so many unknowns. I also found myself today slipping back into seeking God for answers instead of just seeking Him. There are a lot of things right now that I'm trying to figure out. I'm thinking, "God, I don't see how you're going to do this." Right now, I want to figure it out for myself and when I try to do that, it just seems like there's no way. But I love that God never gives up on me. He is so patient with me. He always pursues me in getting me to trust Him! I love that about Him! The devil trys to tell me that God doesn't care about me and about my dreams and passions. Ha! If God didn't care about me, why would He keep revealing Himself to me? Here's what He showed me today about my situation. But first I've got to tell you HOW He showed me.

I am a fan of Twitter. Love it. I'm not sure why anyone else in the world would care what I am doing every hour of the day, but I guess it's the same reason I care what almost 100 people are doing every hour of the day. I'm nosy. One of the people I follow on Twitter is the Pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta, Andy Stanley. Yesterday he tweeted this: "word of the day: Maya" I read it and thought it was interesting, but didn't think much about it right then. So this is what happened. This morning while the devil was trying to tell me that there is no way in the world God can work all this out in a good way, God reminded me of that tweet. "word of the day: Maya" and told me to look it up. "Umm...okay, God. Sure. Whatever..."

So I googled it and found a lot of stuff about the Mayan people and the Hindus, and mysticism blah, blah, blah...

Me: "Okay, God. You want me to study the Mayan people?"
God: "No, keep looking."

Me: "Okay, there's an article here about how the Mayans predict that the world as we know it will end in December of 2012...is that it?
God: "Haha, no, definitely not. Keep looking."

Me: "Okay, is that word used in the Bible somewhere?"


So I googled Maya in the Bible and it gave me a link to download the Mayan Bible...they think they know when the world will end AND they have their own Bible?! Who are these people?! Definitely don't want to download that...
God: "Look at the bottom of the page..."

And there it was...under names of God...Elah Sh'maya V'Arah. (I think God absolutely gets a thrill out of sending me on wild goose chases...He does this ALL THE TIME! But I love it! It's fun! Especially when He reveals Himself so much through it!)


This is what the link said...Elah Sh'maya V'Arah: The God of Heaven and Earth. The Mighty One is the ruler over the entire universe. There is nothing that is not under His power.

So let's do a little recap...
The devil talking to me this morning: "There's no way God can do that, it doesn't make sense."
Me: "God's not going to do it (losing faith). There's no logical way. Maybe I should just give up."
God: "I am Elah Sh'maya V'Arah: The God of Heaven and Earth. The Mighty One is the ruler over the entire universe. There is nothing that is not under My power."

God, thank you for pursuing me. I am overwhelmed by Your love. Even when things don't make sense and my faith turns to doubt, You step in and reassure me that You are in control. There is nothing that is not under Your power. I can be confused, but thank you that Your ways are higher than our ways, and yes...I love the wild goose chases through twitter and google...You are so much fun!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Seek Him, not Answers

I'm blogging this morning from a local cafe that has become my favorite breakfast spot. Perhaps one of the neatest things about this place is that they let you drink coffee out of a mug...so fun! I just finished my granola parfait and reading through John 14, our L3 reading for today. Thankful today that I don't have to go to work and I have the opportunity to just sit and wait for God to speak to me, there's nothing like it!

John 14:21
"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me, and He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love Him and will disclose Myself to Him."

So...this is the thought that hit me after I read this verse. It hit me so hard I had to immediately write it down, and it's this: Don't just seek answers from God, seek Him! One way we do that is by following His commands.

There are a lot of unknowns right now in my life, and believe me I have been seeking a lot of answers from God lately! I have even found myself thinking that my efforts to keep God's commands are in vain because I haven't gotten the answers I was looking for. But am I keeping His commands to get something from Him? Am I trying to keep His commands to find out what I am supposed to do with my life, or simply because I love Him and desire to show Him love through my life? According to this verse, if I keep His commands He promises that He will disclose Himself to me. He doesn't promise that if I keep His commands and love Him that He will give me the answers I am looking for, but that He will disclose Himself to me! In other words, I will learn more about Him, about who He is. And you can't learn more about Him and not grow to love Him more!

But what about the answers I need? What about the questions I needed to have answers for yesterday? Trust me, I have lots of those too! But check this, if this verse is true and the Bible is true and God loves us as much as He does. Why do we think He isn't going to take care of His children?

Matthew 7:9-11
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"

God knows what we need, and He has promised to lead us if we are faithful to Him and obey His commands. He desires to give good gifts to His children, but that doesn't mean that He will do the things we ask. He knows what's best for us, and we can trust Him. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.

