Sunday, August 31, 2008

An early morning conversation

For some of you this will make total sense... for others it may not. If you were a part of the Living Proof simulcast you may remember that Beth used this verse,

Isaiah 50:4-5
The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue to know the Word and sustain the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught,
The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.

She explained that she thinks about that verse as saying... I have not drawn back the covers and gone back to sleep when you wake me up to spend time with you. She gave a word picture of God looking down at us saying, "get up, don't stay in bed, get up, I want to spend time with you".

Well... this morning I looked over at the alarm clock and it said 5:29 am. I had told my husband last night to, " set it for 6am... although I should probably should get up at 5:30am". As I turned over to go back to sleep for that last 30 minutes... that verse popped into my head. So our conversation went a little like this...

God: "Don't turn back the covers, I want you to get up".

Me: "Lord, you know how tired I am." "I didn't sleep much yesterday morning when I got home from work." "You know that rest is important." "I will spend time with you when I get up at 6am." Thinking... I am sure that will be okay with God.

I closed my eyes and started to drift back off to sleep... only to hear in my heart,

God: "Who gives you rest?" "I do, now get up!"

Me: hearing my own words in my head, "I want to be God's YES girl"

So I ripped back the covers and got up. When my husband moved just enough for me to realize that he was awake... I said,

"You can turn off the alarm clock, I am getting up."

To only hear him say,


Me: "Because God woke me up."

Husband: grunt... sigh...

So... then as I left the bedroom and closed the door... I thought about what I had been studying last night before I went to bed. It comes from Beth Moore's study Living Beyond Yourself... If you live a crucified life for Christ... few will understand. I just laughed and thought... well, ain't that the truth.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

8 days down... 172 days to go

Well... I made it through the first full week of school. I know that it was actually my girls that really went to school, but it was ME that stayed home alone. I realized that I have never been home alone. When my son went to kindergarten on Monday, my first daughter was born on Thursday. When that daughter went off to school, my youngest daughter was born within 2 months. So... I have almost always had children at home with me.

As most of you know... I would prefer to have my children at home schooling with me. At my oldest daughter's request, I agreed to pray about allowing her to go to "regular" school. I felt quite confident that God would reassure me that we were doing exactly what He wanted. BUT, God clearly impressed upon my heart that this chapter of my life was closing... and a new chapter was coming. Not only did my oldest daughter go to school... my youngest did as well. So, my "new normal" life has begun.

I have gotten many things done that have been waiting for too long... like scrubbing the bathroom floors on my hands and knees with a sponge, cleaning out closets, and stuff like that. I almost have things finished... only one more closet to go.

The thing that I am looking forward to the most is being able to spend as much time with my Lord as I want to. In the past... I would get up early and start my quiet time, but when the children got up... I would get interrupted over and over. Now the only thing that interrupts me is the dryer buzzer, and I can ignore it or run turn it on for a little longer.

I am eagerly waiting for whatever the Lord has for me in this chapter of my life. I am reading Lysa Terkeurst's book, What Happens When Women Say YES to God, and more than anything in the world... I want to be God's "yes" girl. I want to have such a track record with God that He knows that He can ask something of me and my answer will be "Yes".

I got to thinking about this verse,

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 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"

There is no doubt that God has a plan for this chapter of my life. I will just continue to seek Him with my whole heart... knowing that I will find Him. He promises. And, He always keeps His Word.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Jenna

Today is my Jenna's birthday. She is 14 years old!! Where has the time gone?? I can remember the day that she was born. It was very early in the morning when we left for the hospital. We had to drop her brother off at Brad's parents on the way. She made her grand entrance like a pro surfer... after only three little tiny pushes. Come to think of it... nothing has really been that simple since. I should have recognized it as a sign. She was the most beautiful little thing I had ever seen. She was so little... her head was so little... we called her "peahead". I know that there are times that she thinks that I don't love her, (please tell me that other teens think that to despite all the things that you do to show it) I know that there are times that she doesn't agree with our rules and our disciples... but I assure her often that it is BECAUSE we love her that we do the things that we do.

