Thursday, July 31, 2008

Poundy and Thumpy...

In the words of Junie B. Jones... my heart is poundy and thumpy. First... if you don't know who Junie B. Jones is, then you probably don't have a daughter in the 1st through 5th grade, or if you do know who she is... but didn't realize that those were her words, then that means that you probably are a little pickier than I am about what your child reads. Don't gasp... She really is hilarious!!! We talk about what a smarty-pants she is... but we still laugh til our bellies are sore.

But anyway, my heart it poundy and thumpy. My sweet little Bible study group is leaving tomorrow around lunchtime to go to Boone, NC for the Beth Moore Simulcast. I cannot wait. I have been to several of her Living Proof events... but no one else in my group has ever been. For that matter... no one else in my group had ever done a Beth Moore study before coming to this little group. So... how awesome is this??? We are going to have the best time.

I have been praying that God will prepare each of our hearts for exactly what He is going to bring us through her. Of course I have been praying for her as she prepares too.

So... please pray for us while we are gone. AND... try not to be too jealous. If we could have... we would have taken you too.

post signature

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yes to God Tuesday... on wednesday

It is Yes to God Tuesday again... this is part of a book study that we are doing over on Lelia's blog. We are reading Lysa Terkeurst's book What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. We are up to chapters six and seven. This book is great... you still have time to join in if you would like.

Chapter 6 God's Extraordinary Invitation

God has invited each of His children to take part in an awesome adventure with Him. For Lysa, among many other adventures, she told us of God's invitation to adopt two boys that were singing in a boy's choir at a church. Now, these boys were from a Liberian orphanage. She had no idea that God would take her on such an adventure... she just took her girls to hear them sing. That is when God dropped the bomb so to speak. He told her that two of the boys singing in front of the church were hers. She told us of her struggles with trying to work things out in her own mind and in her own way, and then the way that God worked it out for His glory. Awesome story.

The one thing that really spoke to me in this story is that while she poured her heart out to a friend, and unloaded all of her doubts and questions... she asked this question,

"Why Me?"

And her friend's answer was simply,

" Because God knew you'd say yes, Lysa."

Whoa!!! Does God know that I will answer "yes" to anything that He asks of me?? No, I don't think that I have that kind of track record with God. I would love to have it... but I don't at this minute. It would take years for me to establish that kind of record with God. There are many things that I have said "yes" to... but I long for that to be my answer each and every time God gives me an invitation to join him in His extraordinary plan.

On to Chapter 7 God is With You

It is during our struggles that we need to realize that it is not up to us to figure things out. God desires to be the "fixer". Lysa told us that even though she knew that the purpose of this phase was to learn to lean on God like never before... it was still hard. I needed to hear that. In the struggle that my family is facing right now... I know that God wants us to learn to lean on Him like never before... BUT IT IS STILL HARD. We need to simply wait on God.

Some other statements that really spoke volumes to me were:

"I am amazed that God so freely gives His help when I ask for it."

Why do I forget to ask for His help sometimes?? He gives freely...

"Though God could have instantaneously moved it, (Mark's mountain of rocks) He chose another way. He gave Mark the strength to move it one rock at a time."

I know that God could instantaneously remove our financial problems for us. He could send Brad more work than he could handle. He could send us a great inheritance from a long lost relative that we don't even know about... but instead He has chosen another way. God is giving us the strength to live through this one day at a time.

" sometimes the greater act of faith is not praying for the mountain to move instantaneously but rather hanging in there while God helps you to move it bit by bit".

I am so thankful that God is with us during our struggles. I am so thankful that His plan is best... and it will be for our best.

"Just fulfill the small part of the mission He's asking you to do today. Just carry that one rock. Ask God, What is my assignment for today? Do that part and be satisfied that God is pleased. Be encouraged and continue to press on."

I will continue to press on. God's plan is best. I know that. God is doing something great... I want to be a part of it. No matter what my little part may be... I want to say "yes".