So...let's stop seeking answers from God, and let's just seek God. Let's obey His commands and let Him teach us more about Himself! In my life right now, that means not worrying about what to tell people when they ask me what I'm supposed to do with my life. If God wanted me to know right now, He would tell me. It's not my job to have an answer for other people, it's my responsibility and my joy to serve my God, wait for Him, and seek Him while He may be found.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sunday's Coming!

Today is the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday...it's Saturday. It was spent taking care of last minute preparations for Easter and a family picnic at the park. But not lost in all the activity is remembering the way those that were close to Jesus at the time of His death must've felt. My father-in-law rode in a biking event today called "Silent Ride for Jesus." Bicyclists rode in complete silence in rememberence of the silence and hopelessness that existed after Jesus' death. Pretty cool way to remember Jesus on this Saturday.

I love the fact that on that Good Friday and Saturday...they didn't know Sunday was coming! They didn't know that all hope wasn't lost! They didn't know the hope that was to come! It was Friday...but Sunday was coming!

That's what I love about Easter! It means that forever and ever there is hope for us. We are never without hope. Even when we feel like God isn't hearing our prayers, even when we don't know what to do...we have hope! Sunday is always coming! It will never stay Friday forever...Sunday is coming!

Thank You Jesus for giving us hope in You! Thank You that You endured Friday and Saturday for us, but thank You most of all for Sunday! I'm so excited to celebrate Your ressurection tomorrow! God, please help many people understand Your love for the first time tomorrow!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ten-a-bra-what?

It's nearing the end of holy week. I always feel like I haven't done enough to prepare myself to really remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Our church put out a booklet for this week, with Scriptures to read everyday. We began the week remembering that we are God's special and unique creation. He created us in His image. Then we moved on to the fact that God is so big and huge, He created the universe! Yet, He chose to make us, delight in us, and send Jesus for us. We've been focusing on the realization that Jesus gave Himself up for us...willingly. Wow, amazing.

Tonight, we will be having a Tenebrae service at Pinelake. Ten-a-bra-what? You might be asking...yea, that's what I thought when I first heard of it this time last year. The word Tenebrae is Latin for "shadows" or "darkness." It is also called a service of shadows for this reason. It sounds kind of morbid traditional, I know. The service is a gradual extinguishing of different candles after a portion of Scripture is read. At Pinelake, the verses will be on the screen after we take communion together, so the verses are read in silence. At the end of the 45 minute service, everyone leaves in silence. This is so different than any other thing we do at Pinelake, but I think it's so good to make yourself quiet down and meditate on these verses as gradually the light from the candles go out, leaving complete darkness and silence.

This is what everyone that was close to Jesus must've felt at that moment. Hope seemed to be extinguished. Gone. Forever. Everything they had built their life upon, the person they had given up their old life to follow...dead. Our Savior...hanging on a cross, unrecognizable. Will my heart ever really, truly be able to feel that agony of losing all hope? I don't know that it will because I have grown up knowing the wonder of the cross. I wear one around my neck, on my fingers, on my clothes...but how often do I stop to make myself feel what these followers of Jesus must've felt?

That's why I'm excited about these last few days of holy week leading up to Easter! We are having a prayer experience at our church all day tomorrow also, if you're in the area you should try to come! It's open to everyone! It's a video prayer experience that will help you try to understand the magnitude of what our Savior did for us on the cross. It's from 6 until 7 tomorrow, a half-hour experience starting at the top of each hour. I will try to post some thoughts about it after I attend tomorrow. I want to leave you with these lyrics from a song that we sang this past Sunday at church that I cannot get out of my head...and I don't want to! The song is by Vicky Beeching called "The Wonder of the Cross."

May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.
May I see it like the first time
Standing as a sinner lost,
Undone by mercy and left speechless,
Watching wide eyed at the cost.

May I never lose the wonder,
The wonder of the cross.

God, help us see it like the first time...before we got used to it! Help us remember what it was like to understand for the first time as a sinner lost...undone by mercy...completely speechless! Teach us during these next few days Father!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

L3 - Who Messed Up?!

I could completely relate to something I read this morning in John 9. It's the story of Jesus healing the man born blind.

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in Him." John 9:1-3

Aaah! Don't you love that! How many times do we think it's something we have done that is causing things to not go the way we want them to in our life? I know, even recently, as things happen or don't happen the way I think they should, I catch myself asking, "God, what's wrong? Am I not doing something right? Is there sin in my life I am overlooking and so you aren't favoring me right now?" I've also caught myself pridefully thinking, "I'm trying to live a holy life, do the right things, and & please you God. So why am I being punished for doing the right thing?!" Amazing that my pride gets the best of me and allows me to question God that way. But we all do it. I love that Jesus assured His disciples that no one sinned to make this guy have to go through being born blind. The man had not done anything wrong to bring this on himself, neither had his parents. It was God's plan...why? "So that the works of God might be displayed in Him." God may not choose to glorify Himself through me and in me in the way I think He should. He's definitely not right now in my life. I have my own ideas about how He could use me to be a light for Him, but He apparently has other plans right now. This verse was so encouraging today. God reminded me, it's nothing you're doing and nothing you did. It's so that the works of God might be displayed through you! That's ultimately all my heart desires, and so I can rest and stop trying to figure things out on my own. I can stop questioning God. I can just believe that He is working things out to best display the works of God through me and I can just keep following His voice! I hope this encourages you today like it did me! Stop questioning, keep your faith. (FAITH - Fully Anticipating It Totally Happening!)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some Exciting News!

