Friday, December 26, 2008

A teachable Spirit...

It is never too late to learn new things. I had to work Christmas night. I usually work 12 hour shifts... but on holidays we only work 8 hours. So... I didn't have to be a work until 11pm. I had enjoyed my day, had my 4 hour nap, and was ready to leave for work around 10pm. I remembered that earlier in the day my son asked if he could use my car to go pick up his girlfriend. Of course, this is because he needed to conserve his gas. I get my gas for free... so using mine in no big deal. NOT! I told him that I wasn't sure how much gas I actually had... so please make sure that I had enough left to get to work and back that night, because I expected that gas stations would probably be closed on Christmas day.

Right as I was getting ready to walk out the door, my son called on the phone. He told me that he knew that he left me on empty... with the gas light on.... and if I met him at the gas station he would be glad to pump my gas for me since it was so cold outside. I thought... well, isn't that nice of you since you were suppose to do that earlier in the day. Anyway.... I asked him if there were any gas stations opened?? After all... it is Christmas day!! To this question he replied,

"it won't matter, as long as you use a card you can get gas anyway."

Now... I am an adult. I have been driving for a lot of years!! And I knew how absurd this was. Of course you cannot get gas from a gas station that is closed!! I don't know where he would get such a crazy idea!! I would be lying to you if I told you that I was kind-hearted about all of this. Here it is... 10pm.... I have to be at work in one hour.... my gas light is on... I have a 60 mile round trip to make.... it is Christmas day... and the gas stations are closed. Now what??? Truth be known... I was pretty ticked.

He was so insistant. Within minutes he was home. He kept insisting that I follow him to the closest gas station. I muttered ugly things all the way to the car. I couldn't wait to prove him wrong. I wasn't sure how he was going to be able to fix this... but it was his fault... and it would have to be his problem to solve.

There is a little gas station less than one mile from my house. As I followed him down the road... he pulled in to this CLOSED gas station. So... I followed him in and pulled up to the pump... at this CLOSED gas station. He proceeds to get out and use his gas card in the pump.... AND to my absolute amazement.... He pumped me $5 worth of gas. At this CLOSED gas station!! I humbly rolled down my window and told him how sorry I was.... I was wrong. He was right. You can get gas from a CLOSED gas station. Who in the world would have thought that??? My next question was.... Who in the world figured that out??? What crazy person pulled into a closed gas station and tried to get gas???

Totally amazed!! Totally wrong!! Totally humble!! Totally able to make it to work with gas from a closed gas station.

Now... if you already knew this... I don't even know what to say. Maybe it made headlines one day, but I didn't get the paper. Maybe it was on the 6 O'clock news while I was watching something else. But to my little mind... this seemed to be something that was impossible.

I thought about the need to have a teachable spirit.

Proverbs 1:5 says,

"let the wise listen and add to their learning"

Now... I will be the first to bow out of the "wise" catagory... but I need to be willing to add to my learning. Even when it comes to learning something as absurd as getting gas from a closed gas station. Can you tell that this has totally turned my thinking upside-down???

God desires for us to have a teachable spirit. Learning through HIS teacher... whether it be my 18 year old son, my pastor, my friend, my enemy, a complete stranger, and well.... He can even speak to me through a donkey if need be. Am I open to what God desires to teach me?? Whether it is something I want to hear or not?? Or have I stopped desiring to be taught???

I thought about the times in scripture that Jesus desired to teach someone something... but they rejected it. Like the rich man in Matthew 19. He came to Jesus and asked what good thing he must do to get eternal life. He was looking for the easy answer. What he got was something that he didn't want to hear. Jesus first told him to obey the commandments. What a funny question came next.... He asked, "which ones?" He assured Jesus that he had kept all of these. (which I find hillarious, had he really???)

Then Jesus presses him just a little more... he told him,

"if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Scripture tells us that when the rich young man heard this, he went away sad. This is not what he wanted to hear. He didn't want to get it. He didn't want it to be about anything more than rules... certainly not about giving up something that meant a ton to him. Following Jesus. Not about following the rules.... but giving Him your heart. What you love most. Leaving all for Him. Allowing Him to teach you what is really important. To Him. Teachable.

Oh... I pray that I never stop being teachable. No matter what teacher He sends my way. No matter what THE teacher sends my way. I want to remain teachable. Forever learning more about Him.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Take all of your medicine

Argghhh!! I do not like being sick. It all started with a little cough. It then progressed to a drainage issue... then into something that was so much like strep throat that it even had the doctors fooled. My youngest had it first. She missed 5 days of school. Then my son got it. Then my husband got it... and being the mom that never gets sick.... THEN I got it!! What??? I never get sick. But last Thursday, when I got up... not only could I not swallow at all... I even went to the doctor. That is something that hardly ever happens as well.

I felt so bad that I called my poor 71 year old mom to take me to the doctor. On the way home we stopped and got my prescriptions filled. So... I started on my antibiotics last Thursday. I took them all day Thursday and all day Friday. But... Saturday I felt like a new woman... so I stopped taking them. (what a great patient I am, right??) Well... I have you know that on Monday morning when I woke up... I could barely swallow again. You would think that as a mother... and a healthcare worker... that I would know that I needed to take all of my medicine!! But it all of my mighty wisdom, I decided that I had taken enough to make me better. Needless to say... I am taking my antibiotics again!!

As I have thought back over this... several things and stories have come to mind.

How sin starts out. Like my little cough... that progressed until it was a full-fledged nasty sickness. Sin may seem small... like a little lie on the phone.... but if not kept in check, it will progress until it grows into something much bigger. My preacher has said.... "sin takes you farther than you want to go... and keeps you longer than you want to stay". How true that is. It can be such a subtle thing to begin with... but before you know it.... you have gone farther than you thought you would... and it is much harder to get away. We must keep our lives in check so that we will not fall into the trap of sin.

Like just enough antibiotics to start my healing process.... just enough "Jesus" to keep you "safe" in your mind. So many people are just satisfied with going to church on Sunday morning. No quiet time. No seeking more. No longing to be like Him. It is really not what the Father prescribed. He desires for us to be changed into the likeness of His Son. I don't think that church once a week is enough to do that. We need to "take" all of the medicine that the Father can give us. His Word, His Presence, His Healing, His Peace, His Provisions... and He has so much more to give. He gives it to us. It is there for us... if we seek Him. Just like my medicine in the cabinet... as long as I just let it sit there... it will do me no good. I have to go take it. We have to seek Him... pursue Him. We will find our healing.

Then I thought about this scripture in Matthew 12:43-45

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, "I will return to the house I left", When it arrives, it find the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."

This was something that struck me like a ton of bricks the first time I read it. Just like our lives. We can "remove" all of the things that were "bad" in our lives... the old sinful nature. But if we don't fill up that empty spot with something "godly" then the old sinful nature can come back with several of his evil buddies and take up residence again. Worse off than we started. I had removed the "bad" feelings of my sickness. But... I left an empty hole without resistance to the "bug" again.... so it was just about to move back in. I would have probably been worse off than when it all started. Thankfully I still had the remainder of my antibiotics in the cabinet.