Click here if you want to know how these chapters spoke to the other ladies that are doing this study. Have a great day... and listen for God's invitation. Step out and say "yes".

post signature

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yeah for Me....

I won!!! I won the giveaway over at Lelia's blog. She offered this awesome mug that reads:

"Just because I'm a family raising, meal cooking, homemaking wonder it doesn't mean I'm a desperate housewife" Domestic Diva

It can't wait for it to arrive.

I actually consider it a privilege to call her a friend. She is a really real, transparent, and honest woman. And... anyone that knows me can tell you how much I love "real". Thanks so much Lelia!! Check out her blog right here... you will be blessed.

She is also hosting a great book study on her blog. You can check out this weeks' chapters on Tuesdays. Or... better yet, you can pick up the book and join us.

post signature

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays....

This is part of a book study that we are doing at Lelia's blog. We are reading and studying Lysa Terkeurst's book What Happens when Women Walk in Faith. It is never too late to join us. It would take no time for you to catch up... this book is an easy read.

Chapter 4 Loving God more than my dream

Just the title of the chapter was enough for me. If I didn't take anything else from those seven pages... I heard from God as I read the title, Loving God more than my dream. My family is going through a very difficult time financially... really bad, and it is causing us to literally give up many things that I don't want to give up. One of those being our camper. We love going to the beach and staying in the camper. It is the most relaxing time I have ever known with my family. No cares, No schedules, No anything... but just being together and having fun. It has been breaking my heart to think about giving it up... but then, I read the title. Do I love God more than my dream?? Now... I know that my camper is not really my "DREAM", but it is "dream" for the summer and my family. It is part of my agenda. It is part of my plans.

Lysa said many things in this chapter that spoke directly to my heart...

"Walking with God will always take you to amazing places, but it won't always be where you thought you wanted to go, and the road won't always be easy."

"Don't second guess what God is doing. Rather look for ways to dig deeper into His Word, His character, and His faithfulness in this time. Growing deep roots isn't easy."

"Remember, this journey will be a lot less about the places He will eventually take you and much more about the relationship He establishes with you along the way."

"like a self centered two-year old, we scream, "Mine, Mine, Mine"... but God can never let that be the cry of our hearts."

So... I have heard God. His plan is much better than mine. I cannot see how this will bring Him glory... but I know that He can. He is much wiser than I am. Thankfully....

On to chapter 5 The Famine

Lysa continued to speak God's soothing Words over my heart. Several of those things were...

"feeling the pain of surrender"... (I am feeling the pain, but I am surrendered to His plan.)

"knowing that God has a good plan even in the discomfort"

"Faith is learned through life"

"How vitally important it is for us to surrender our hearts to God and ask Him daily to reveal His plans and perspectives to us... so that we don't miss His activity and His glorious plans for our future."

During the personal study time Lysa had us go through Psalm 15, and Psalm 24:3-6
These Psalms told us of characteristics that God looks for in His people... and then we had to reflect on which ones we would like to work on during this study. I need some work, ladies.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, we read that God looks at the heart... not the outside like we do. Then we were asked to reflect on some of our "heart issues" that we need to ask God to help us with... and my list was quite lengthy. I have read this verse many times... even quoted it a few times... but I have never stopped to really think about all the "issues" that God sees when He looks at my heart. I was moved to tears. Pain, hurt, shame, anger, bitterness, embarrassment, favoritism, wrong motives, pride, and the list kept going. I long to have a pure heart before God. I can hide these things from some of you... but I cannot hide them from God.

I think that most of the ladies going through this book right now have "big dreams" of writing books, articles, and such.... but right now... my dream is to get through life with a pure heart and deep roots. I want God to use me. I cannot imagine what His plan could possibly be... but I want to get there.

I thank you ladies for allowing me to go through this with you. God is using this to personally speak to me right where I am... right now.

As I have mentioned before... my children will be going to school this year. We have homeschooled for some time now. I will have lots of time on my hands. I know that God has something for me to do, I just don't know what it is right now. I pray that I will allow Him to use me in whatever it is. As we move through this book... I find that my heart grows softer and softer to His.