Hello! Wow, it's been a week! Started the week with a very bad cold that I so generously shared with my husband. At least the first half of the week, we were both pitiful. Runny noses, coughing, no energy...yuck! We finally managed to rise above it though in time for a weekend filled with grandparents, a 5K race (I attended, didn't run), a wedding shower, and of course NCAA basketball. Some new and exciting things are happening. I'm still not sure what God is up to, but I feel like I am finally starting to see glimpses of what He might be doing. It's so hard to wait on His timing for stuff, but I'm so glad that I feel like the time is getting closer for Him to reveal more of His plan to us!

So...the exciting news I wanted to share today is that I have started working on my first book! (That sounds weird...) It's still in beginning stages, but I'm super excited! It's always been a dream of mine, and God just recently gave me direction on it. Hopefully I will be able to share more with you soon, but if I'm blogging less...you know why! I'll try to post more details soon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

CG Tour in Memphis!

I've been out of "blogger" world for a few days. Most of the time because I was out of town and the last few days because I have been very sick. I told you that you would be hearing more about our amazing middle schoolers very soon..., well here ya go! My husband and I just spent 5 days in Memphis with about 200 6th, 7th, & 8th graders on a mission trip to Memphis, TN. 200 middle schoolers + 5 buses + 11 concerts in 5 days = craziness! Our middle school choir is like nothing you've ever seen. These are students who give up their spring break and so many hours beforehand preparing to go present a concert of testimony, dance, and singing to anyone who will listen! This year we had the amazing opportunity to go into multiple public schools and "sneak" in the Gospel. Here are some pics!



Green bus - we're straight up G! The green bus life is the life for me! We called our bus the green shamrocks! Since our trip contained St. Patrick's Day, we decided this would be a good name for us. History tells us that St. Patrick went into Ireland to spread the Gospel and to drive out the darkness. He used the shamrock to help illustrate the 3 parts of the trinity. We were headed to Memphis to spread the Gospel and to drive out darkness just like St. Patrick!


Me and some of my green gurlies...we be lookin so fly! Stoppin to eat up some McDs on the way up!


Yep! They're 8th graders...I guess you never grow too old for a Happy Meal!


Our first ministry site...a block party with Lifelink church. Right in the middle of inner-city Memphis, we held a block party. We did a concert and fed everyone in the freezing cold!


Setting up for the block party at Lifelink! The graffiti made for an awesome backdrop!


Day 2 - Unloading at Church without Doors...right across from the FedEx Forum! It's a church for the homeless that meets every Sunday. We got to lead their service and then feed them and hang out. It meets at a big outdoor park and they set up orange buckets upside down with wooden planks to make pews. An incredible eye-opener for our students.

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This is how they started the service at church without doors! So fun!


Day 3 - Hamilton High School...our first school. Right in the center of inner-city Memphis...it's one of top 10 most dangerous high schools in America. God opened up the door for us to tell them how God could write a new story for their life at an assembly for their 9th grade class.


Me & Bryant...two of the 60ish chaps...do we look tired?!


Rachel, Ramsey, & Sarah...don't they look cute in their blue tees?!!


Mr. Boyd didn't last too long...straight up in the middle of the school gym during tear down!


Some of the schools we went to...






Youth Vision is a community center for neighborhood kids to have a place to go to stay out of trouble. This place is so much fun and Coach Marion is the bomb!


The concert...


Jason praying over the students at Youth Vision after the concert.


My 3 little "homies" MacKenzie, Ashley, & Cori


Prayer walking through downtown Memphis...


Last year, on this same prayer walk we prayed that God would give this building to the Memphis Union Mission to use for ministry. The Memphis Union Mission was able to purchase this building for $10 and it will allow them to expand their current ministry to the homeless, teaching them about the love of Jesus.


Me & Bryant again...end of the last day, we be lookin like it!


At the end of the prayer walk with some new friends! Ellie & Gabby! Special girls!

It was a great trip! We saw so many people lay down their old stories and let God write their new story! They will be leading worship in the morning at Pinelake during all three services and then a homecoming concert tomorrow night at 6:30 at Pinelake. Come if you can!