So... hopefully I am on the mend AGAIN. I wouldn't have to say "again" if I had just done what the doctor had prescribed. This is what our Father has prescribed....

Jeremiah 29:12-14

"... " then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord."

Oh... I pray that I will do just that. Seek Him with all of my heart. He promises to be found.

Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!! May God bless each and every one of you.
I love you!!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good Friends....

There is nothing like a good friend. You know the kind... the ones that know way too much about you and they love you anyway. The are there when you need them. They supply your needs... even when your pride is about to explode all over the two of you. And if that one applies to you... you know who you are and you know that I love you. We all need friends. But sometimes friends are hard to find. But there is one friend that longs to spend time with you. Of course... that is Jesus.

The Bible tells us that the Lord spoke to Moses, face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. (Exodus 33 :11) That is awesome. There are times when I know that God is speaking to me... it is never audible, but my spirit hears it just the same. Sometimes it is to comfort me... sometimes it is to correct me... sometimes it is to remind me of truth. No matter what it is... even when it is correction... I count it as a blessing. God speaking to me. Like a man speaks to a friend.

Jesus tells us in John 15:13,
"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Of course He is speaking of himself. He follows up that statement with one that tells us exactly how to be considered his friend,

"You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last."

Now that is a great friend. First He loved us and chose us, then He lay down His life for us, then He makes known to us everything that His Father made known to Him. Wow! That is love.

I have some friends too... I love them. I am so thankful for them. They are true gifts to me from the Father... but I haven't lay down my life for them. But instead... I will give them a bloggy award.

I received my "Friend" award from Amanda at One Sacrifice For All Time. Thanks so much... I count it an honor to be called your friend.

I would like to award it to some of my friends here in bloggy land as well.....
Regina at Grinders Switch
Beverly at Moma's Blog Log
Pamela at The Pinkshoe Lady
Lelia at Write From The Heart
Tracy at My Cup Runneth Over
Amy at In My Life
Teri at A View From the Mountaintop
Paula at His Ways are Not our Ways

You ladies (and many more) mean the world to me. I love to hop over and see what the Lord is teaching you at the moment.
The requirements for this awards are:
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find, and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

I love you all,

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Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Meme...

Well... after that last post... it is time for a little fun. But, before we go on to the fun... I just have to tell you that God and I have hashed out that previous issue... my limp is much, much better, and the peace in my heart is unbelievable. God is so good. One of the things that I love the most about Him is that although He is ABLE to change my situation, He chooses to change me instead. I just love Him. There is no evidence like being changed on the inside.

My wonderful friend Tracy at My Cup Runneth Over tagged me for a Christmas Meme... so here goes:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Oh... without a doubt, Hot Chocolate

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Just sitting out under the tree

3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? I finally won the fight.... white lights only

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No....

5.When do you put your decorations up? I would love to put them up on Thanksgiving night... but I can't always talk the rest of the family into it. So far this year... the tree is still in the attic.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My mother-in-laws dressing

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? When I was really small... we would all gather at my great aunts HUGE house for Christmas dinner. We opened gifts and had so much fun.

8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What? I am not sure I know what you are talking about....

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? My family meets at my brothers house to have Christmas with my side of the family. We spend Christmas day with my in-laws.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Lots of different kinds of ornaments, some Santas, mostly Christian type ornaments, some sentimental...

11. Snow. Love it or dread it? I hate to admit that I hate it. Too cold. Too messy. All those wet clothes everywhere. And, I work in a hospital... we have to go to work no matter what, and stay however long. I do think it is beautiful when it is falling....

12. Can you ice skate? No, I am a chicken. Too scared to even try.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I can't remember what I got last year... much less what I got long ago.

14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Love the excitement of my children. Time with family. Okay... and getting gifts is pretty fun too.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My aunts pumpkin roll

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? I love to bake with the girls. I love putting up the decorations...

17. What tops your Christmas tree? nothing...

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? well... I love to give gifts to people I love... not out of obligation, but out of love. But... come on, I love to receive as well.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Mary did you know??

20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? I like the taste... but don't eat them very often.

21. What do you want for Christmas? Joy... it is going to be quite slim this year... I just want to see my children enjoy whatever they get. My fear for this year is that I may just cry all day because we aren't able to get them what they really want.

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? No... not other than with family

23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's? Usually a Christmas sweater and jeans

24. Do you own a Santa hat. No...

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with my in-laws.

Now I get to tag 5 people:

I cannot begin to choose 5 people... I would love to hear eveyone's answers to these. Go ahead, do it... it is fun. Just be sure to send me a comment that you are participating so that I can come by and check out your answers.

Here are the rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Fill out the questions.
3. Tag 5-7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag!

Have Fun!!

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the ground... with God

Well... for anyone that needs for me to be "all good"... this post isn't for you. Anyone that might have had a day when your emotions were running wild and you felt like you were in a wrestling match with God... this might sound familiar to you.

Same old stuff.... I have driven the "financial issues" into the ground here. But... somehow they haven't gone away. Obviously there is so much more that God desires for me to know about Him... we are still going to fight this same old fight. And... what a fight there has been this morning. I wish I had known in time to charge admission. That might have fixed some of my problems.

Well... we all know what time of year it is. Anyone that gets paid every two weeks on the same day that I do... knows that we are just one payday away from Christmas. There have been no extra funds to start our Christmas shopping for the children... you know... the shopping that starts with... well.... Santa. Well... I had been counting on the fact that one of my co-workers needs off this coming Saturday... and if I worked for her, I would get 12 hours overtime. Well... I received an email this morning that they aren't going to allow me to work because they are trying to prevent overtime.

Immediately the tear and sobs began. And... the fight started. Without much warning..... I tried to go back to my quiet time... I picked up my prayer journal and wrote about 5 words... before I threw it. I threw my pen down... and said to the heavens, "I am MAD at you!!" And then more sobs came. Throughout the next two hours... I felt like I was in a wrestling match. Some of our conversations went like this....

Me: "now what???... I trusted you to make it okay for me to work this coming weekend so that I could provide Christmas for my children!!"

Him: "Oh, I thought that you trusted ME as your provider?"

Me: "well, what if you don't provide what I want you to provide??"

Him: "Bow down child, I know what I am doing."

Me: "Yeah... Well, I don't think I like what you are doing!!"

Him: "Oh... I thought this was about ME liking what you are doing...."

Me: "Okay... but I AM NOT HAPPY about this!!!"

Him: "Okay... I am not concerned with your happiness, remember.... it is you holiness"

Me: "I've been handling the rest of this stuff okay... but now you are messing with my children!!"

Him: "Did you forget that you are MY child????"

Me: "what about other people???... they pray and get what they want.. I pray.... I tithe... I haven't stopped even through all of this.... and it doesn't seem to be paying off for me the way I want it to!"

Him: "submit... and it will pay off the way I want it to."

Me: "what about Brad.... I don't see him trying to do anything to fix this....."

Him: "you and I can't work on him.... just on you!" "I know what I am doing!"

Me: "yeah... well I don't like it!"