If you are interested in how these chapters spoke to the other ladies... just click here.

post signature

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Choosing Thankfulness...

Okay... this post is out of left field.

And... I haven't even posted my "Yes to God" chapter post yet.... but I just had to cut the shower off and come back downstairs to say this....

I love a quiet house. I love to get up before everyone else in my family. It allows me time to spend time with my Lord... and do a little housekeeping without distractions. So... almost everyday I get out of bed first. Anyway... everyday when I go back upstairs to shower, I find the same thing.

My sweet husband has pulled up and straightened up the covers on the bed... AND turned it back down a little before putting the pillows on top. My mind always wants to get my feathers ruffled a little bit. I hear this in my head, "what is the point ????... leave the covers straight and put on the pillows and the bed will be made". But then I hear in my heart, "Lynn, be thankful that he did that much". I almost always find myself laughing at the situation. Then, I thank God for reminding me to be thankful... and I finish making up the bed. Being thankful is a choice. We can make it... or not.

I can promise you that I never go into my 18 year old son's room... or my 13 year old daughter's room and find the bed ALMOST made up. Never.

Anyway... whatever is threatening to cause you a little stress today... choose thankfulness.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says:
"Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"

Through Christ... I can be joyful and thankful every morning as I finish making up the bed that I share with my faithful husband of 21 years... I realize that many can't say that... and I choose to thank God for my husband, the halfway "made up" bed, and the gracious reminder to thank Him.

Hopefully, I will be back this afternoon with my chapter post for "Yes to God".

post signature

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kicking and Screaming...

My 13 year old daughter will be going to public school this year, and she decided that she might like to go out for the volleyball team. Nevermind the fact that she has never played volleyball. And... the fact that she is a part of the most unatheletic family on earth. I was so excited when I found out a local christian sports organization was going to offer a volleyball camp this summer. I signed her right up. I figured that she could learn the basics at this camp and it would definitely help her when tryouts get here.

Camp started this past Monday morning at 9am. Now... my daughter is usually still asleep at noon, so I knew that this would be a challenge for her. With my kindest, sweetest, and happiest voice, I went in to wake her on Monday morning. Argghh!! Not an easy task. She was in such a bad mood... I practically had to drag her in there kicking and screaming. I prayed all the way home that God would spark a love in her heart for volleyball. I prayed that she would fall in love with playing a sport and do well. When I picked her up on Monday at noon... her mood was just as bad as it was that morning. Yuck!! She hated it. Her arm hurt. She couldn't do it. Everyone else knew how to play. She was not going back on Tuesday morning. So...

Fast forward to Tuesday morning... same as Monday. Had to drag her in kicking and screaming. Again I prayed that God would spark a love in her heart for volleyball. Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon... same as Monday. This time... her whole body was sore. Her arm was killing her. She has a horrible bruise on her leg. She didn't want to go back on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning she could barely get out of bed. She was so sore. She begged me to let her stay home. She told me how much she hated it. She told me that she had no intentions of playing volleyball for her school. Again... I practically had to drag her in kicking and screaming. That afternoon when I picked her up, I asked the same question that I did the other two afternoons...

"So, how was it today?"

And much to my surprise... she said, "I loved it".

I couldn't believe my ears. I said, "What??"

She said, "yea, I love it. I had so much fun today."

I just sat there dumbfounded.

In my mind... I was thinking, "I thought you would... Why didn't you just trust me... why did I have to drag you there kicking and screaming???" Just then, I felt a prick in my heart... God said, "yea, Lynn, Why do I have to take you to a new place kicking and screaming... why can't you just trust me that it is for your best??" I praised God for His mercy and grace. I chose to show that same grace and mercy to my daughter....

I said, " Well, great!! I am glad that I made you go"

She said, "yea, me too."