Him: "yeah, I know... you told me that already" "I love you"

I feel like I will be doing more than the Jacob-limp today. I may have to crawl wherever I go. Don't think for one minute that I believe this fight is over. I still have way too much flesh left. But I am trying.

Through this whole process that God and I have been going through... He has brought me to a place of "well... what if?" meaning.... " what if He doesn't make things better?", "what if He doesn't change the way things are?", "what if you just have to go through this WITH Him?"... I have come to the place that I know that I will serve Him and love Him no matter what happens. It is a choice. I have read throughout His Word how His plan that looks like a disaster is really a divine plan of restoration. It has been a place that was difficult to come to ... but now that I am there, it is a great place to be. Or at least I thought so, before this morning. I know God well enough to know that if He couldn't use this to grow me... and to bring me closer to Him... we wouldn't have come here. So... I think that I will just stand up and throw in the white towel. That is the sign of surrender, right??

I know that God is for me.

I know that God loves me.

I know that God wants to grow me.

I know that God has my best interest at heart.

I know that God loves my family more than I do.

I know that God could rain down the lottery on us... even though we haven't ever bought a ticket.

I know that God doesn't work the way the world does.

I know that God sees the end... while I am sitting in the middle.

I know that God is faithful.

I know that God is Good.

I know that God has a plan.

I know that God is so totally about His plan.

I know that God doesn't have to let me in on that plan.

I know that God can scoop up my little battered and bruised body and put it up on His big lap and love me back into peace.

I know that the sooner I just surrender and allow God to be God... the sooner the wrestling match will end.

God has already shown me so much love. He has sent provisions through others. He wants to be my provider... It may cause another fight between me and my pride.... but it will not be a fight between my and my God. My most recent Bible study lesson was on submission and humility. Timely huh??

Thanks so much for allowing me to work through this with all of you. Thank you so much for sticking around to the end... to despite the blood that was flying. Thankfully... the bloodshed that happened over 2000 years ago was enough to cover this too. And... we will celebrate His glorious birth... with or without a lot of gifts from Santa. God is so good. Were it not for His unfailing love and mercy... I would have already been consumed. He longs for His children to surrender. He longs for His children to just say, "okay, whatever you want Lord." And, I don't think that He requires that I like it. And I am glad. He requires my submission and my obedience.

Please do not think that this is a plea for help... I just want to share what God is doing in my life. He is Good!! I think that there are a lot of people that sit out there and think that all should be "great" if you are God's child. That if they are struggling... then there is something wrong. Well... I do not believe that scripture teaches that. I believe that life is not about the "talk" but about the "walk". I just wanted to share how God and I are walking this morning... I am limping... but we are still walking.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Raw Emotion

There is nothing like a good Psalm to adjust your attitude. Tonight I had to drive my daughter to her second counseling session. Against her will. She didn't want to go. As a matter-of-fact.. she said that if I made her go that she would just sit there and say nothing. The drive up there was anything BUT enjoyable. She screamed... I screamed... she cried... I tried not to cry. I know that this is the right thing to do, but making her go through the pain of it is not quite so easy. It is painful for me too.

I told the counselor when we arrived that she didn't want to come... and then I went to the bathroom to get on my face before the Lord and beg for his intervention. After I poured out my heart to Him... I headed for the lobby to wait. Something just kept telling me to go to Psalm 103. Now... lest you think that it just popped into my head out of nowhere... it didn't. I have spent some time in the past memorizing this Psalm. I know most of it by heart. As I read through it over and over... these lines kept jumping off the page to me...

"who redeems your life from the pit; and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

I started really praying those verses for my daughter.... and God impressed upon my heart not to stop with just those two verses... personalize the whole thing!! So this is how my Psalm 103 went...

"Praise the Lord O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His Holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
I will not forget all of your benefits-

You can and will forgive all of our sins;
You heal all of our sin sick diseases,

You can redeem any life from the pit-
You are able to then crown them with love and compassion,

Father, you will satisfy all our desires with your good things- if we will let you;
You can renew our youth like that of the eagle's,

Lord, you work ALL for your righteousness;
and you bring justice for the hurt and oppressed,

You will make your ways known to those that love and seek you;
You show your wonderful deeds to your people too,

Father, you are compassionate and gracious to us;
You are slow to anger- I want to be like you,
You are abounding in love- fill my heart with it too,

You are not our accuser;
when you are angry you do not harbor it long,

Thankfully, you do not treat me as my sins deserve;
You have not repaid me according to my iniquities,

For as high as your heavens are above the earth that you created;
so great is your love for me and Jenna,

As far as the east is from the west;
so far you will remove our sins from your mind- if only we will ask you to.

As a Father should show compassion to his earthly children;
Your compassion for those that love and seek you is even greater,

You know how feeble we are... how we are formed;
You know that we came from the dust,

Our days are like the grass;
it can flourish like a flower in the field one day and be gone the next,

From everlasting to everlasting is your love is FOR me and FOR Jenna,
if only she will receive it,

You will be my righteousness, and it is for my children as well;
Please help me to keep my covenant to you and obey your precepts,

Lord, your throne is established in heaven;
and you rule in your kingdom over all,

Praise the Lord you angels;
you might ones that He created to do his bidding,

Praise the Lord all of you heavenly host;
you are His servants and you do His will,

Praise the Lord all of His works... all that He has made;
and please allow me to join in...

Praise you Lord, Praise you Lord!!... with all that I have and all that I am." Amen

Well... after that I was emotionally spent. I then started to work on my Bible study lesson. Of course it is a Beth Moore study... Living Beyond Yourself. She told a story of her daughter needing her help in the bathtub one night... her daughter said,

"last week I found a small knot in the back of my hair, and I tried to get it out with the brush. It hurt so much that I quit. Every day it's gotten bigger and bigger and now look!!! In the back, nearly all of her very thick, long hair was in a huge knot. The knot was so big and tight I could not imagine any other solution but scissors; yet I would have had to cut her hair to the scalp. I could not believe the mess. I sat down beside her, asking God for patience, and began to brush... one hair at a time! I tried to hold her hair as tight as I could so that she would not feel it pull, but finally the knot was too close for me to fit my hand between it and her head. The tears streamed down her cheeks. I asked, "Do you want me to stop?" "No, mommy. If you do I'll never get it out. Keep brushing." It took us many minutes to get through those tangles, and those minutes seemed like hours. Totally submitted to untangling the mess she was in, she rested her head in my lap and endured the pain. Her tears were not those of resistance. They were tears of submission: knowing that the end was worth the means."

Well.... thank you Father. I will endure this pain every week if need be. I so want you to untangle this mess that has grown into such a huge knot of rebellion, anger, hate, and hurt. I know that it is really her hair that is being brushed... but somehow my hair is tangled up in there too. My head can feel the pain and the pull too. But... it is my prayer that afterwards this painful hair brushing will leave us both with beautiful hair that glorifies my Father.