Why is it that we fight God on change?? Fight Him on going to a "new place" with Him?? Why can't we just trust that He knows what is best for us? Things are hard sometimes... but God knows what we need. Sometimes we have to suffer some bruises and some soreness... but God knows the process that will make us more like Him. He has a plan for us... He knows what experiences we will need to be useful in the ministry that He has planned for us. God wants the same thing from me that I wanted from my daughter... trust, cooperation, participation, and a willing spirit. I think that I will have to change my attitude about change.

post signature

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Saying Yes to God study...

Welcome to Chapter Two of the Yes to God Tuesdays. If you would like to join in... just pick up a copy of the book and jump in. This book is so easy to read... it wouldn't take you one day to catch up. The book is What Happens When Women Walk In Faith by Lysa Terkeurst

Chapter 2 A Line in the Sand

I loved the story about the rearview mirror. It spoke volumes to me. Lysa made two statements in this section that caused me to do some heavy thinking.

"We can't go ahead with God to new and exciting places if we're spending too much time looking back."

As scary as the future may be... God is already there. He knows what to expect, nothing takes Him by surprise. If my husband and I were on a trip... somewhere I had never been but somewhere that was very familiar to him... I would rest in the fact that He knew where we were going. Do I rest in that fact with God?? I certainly should. Can I just tell you that He is a little more trustworthy than my sweet husband?? God NEVER lets us down. We just can't say the same thing about people. It is not in us to be perfect. But, God and His plan are perfect.

This next statement has sent me reeling, dancing, shouting, and thinking....

"Leaving is usually an act of obedience and not a desire of the heart. It is hard. It causes you to step outside of your comfort zone and enter a life that requires faith."

For those of you that don't know much about me... I have been a homeschooling mom for 6 years. I love having my children home with me. I love the comfort of knowing that I am taking care of them. Last year before Christmas, my 13 year old daughter asked me to think about letting her go to school. I replied very smugly, "I won't think about it... but I will pray about it". I knew that we were doing what God had called us to do... and He would give me MY answer. Well... that didn't happen. God changed the plan on me. Through many months of prayer, crying, and down right wrestling with God... I have surrendered my will to His. My children will be attending public school this fall. I have gone through the motions... testing, choosing classes, touring the schools, etc. This is definitely an act of obedience for me... NOT a desire of my heart. I needed to read this. I needed to see it in print. My heart aches for the time that I will miss with my children. I also work nights three days a week... I will surely miss my days with them. Tears are spilling over the rims of my eyes as I type this. I can give God thousands of reasons that they do not need to go to school. God wants my obedience... not my opinion.

But... I know that God has something new for me to do. I don't know what it is. I don't even know if I want to know what it is right now, I would probably start the wrestling match again. I have made the first step... the leaving. Leaving what I love, leaving what I am comfortable with, leaving my children all day with someone else. Leaving. I am on my way... an act of obedience. Not a desire of my heart. BUT...

Once I took the first step and acknowledged God's choice and my willingness to follow His will, the most amazing thing has happened. God has changed my heart. TONS. I am beginning to find things that will be so good for my children. My little one will love the library, the music class, the computer class, PE, and believe it or not... she is looking forward to the cafeteria. My middle schooler will enjoy learning about computers, technology, careers, and I do believe she will learn a lot about living life. There seems to be a little "all about me attitude" going on... I think that somehow being a little fish in a big sea will work on that.

I could go on and on... The story about the lady that went home to the same circumstances but with a different heart applies to my life as well.

I will sum all this up with Lysa's statement about that lady on the bottom of page 25... but insert my name.

"Lynn will have to depend on God like never before". I am so happy to be coming along on this journey with all of you sweet ladies. I don't have a "dream" yet... but I have at least taken the first step of obedience... leaving.

If you want to hear how this chapter spoke to others go here and see the other participants.

post signature

Friday, July 4, 2008

Real Freedom...

I am truly glad to be an American. I know that I am blessed to live in a country that is free. But when think about being free, it has more to do with who I am in Christ not where I am in geography. Scripture is so clear about where real freedom comes from.

Some of my favorites:
2 Corinthians 3:17
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
That gives me the freedom in my heart... since the Spirit of the Lord lives there.