Also... Happy Thanksgiving!! Here are just a few of the things that I am thankful for:

The ladies that come to Bible study on Tuesdays

God allowing me to watch each of them grow in their relationship with Him

God's grace and mercy

My salvation

My family

My job

Chocolate anything... Especially milk

Skittles (and God knows which colors)

My heating pad that keeps me warm in the bed and on the couch

My church... all of it... the preacher and the choir... and everything in between

The desires that God puts into my heart to do His will... Even when it is not easy

The quiet in my house in the mornings before everyone else gets up

My little car that gets great gas mileage... And the low gas prices right now

Great Christian music... Turned up really load

Starbucks... Especially Pumpkin Spice Lattas

My mother-in-laws turkey and dressing

Eight hour lunches

Blueberry pop-tarts

The grocery game and coupons

A good nap

What about you? Have you made out a thankful list recently??

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Judge or Jury?? Or Both??

This week I have been on jury duty. This is actually the first time that I have ever had the "privilege" to be on jury duty. And... I used the word "privilege" very loosely. The only up-close and personal experience that I have ever had with jury duty was when my husband served on a murder case. Yuck!! It didn't leave a very pleasant memory in my head. A young boy with a mental illness had left his home... a few states away... without his medication... and came to our area and killed both of his grandparents and their neighbors. My husband didn't sleep for about a month.... although the trial only lasted about a week. My husband and some of the other jurors felt mislead by the explanation of verdicts that they had to choose from... so about a month or two later... my husband had to go to court for the defense to try to get the young boy another trial.... but that didn't happen. I just remember that my husband had such a hard time with all of this. So... you can see the reason for my excitement when it was my turn to have jury duty.

I arrived Monday morning at the courthouse with about 100 other lucky people. When we were divided up into 3 groups.... of course, I was in the group that had to stay all day. We went up to the courtroom where thr trial was to begin. The defense attorney and the defendant were seated on one side of the courtroom... and our local prosecutor was seated on the other side. They randomly chose names from the jury pool to come up before the attorneys for them to make their choice of the "perfect" jury for the case. About 8 names into it.... they called my name. I went up... with my arms full... my jacket, my purse, and my bag with my "stuff" in it... you know... my current book for Lelia's study, the next book for Lelia's study, two different fiction books, my Beth Moore bible study workbook, my Bible, my hairspray, my comb, my mints, my gum, my chapstick... and probably many other things that I have forgotten about. There I stood.... in front of the prosecutor's table.... while he viewed several different pieces of paper in front of him. He announced... "present the juror". That meant that he would accept me... it was now up to the defense attorney. Before the sweet little lady in front of the courtroom could ask his opinion.... he said, "excuse this juror!!". That meant that he rejected me. WHAT??? Now... I didn't even want to be on this jury.... but what do you mean that YOU don't WANT me on this jury??? I made my way back to my seat... not sure how to feel about all of this.

It was over so quick. I just sat there while they called out other names and made their choices. I couldn't just look at the person on the outside and decide in my head if they would be chosen or rejected. Sometimes... I would think... "they will send that one away"... only to hear them accept them and put them in the jury box. Other times... I would think that they looked acceptable to me... only to hear them be rejected just like I was. What was that all about???

I thought about another courtroom scene. Where I will be the defendant... The enemy... my accuser... will be seated at his table. My defender, Jesus Christ, will be seated next to me at our table. There will be no jury.... thankfully. Their opinion of me will not matter. The Judge will be on His throne. When the enemy stands against me.... my Father, the Judge, will look over at my defender and declare me FORGIVEN!! No amount of "wrongs" in the past will be enough to convict me. WOW!! At that time... I will also be acceptable to the accuser... he would love to have a chance to have me. BUT... my defender... will not even wait on the question... he will be quick to say, "Oh! no you won't have her!!". I will be excused !!

I didn't really want to be on a jury. I was concerned about judging someone's innocence or guilt based on words and not on sight. I wanted to make sure that even if they were found guilty in our eyes.... they knew that they could be forgiven in God's eyes. I wanted to make sure that they understood that what they did... didn't have to make up who they are. I am glad that it turned out the way it did. I didn't have to sit in judgment of this person.

But... then why do I find myself being judgmental at other times?? That's a good question... when no one needs my opinion.... it seems to be so easy to find. But... when the state of South Carolina wanted me to pass judgment on someone.... well... suddenly it became a big deal to me. If nothing else.... God has used this experience to show me several things about Him... and myself.

God is so quick to show me mercy... and no one else's opinion of my sin matters.

God doesn't need my judgment of others... although I am often quick to think it.

When I am actually called to give a judgment of someone else's sin... that is when it suddenly becomes important to me to show mercy. Maybe it is because I would have to voice it to the actual person and not allow it to just sit in my head. What does that say about my opinion??

I cannot judge a person's value by their appearance. You would think that I would already know this... and I thought that I did. But sitting there, I found myself trying to decide if each person would meet the attorneys standards or not. Most of the time I was wrong. There again... what does that say about my opinion??

Man.... I want to be more like Him... I need to be more like Him. Quick to show mercy. Quick to see the potential of every person. Slow to judge... and only when it is necessary.

Although I thought this week was a complete waste... maybe it really wasn't. Thanks God!! I imagine that this was really what this week of jury duty was all about... not the poor man sitting at the defense table... but about me sitting as the judge and the signature

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yes To God

Once again... this is my very late post about the great book that we are studying on Lelia's blog. We are reading Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes. We are winding down on this study... I can't believe it is almost over.

I have to tell you ladies... I am not able to eat Skittles these days without thinking about the fact that God knows my favorite color Skittle. I know that it was such a simple statement in last week's reading... but it has left a lifetime's worth of impression on me. The last bag (snack size, of course) that I opened was overwhelmingly purple and red. I felt like God was looking down at me saying, "my little sweetie... this is just for you". He loves me that much. WOW!

On to this weeks chapter...

Chapter 9 We Are Completely Flawed Yet Forgiven

Lisa told us a story about her daughter intentionally smashing some potato chips on the floor at her son's school in front on the many others that passed by... her whole morning had been a mess from the beginning... to which Lisa said the only two words that she could come up with to explain her daughter's poor behavior was...

"Sin nature"

Well... that summed it right up. Our sin nature often leads us to do things that go against what we really know that we should be doing. There are so many times that I respond to my husband or my children in a way that is less than (okay... WAY less than) pleasing to God. I would have told you just moments before my outburst that I know that I shouldn't act that way... and maybe even that I wouldn't act that way. I cringe every time I see that "old self" come back to life in me... I so wish that it would just go away. But... I guess if it were really gone... I might forget that I truly need a Savior. But instead, so often I am sent back to the sweet feet of my Jesus asking him to forgive me for being my "old self".

Lisa then said,

"It's not that we can't do right or that we are helpless victims to our sin nature, but if we do not allow ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, our sin nature takes over. And that's when things get really messed up."

There is another mouth full. Being controlled by the Spirit. God so graciously sent His Holy Spirit to live inside of each believer... for that very purpose. To help us walk in victory over our sin nature. To keep our sin nature from taking over again. Being controlled by the Spirit is a job. It is not something that happens without effort. We must work at submitting to His authority. I wish that I could come up with a quick little formula to make this happen... but I am afraid that there is not one. So the battle continues.

Lisa also said,

"We are fleshly and flawed."

"For if there were no flaw, there would be no reason for forgiveness. And then we wouldn't get to see the awesome power of God miraculously at work in our lives."

I am pretty sure that if given the choice of walking in perfection... or seeing God's miraculous work in my life... I would choose to see God's work in my life. And... well.... he gives me many opportunities to see that as I battle my sin nature.

The next section of the book was about being completely forgiven. Lisa's example of her forgiveness for her child is about the best way for me to imagine God's forgiveness... but even at our best example, it still does not compare to God's forgiveness.

A while back I started to try to memorize scripture... my first attempt was Psalm 103. I did pretty good for a while... so many times I recited the line,

"as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us".

(just in case you think that I arrived at my goal... I just had to look the verse up to be sure that I had it correct!) I always let that description just flow over me... not really getting into my heart. Lisa's explanation of that made me really stop and think about it...

"...there is a measurable distance from the north to the south, but there is no measurable distance form the east to the west. God used those words because He wanted to illustrate for you and me that His forgiveness for us cannot be matched or measured. It is without condition or limits. There is no cap on how many times He will forgive us."

Wow. How much more could we ask for?? How much more could that inspire us to strive not to need that much??

Lisa also pointed out this scripture...

"The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him." Daniel 9:9

I was stunned by that word... rebelled. Somehow... "disobeyed" makes it sound a little less severe. But... in reality, no matter what we call it... it is severe. Only God could forgive us so completely. I am so thankful... I will also rejoice in its truth.

If you are interested in seeing the many posts about this chapter... just click here. This has been quite a journey. I am so blessed to be making it with so many sweet ladies.

Also... God is working up a post in my head about the difference in being a peacemaker and a peacekeeper. Beth Moore started this whirlwind in my mind a few weeks ago in one of our video lessons in Living Beyond Yourself. I am really struggling with this. God is doing a work in my heart about it. I am not sure how it is going to turn out... but I want Him to do a work. I'll be back with that hopefully soon.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes To God...

This is part of a book study that we are doing on Lelia's blog, Write from the Heart. We are reading Lisa Whittle's book Behind those Eyes. I have loved this book. We are almost done... and I am not sure that I am ready for it to end. It's been great.

Chapter Eight We are completely loved and accepted completely

Lisa started this chapter with one of my favorite verses of scripture...

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1

I just love the word "lavish". According to the dictionary, lavish means to expend or give in great amounts or without limit. Love in great amounts... and without limit. Doesn't that sound unbelievable?? Well... with God, we can believe it. Our view of love is so scarred by life... and our experiences. But God is not scarred by anything... except the nail scars on the wrist and feet of Christ that show his lavish love for us. Man.... that is some serious love.

Lisa shared many scriptures about God's love for us... another one of my favorites is...

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" Jer. 31:3

Lisa reminded us that in the story of the Samaritan women... we see God's gracious love. Jesus knew all about her... he knew that she would be at the well... he knew she was thirsty... he knew that he had exactly what she needed... AND WANTED. Lisa said,

"Jesus' love was the only answer for her thirsty heart. She didn't have to have a proper pedigree, and her past was of no eternal importance. All Jesus wanted to do was give her the gift of love she hadn't been able to find in anything or anyone else."

I am so glad that I don't need a proper pedigree... because I sure don't. And well... my past.... I am glad that it has no eternal importance. The Father knew all about that stuff when he called me to be His child... and He still called me. He still loves me... lavishly!

The most awesome statement for me in the whole chapter came at the bottom of page 139. I know that this may sound a little trivial to some... but Lisa said,

"Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that God knows your favorite color of skittles?"

That is an awesome thought to me. I don't even know my children's favorite color of skittles. I can't remember which one of my children doesn't like ketchup. I often offer my son popcorn... only to hear him say, "Mom! I am allergic to popcorn!". And I have only had about 15 or more years to remember that. I don't think that I have ever even told anyone my favorite color of skittles... of course I have one... actually two favorites.... but I haven't told anyone about them. He knows my favorite fast food restaurant. He knows my favorite song. He knows my favorite outfit. Don't you get it??? He really KNOWS me. I bet if I were to ask all of my children and my husband what my favorites are... not one of them could get every answer right. The way that they know me is nothing in comparrison to the way that God knows me. And He is the one that loves me best. That is more than I can comprehend.

Lisa then said,

"It never ceases to amaze me how God pauses every now and then to show me in a divine way that His acceptance of me is a nonissue."

This morning after I got up... I was slap-dab in the middle of a pity party... when I felt God calling me to meet Him in His Word. I opened my worn out Bible to Psalms... I read some of Psalm 84... then moved on to Psalm 86. It starts out like this....

"Hear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you,
You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
In the day of my trouble I will call to you,
for you will answer me."

There He was. Pausing to let me know that even in my needy state this morning... His love and mercy were still there. He hears me. He will answer me. He knows my favorite color of skittles, for heaven's sake!! That fact has stayed on my mind since the day that I read it. I don't expect that it will leave my mind any time soon. What is your favorite color of skittles?? I know someone that knows!! Yes, we are completely loved and accepted completely.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hearing from God in the Zoo

Last night was my favorite night of the week. Bible study night!! I couldn't wait on the ladies to get here... My sweet man was even cooking our supper. Since he loves to cook outside.... it was hamburgers and hot dogs... and it was great!! We had looked forward to this for several weeks.

We all fixed our plates and sat down to get started. Sounds like everything is going great huh?? Well... about 20 minutes into the video... I decided to pause it and back it up. Only... I started the entire thing over. Then... I tried to fast forward to the right spot. When I thought that I might be close... I pushed "play" only to realize that I needed to fast forward again. Except... when I tried to fast forward again.... I restarted the whole thing for the second time. I decided to just go to the menu and start over. Only this time... we were on the wrong lesson. This happened for about 5 or 10 minutes. It was absolutely ridiculous. Talk about being "technology challenged"!! When I finally got it started over... on the correct lesson... one of our other ladies arrived... I laughed and told her that we held off the video just for her. Whew... surely things had to get better from there.

Wrong!! There we sit... all 8 of us. Two on the couch, three in the floor, two on the love-seat, and one in the queen of all chairs... the recliner. Along with two adult cats, 5 little hungry kittens following their weaning mother around like little ducks... two children laughing hysterically upstairs, (which I must admit... I loved hearing) and about that time.... here comes a weenie dog flying down the stairs, running through the living room with my husband and my daughter on its heels. Now keep in mind... Beth is trying to teach us something from God's Word. Our crazy dog loves one of the ladies in our group... and he was desperately searching for her... but the more my husband chased him... the more he ran. I felt like I was sitting in the zoo. Total chaos. You know... for a few little moments, I could hear the enemy saying in my ear, "you shouldn't even try to do a Bible study here".... "your family and house is like a zoo".... "these ladies are probably thinking that your family is a disaster".

I just looked at those ladies and said, "you know that I love you girls, right??" And I do. I am so blessed by that group of women. I love Tuesday nights... and start looking forward to them again by Wednesday morning.