Isaiah the prophet tells us in Isaiah 61 about the ministry of Jesus:
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to prolcaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengenance of our God, to
comfort all who mourn and to provide for those who grieve in Zion-
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead
of mourning,
and the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of
His splendor."

These words have been such an encouagement to me. I needed the good news, my heart has been broken and needed to be bound up, I have been a captive that needed to be set free. And... I need the ashes of my life to be turned into a crown of beauty. These are all things that Jesus does for me. And it is all for the display of His splendor. Wow!! That is awesome.

Galatians 5:1 tells us,
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves to be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
I do not have to be burdened by the yoke of slavery to sin... Christ has come to set me free from slavery to sin.

Romans 6:18 tells us
"You have been set free from sin and have become a slave to righteousness"
With the power of Christ in me... I can become a slave to doing right. Only, it won't seem like what we think of as a slave. I will actually be free to do what it right. No longer a slave to do what comes natural.

My freedom comes through Christ. My country is free... which allows me to pursue Christ with all that I have. I am truly blessed.

Happy 4th of July. Enjoy the Freedoms that God has given us.

post signature

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Getting rid of an old friend...

I had this friend once... but I don't enjoy the friendship anymore. I want to get rid of it. I actually want to be totally rid of it... never to see or hear from it again. I used to feel very comfortable with this friend. I really thought that this friend was looking out for my best interest. I thought that this friend really loved me. I thought that it was a friendship that I couldn't do without.

But for some time now... God has been trying to show me that I need to rid myself of this friendship. He knew all along that it really wasn't a friend... but instead an enemy. My friend's name is PRIDE.

This has been going on for some time now. I mean years. God revealed my pride to me many, many years ago. I knew that it was something that I carried around with me all the time... I actually call it my "pride panties".... on me all the time. I really thought that I had made some ground with this problem. I find myself sometimes being a little proud of myself for not being as prideful as others around me. But... thank you Jesus... this morning God showed me an area of pride in my life that took me straight to the floor on my face, bawling,and begging His forgiveness. Still, tears fill my eyes.

I have a precious daughter... but we are at odds most times. I love her with all that I have... the thing is that she doesn't "love" like I do... so she doesn't really want the love that I show most easily. (5 love languages anyone???) Anyway... last night we had quite a spat. I went to bed crying over the way that she is... but God woke me this morning to show me how I am.

I realized that many times our "spats" are rooted in my pride. The pride that wells up inside of me to say...
"If she doesn't do "this" then others will think that you aren't a good parent".

Or... "that person over there is not even a Christian... and they think this about her"...

or "think this about the way she dresses"...

or "think this about the way that she uses her phone"...

or.. and the list goes on.

I have put what others think about my parenting and about me above what my daughter perceives about her mother. I love her... but can she see that?? Pride. Can I just tell you that I hate Pride??? I was broken this morning before the Lord. I know that my pride has cost me some of the the close relationship that I could have with my daughter. It may have cost more than just a "some". I asked God this morning to use my humble apology and my confession to her about what God had shown me to accomplish His will in her life. I knew that I would probably not see the fruit now. But... in the long haul... I pray that God can use my brokenness over this to His glory and to accomplish His purpose in her life. I was right... she wasn't bursting with forgiveness... she didn't really even want to talk with me. But... she did acknowledge what I said.

Man... this parenting thing is so hard. If I had really known how hard it is... I wouldn't have made such good friends with Pride. It gets in the way. I want my daughter to see unconditional love from me. I want my daughter to receive grace and mercy from me. I want my daughter to KNOW how I truly feel about her... not how I react in a pool of emotion especially when it is rooted in what others will think about me.

I have sensed God telling me to "love her from afar". I don't really know what that means... but I know that if I don't get out of the way, He may have to knock me out of the way. I don't want that. But, I do want His will accomplished in her life.

Please pray for us. Please pray that I will allow God to remove the pride and replace it with a love that she will see. Pray that He will move in both of our hearts. And... if you have any advise on how to help Pride pack and leave town... please pass them on.

post signature