You know... My God is faithful. He taught anyway. Right in the middle of all of the chaos and noise... He spoke to us about peace. How perfect, huh??? Peace that only comes from Him. It is His to give. According to John 14:27, Peace belongs to Jesus. Romans 8:6 tells us that the key to peace is the Holy Spirit. We must have the Holy Spirit to have real peace. We must have Jesus to have the Holy Spirit. So... there in the middle of my zoo... I had peace. God is not shocked by what goes on in my funny little zoo. He is not surprised that the enemy would try to use that zoo to distract us and discourage me. And I am not shocked that God would choose that very moment to teach us about a peace that defies circumstances.

Right now... there are many circumstances that challenge the peace in my heart. Finances, a wayward angry child, upcoming changes... the list goes on and on. God's desire for us is to have peace. This statement from our lesson stuck out to me... "to the degree that I submit to Christ's authority, is the exact degree that I will have peace". Think that through. If I want to have more peace... I have got to submit to Christ's authority in my life. The more I allow Him to rule... the more peace I will have.

Peace in the midst of the zoo. Peace in the midst of a storm. Peace in the midst of the tears. Peace in the midst of difficult circumstances. Peace... God's peace. I want it. I need it. It is available... anytime I choose to allow Christ to have authority in my heart.

I hope to be back soon with my Yes to God post for this week....
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yes To God Tuesday... or is it Thursday?

I feel like it has been ages since I have been on my blog... much less anyone else's. I have been doing something else... I am just not exactly sure what. I have also had a little bit of writer's block. I'm glad to be back.

This is part of a book study that Lelia from Write From the Heart is hosting. We are reading Lisa Whittle's book Behind Those Eyes. If you haven't read this book... it is great. You should run out and pick up a copy... after you read this post, of course.

Chapter 5 Ms. Spirituality

Now this chapter really spoke to me. I didn't want it to... but it did. Lisa started off with Ms. Spirituality's checklist. She has to make sure that she is all checked off.... Here is her list... with my check-marks....

Attends Church and Sunday School YEP!

Volunteers for non-profit and Christian organizations every chance she gets Do church "things" count?? Like Judgement House, Awana, and Decision Counselor?? If so, YEP!

Knows proper "Christanese" and uses it frequently YES! PRAISE THE LORD!

Collects money from others for the less fortunate opps.. I don't do this YET!

Listens to Christian Music, Radio, and only Christian TV YEP, YEP, and YEP if we had
Christian TV around here. That is if I watch TV at all.

Often wears Christian pin or T-shirt and has an emblem on her car YEP!

Attends at least one women's conference per year OF COURSE I DO!!

Prays for Missionary families.... Oh no... I have missed another one!!

If I (oops, I meant she) really needs to impress...

Attends midweek service and leads at least one church ministry YEP!

Journals or BLOGS... WHAT??? Even this???? YEP!

Gives money to the less fortunate Wonder if giving money to Life Today so that I can receive one of Beth Moore's resource counts??? If so, YEP!

Attends more than two women's conferences per year TRY TO!!!!

Well... after that little exercise... I had to stop and rest from the book a while and do some soul searching. I do many things on that list.... MANY things on that list... But the question is why do I do them??? Is it to make Lynn look better?? Probably more times than I would like to admit. If I do even one of them to make myself look better.... that is one too many.

I want my heart to be pure before the Lord. I want to do everything that I do for His glory... not mine. But it is so hard to kill this flesh that I live in.

As I continued on in the chapter, there were many things that Lisa said that stuck out to me...

"The point is not that Ms. Spirituality does these things, rather, why she does these things. Remember, it's all in the performance, not in the act itself."

That statement reminded me of what happened last Sunday. We have decision counselors at our church. They are available at the end of the service to provide needed counsel for anyone that responds to the invitation. That could either be for accepting Christ as their Savior, repentance, re-dedication, or anything else that God may has laid on their hearts during the service. Several weeks back, the church held a class for anyone interested in becoming one of these counselors... And you know that I signed up. There have been a few times that I have led someone to the Lord... but I figured that I could do it a lot better if I took a class on it. So after class, I came home... fixed myself a little Bible with underlined scripture, notes inside, and everything that I would need to be a decision counselor... and then I did nothing for the next couple weeks. This past Sunday we had such a powerful service... and I listened as the Pastor asked if anyone had prayed the prayer to receive Christ... one, two, three, four, five, six, maybe even more!! I knew that there would not be enough counselors down there.... so I reached in my bag and pulled out my "new" Bible with all the necessary stuff and went down front to wait to be called on..... And sure enough... The Pastor sent me a girl.

Well... I am horrified to tell you... that I have no idea what I said to her... no idea if she even got what I was telling her... and no idea what took place. I was so nervous. I was shaking. I was so worried about my performance that I couldn't even speak clearly. I am not sure that I even addressed her real need... which was to make sure that she had her eternity settled with the Father. Oh... I listened to her tell me that she remembered being saved as a child... I remember her telling me that she had not been living "right"... I remember spouting out a few verses about being saved... I remember rattling off a few more scriptures about assurance of salvation.... The whole time we could hear the Pastor announcing other decisions... I felt so rushed... I felt so much pressure... I thought that I would explode if church didn't end soon. Afterwards... I felt like a total failure. I was horrible at that. I couldn't believe that it was so hard. I was embarrassed that I had not done a better job. My "performance". Is that what that was??? I would have hoped not. But I can tell you that is all that I could think about for the rest of the day.... my performance.

Lisa then said,
"All of our good deeds and actions depend completely on the motive of our hearts."

I thought that my motives were pure. I am almost positive that they started out pure. But somewhere along the line... my performance became more important than her confession and her realization that she needed to surrender her life to Christ and allow Him to the the Ruler of her life. How did that happen???

Lisa said,

"There are many people sitting in church pews, attending visitation, teaching a Sunday School class, and volunteering for a mission project who are actually lacking spiritual depth in their relationship with Christ."

I think that was my problem. I will tell you the truth.... my quiet times over the last week or two just haven't been all they should be. I haven't felt intimate with my Heavenly Father for the last couple weeks. Now... I know that He is still in the same place... it is me that has moved. And I am working on that. But, I wasn't where I needed to be in my walk with Him to rest in his provision. I was worried about my performance... not looking for His power. I wonder if that is where Ms. Spirituality jumps in. You still know what is "right".... you are just not "right". Your body goes into automatic pilot... and you go through the motions. Your focus leaves the Father.... and you are just trying to keep doing what you know is "right". The problem is that if we don't come back into intimate fellowship with the Father... we may just become Ms. Spirituality all the time.

Then Lisa tells a story about a visitor in her Sunday School class. After class the women comes up and admits that she was concerned about bringing her husband to this class... because he is an alcoholic... but how excited she was when she started talking to the man sitting beside her and he shared that he was an alcoholic too. The visitor then said,
"Now I feel like someone here may be able to relate to him , after all."

Well... isn't that all of us??? We just want to know that we aren't alone in our struggles. We are just waiting on the next person to speak up and say that they are struggling so that we can spill our guts and know that we really do "fit in".

By the time that I ended that chapter... I was so relieved to find Lisa's statement,
"Fortunately for all of us, spiritual perfection is not a requirement to faith in Jesus Christ."

and then,

"Though we seek it, our lack of spiritual perfection may be the best thing in the world for us since it reminds us that we are absolutely nothing without Christ."

Now looking back... I know exactly why my first experience being a decision counselor needed to be a failure... Sorry Shelly.... I am praying for you.... otherwise... I may have continued to try to do it in my strength. My performance can never measure up to God's power. I know now that unless my walk is where it needs to be... I will stay in my seat . Or, instead, I will probably just crawl up to the alter myself and seek God's forgiveness for not being ready when He desired to use me.

I knew at the beginning of this study that the church is full of people being fake. The song that Lisa quoted is one of my favorites. I had hoped that I wouldn't find myself so guilty of being in the charade... but there again... I needed to see my failures so that God's power can be displayed.

I can't wait to finish this study. Next week we will be reading and discussing chapters six and seven. Join us back then... If you are interested in seeing if Ms. Spirituality stepped on anyone else's toes, just click here.

Also... if you are wondering about the situation from two of my last three post... well... we are still in the throws of it. I have done as much as I possibly can to prevent any communication between the two of them... which means canceling texting on our phones. There are some moments (very few) when she is thankful for what I am trying to do... but most moments she is angry at me for "butting" in. Don't you just hate that as her mother, I have had to "butt" in. Oh well. Thanks so much for your prayers. Keep them coming. I do not believe this is over yet.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thank You to Ms. Joyful...

So busy... I haven't even posted (my first try at typing that said "pooted") my Yes to God post on Ms. Happiness. There is so much in there. And there is so much going on in my house right now. Just know that I need your prayers and God's wisdom. It has to do with the post below on Wisdom and Warnings. If you have ever heard Beth Moore talk about "flagging" you know what this means, "I am about Six Flags over Georgia right now". So many red flags are flying around me. I am trying to find help... but it is hard to find. I need an inside track at Verizon Wireless.. one that is not afraid to save my daughter... and possibly loose their job. Know anyone like that?? If so, let me know. I hope to be back soon with my post on Ms. Happiness. I am so glad that my joy is not dependent on my circumstances. Real joy is from an inside source. Thank You Lord.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A new blog on the block...

I am going to shamelessly advertise my friends new blog, Knowing the Plans. I have written about her before... here and here and even a little bit about her over here. She is quite an amazing women of faith. She is just getting started.... why not go over and give her a little encouragement. She blesses my heart... and I know she will bless yours too.

I've got a busy day ahead of me... I will be back probably tomorrow with my post on Ms. Happiness. I think that you may even know her.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Warnings and Wisdom

My daughter has a broken heart. It is absolutely killing me. The worst part of her broken heart is that I have seen it coming for a long time. I even warned her that things just didn't seem right about this so called "boyfriend". Please know that "boyfriend" is her term for him... not mine. There were many red flags for me... being the wise OLD woman that I am. Over and over I pointed out things that were not consistent in his stories. There is very little chance that the same person has experienced a skateboard accident that landed him in the Intensive Care Unit with amnesia for over a week, then an emergency appendectomy, then his parents threw him out only to have to move to another state to live with relatives... and the list just goes on and on. Everything seemed to pull her in emotionally. To make matters worse... she has never seen him with her own eyes. She met him through an acquaintance and has only text messaged with him. But, she fell.... hook, line, and sinker. Finally he sent her some pictures of himself... and he was such a beauty. Sounds too good to be true, huh??...

Well today, she clicked on his picture to enlarge it.... and it took her to a myspace page. Only... this person had a different name than her "boyfriend". There were pictures of this person in cap and gown... but her "boyfriend" was only suppose to be 16. Her heart broke into a million little pieces. He had lied to her. He wasn't the person that he was trying to convince her that he was. (sounds like the book I am reading) Now... before you start telling me about the dangers of the Internet and carrying on with people you don't really know.... I KNOW ALL THAT! I have warned her about that over and over too. I have done so much to prevent this... but to no avail.

And... this isn't even the point to this whole story.

I went into her room and found her on her bed, face in the pillow, crying. When I asked her what was wrong... she said, "I don't want to talk about it... you will say, I TOLD YOU SO!". Seeing her pain... I assured her that I would not say that. Finally, she started to tell me... through her tears... that he had lied to her. He wasn't who she thought he was... (Surprise!)

I wouldn't have said, "I told you so"... for a million dollars. Her heart was broken and she needed compassion and grace... not my harsh "knew it all the time" attitude. So I spent as much time loving on her and comforting her as she would allow.

I started thinking....

I am so much smarter than she is, why wouldn't she listen to me???

Why does she automatically think she knows what is best for her... I am her mother after all???

And you know what happened next... God so sweetly said to my spirit,

"I feel the same way about you sometimes"
"I am so much wiser than you."
"I know what you need and what you don't need."
"Why don't you listen to me?"
"Why don't you heed my warnings?"

Why is it that I so often think that I know what is best for me. Taking the path of my choice and not heeding the warnings that God is sending my way?? Oh... He tries to warn me. But I pretend not to hear Him. He is the giver of Wisdom... yet many times I don't even ask for it.

Then... when things are a mess.... I realize that He knew best... But at the time... I just rushed head on into what I thought was best or at least into what I wanted. He knew I should have kept my mouth shut today while I was grouchy with my husband. He knew that I should have saved the money that I spent yesterday on something silly because I would have a flat tire today. He knew that these tough times that we are going through were going to lead to closer walk with Him. He also knew that they were going to leave me with a huge desire to KNOW Him more.

It really does pay to listen to the wise one. It will lead to less pain and less hurt. But it is a choice that we have to make. A choice that I will have to make.

I can't make my daughter listen to my advise. I can continue to love her. I can continue to try to guide her... but ultimately it will be her decision.

God WILL not MAKE me follow His guidance. Ultimately it will be my decision to do it.

After seeing my sweet one's tears and pain today... you would think that I would take my own advise and listen next time to the warnings of the wise one. I pray that I signature

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays...

This post is part of the book study that Lelia is hosting on her blog. We are reading Behind Those Eyes What's really going on in the souls of women by Lisa Whittle. This book is about becoming the real you... not the one you pretend to be. You can join in at any time.

Chapter 3 Ms. Confidence

This is the lady that appears to have it all together and appears to be so strong... or at least that is what she wants us to think. Lisa says,

"For them, as it is for so many of us, it is not acceptable to show that we need someone when we are trying so hard for people to see us as self-sufficient, strong, independent, and fearless. So we choose to portray a confident woman with it all together in order to save ourselves the pain that might come with people seeing our vulnerabilities."

"it (portraying confidence) robs us of the joy that comes with exposing our souls to a trusted companion."

"Confidence is often so afraid of rejection- either because of past hurts or past experiences- that she prefers to stay in her confidence shell and not let the soft side of her emerge."

I have to be honest and real... I don't see myself in this role. I have used my time this week to seek God. I have asked Him to show me if I play this part... but so far... nothing. Maybe I have just blocked it out of my memory. Or worse yet, maybe I haven't been really listening to God. I am going to continue to seek his face on this. I don't want to miss on opportunity for God to remove something that is useless in my life.

I love the way that Lisa summed up this section,

"... women who are open and vulnerable and real and genuine and without pretense. Those are the things that truly take strength."

And....the poem of The Strong Women vs The Women of Strength was awesome. Especially this part...

"A strong woman works out every day to keep her body in shape... but a woman of strength kneels in prayer to keep her soul in shape."

I am sure that I should probably work out a little more than never... but it just isn't something that I like. I know my clothes would fit better if I would do it whether I like it or not... but I just haven't tackled that yet... even the word "tackle" makes me sweat.

When I think about Ms. Confidence, I think of how unapproachable she appears. No one can get close. And which one of us women don't want a "close" friendship?? I have actually had friends like this... It was so obvious that they were playing a "part", and I learned that no matter what I tried... I couldn't get in.... I say "had" because to be perfectly honest... we aren't really friends anymore. Now... do we speak and hug when we see each other?? Oh yea!! Are they on my list of people to call in a crisis?? Well.. of course not... they aren't any help.... they have never had a crisis. And even if they have had a crisis... they wouldn't dare share it with me... it would ruin my "perfect" perception of them. Or so they think. Actually my heart aches for them. I know that they have to be lonely on the inside... miserable... so worried that someone might "find them out". I want to just stand up on the top of my house and yell out, "being real is so freeing"!!!! It lets God's work and glory shine through.

I love the last part of this chapter... with truth about confidence... the properly placed confidence...

"And now... continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident" 1 John 2:28

"God says, that when we put our confidence in the right place (in Him), our lives will be blessed." Jer. 17:7

"Our confidence comes from knowing not only whose we are but also who He is."

Next week we will be reading Ms. Happiness. Well... actually, I will be reading that today. I want to know more about her. If you are interested in how God spoke to others through this chapter click here.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Yes to God Tuesday... praise God... on Tuesday!

This is part of a book study that we are currently doing on Lelia's blog. We are reading Lisa Whittle's book Behind Those Eyes, What's really going on inside the souls of women. This book is about being real... I mean REAL... no pretending.... no charades, just real, the person that we really are. This is what I want. What is the point of pretending to be someone I am not?? It will exhaust me trying to make sure that no one "finds" me out. Guess how I know?? Because I have played the part before.

This week we are reading Chapter Two

Ms. Perfection

Lisa starts us out with the Sunday morning fake out... you know the one... you have a horrible morning trying to get everyone ready for church, argue all the way to church, and then put on a big smile and a happy voice for everyone. Pretending. Putting on a happy face. Trying to convince everyone that you are the perfect women, the perfect mom, the perfect wife, and the perfect Christian lady. But... on the inside, you know that is far from the truth.

Lisa tells a story about putting together the perfect Easter outfits for her family. Everyone is perfectly dressed. About mid-way through the service she looks down only to find a bright, royal blue ink pen mark across the front of her perfect white linen skirt. She felt as if God has said to her,

"Lisa, you can prepare and plan and anticipate things and seek perfection. But just in case you have forgotten that you are anything but perfect, let this remind you of just that."
Lisa said,

"The pen mark symbolized to me the imperfections in my life, no matter how well thought out and organized I may be.

Boy, can I relate to some imperfections!!

Lisa breaks "Ms Perfection" down for us into three different groups...

The perfect wife syndrome

Lisa said,

"Ms. Perfection really wants to be a good wife. She has all the right tools for it, and she has the willpower and desire to succeed. But in her quest for perfection, she has worked herself into a bad mood even before her husband comes home at the end of the day."

I don't think that I am that person.... but this is what happened today. I may have to rethink this.

This morning, while I wanted to blog jump and spend my day doing things that I wanted and needed to do... my husband had some things that he needed me to do. Like go to the bank, and take the computer to the doctor so that we can print up his customer's bills (something that is VERY important). After his second phone call to see if I was making progress on HIS list of things for me to do... I huffed upstairs to take a shower and get ready. Afterwards, I proceeded to try to get the computer unhooked so that I could lug it to the car. Well... one of the printer cords had made its way under the side of the computer desk... and for the life of me, I could not get it free. I called to see if my husband could hop on over to the house and help me with HIS job for me. Of course not... he was busy! About 15 minutes later and one hernia later... I finally got the cord free and both the computer and the printer to the car. I tried to call him to let him know that I had accomplished my mission. No answer. Within a few minutes he called me back to see what I needed again... I told him about the reason for my call, and he huffed at me...

"You didn't have to call me back, I told you I would call you when I finished this job".

So as I drove out of the neighborhood... I had a conversation with God.... it went like this...

ME: "Did you hear how ungrateful he is??" "I really want to be a good wife, I mean, I really do... but he sure wasn't very kind to me!"

God: "Oh, so you want credit for being a good wife to a good husband??" "Is that it??" "A good wife only if he is the good husband back" "What good is that??"

Me: "Well, no, that isn't what I meant."

God: "Really??, that is what is just sounded like."

I still don't think that I have the perfect wife syndrome... but I have found that it works best when I am real with God. I usually take His rebukes for my poor behavior better than I would if it were my husband. It brings conviction... not anger.

The Perfect Mom Syndrome

Lisa said,

"Sometimes the perfect mom syndrome causes us to fall into the comparison trap with other moms."

"After all, we have been programmed to believe that behind every perfect child is a perfect mom. And we take that role very seriously.

Well... after my past week at the middle school, I guess I have totally blown this charade. No one will buy this one from me anymore... actually I guess it has been quite a long time since I have been able to pull this one off. The thing about the comparrison trap is that we often see what others want us to see... not what is necessarily real. They are just better actors that we might be. Moving right along.....

The Perfect Package

Well... Ha! I wish this were me. Lisa says,

"The perfect package is focused on making her outside look better by any and every means necessary, which may include tweaking, nipping, tucking, pulling, stretching, bleaching, manicuring, lasering, zapping, and comouflaging. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with any of these things, there is a dangerous societal pressure that motivates the perfect package to seek these procedures."

"The perfect package first needs to feel perfect in order for her to sell others on it. And it's become a full-time job."

I wish that I would do something about my lack of the perfect package. But... what can I say,?? I love chocolate. And our finances will keep me from the nipping and tucking until I am too old to care. But I will admit... for the sake of being real... that I am jealous of the ones that do what it takes to be closer to the perfect package. My spirit is weak... and my flesh is even weaker.

The letter that Lisa included at the end of the chapter from her high school friend spoke volumes to me... her friend said that after a lifetime of trying to be perfect she has finally come to a place where she can be herself.... she said,

"Now I strive for obedience- and I bring all my flaws to Him."

God wants my flaws. He wants to use them to show his greatness. I want him to use them for His glory... because honestly... they aren't doing me any good. So... by all means, I will let God use them for someone else's good... HIS.

Want to check out what others thought and learned from this chapter?? Click here.

Also... disclaimer... no time to proofread .... I am at work with no computer at home. post signature