Happy Birthday Jenna!! I love you so much!! I am so proud to be your momma!!

** Two posts for Tuesday... that is certainly a record for me.**

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Yes to God ON TUESDAY...

I know that pride is a sin... but I must tell you that after several weeks of posting my "Yes to God Tuesdays" post on Thursday or Friday... I am almost proud of myself. Please just forgive me for boasting...

This is part of a book study that we are doing on Lelia's blog. We are reading Lysa Terkeurst's book What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. Again... I have to tell you that this book is awesome. I have gotten so much out of it.

Chapter Fourteen Pressing Through the Pain

In this chapter, Lysa tells us about the death of her precious neighbor and her husband's pressing through the pain. She outlined the "pressing through" process.

"I knew Ken had been crying out to the Lord to fill in the gaps Mary left.... Ken prayed expectantly. He expected God to answer and therefore was able to recognize the answer when it came."

I loved her statement...

But my greatest secret desire must always be for more of God in my life.

Now, this is my greatest desire right now. I want God more than I want anything else in my life. It is only Him that can satisfy all of my needs without getting weary of my need. I keep telling God that I want to be His "yes girl". I want so much to be obedient to Him that He knows that He can count on me. That He can ask me something and know that I will always answer "yes" to Him. I have long way to go... but it is the desire of my heart.

Then, I was thrilled at her statement...

If your desire is for more of Him, you can rest assured that He is working to show you something wonderful right now.

I am watching and waiting.

Chapter Fifteen God Isn't Surprised by Death

While talking about the seed, Lysa says this...

" What would have happened had the seed resisted God and retained its original shape?? It would have avoided the trauma of change, but think of all it would have missed out on. It would never have known God's best."

How many times have I resisted God... and stayed the way that I am... and missed out on what He had for me?? I hate to think!

These were powerful statements...

God is good. He is way more interested in developing our characters to match our calling than in manipulating our circumstances to make us happy.

Happy is so temporary... I would rather have character any day. But golly... it is hard to go through the process.

At times like this, I have to live my life based on the truth of who God says He is and not my feelings.

Truth is truth. God is good. God's good is never dependent on the circumstances around me. He will never be anything but good. No matter what my feelings say. I am so comforted in this. It allows me to rest in whatever happens, knowing that God's goodness is fact. If the outcome of my circumstances could not prove His goodness... He would not have allowed it. Period. What a stress reliever.

Brokenness is what must happen before God can put the pieces back together in the way that He can shine through the best.

I have suffered some heartache and brokenness in my life... but God has always brought me through it... better on the other side. Better in Him. I am counting on that fact for my current sufferings. He has never failed in this. I don't expect that He will start now.

I just want God. I want as much of Him here on this side of eternity that I can possibly have. I want Him.

If you want to see how these two chapters have touched others doing this book study click here.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Yes to God... on whatever day it is

I cannot believe that it has been a week since I have posted. I think that all 5 or so of you that read this blog regularly must think that I have fallen off the face of the earth... but that is not true. This week has been quite an adjustment for me and my family.

Wednesday both my girls started to public school. I think that most of you know that we have homeschooled for the last 6 06 7 years. Wow!! This has been different.

I know that you think that without them in the house that I should have plenty of time to blog and read blogs... but I wouldn't allow myself to even log onto the computer until all of my chores were done. I know myself too well... once I start... I don't move until someone makes me move. I still haven't finished my chores... but I decided to take a little break to explain what is going on, and to write about the chapters in our book study; What Happens When Women Walk in Faith.

This book is awesome. If you haven't read it you need to run out to the store and get it right away.

Chapter Twelve Learning to Lead

At first I wasn't even sure that this chapter would apply to me since it is not my lifelong goal to be a leader... but with one simple comment Lysa put that theory to rest.

God is calling you to live out His dream for you, and part of the dream is to lead. As we seek to believe God like never before, We WILL set an example for others to follow.

That makes us leaders... like it or not... there are always people watching me... watching you... seeing if what we talk about it real. That alone makes us their leader. That is a big responsibility.

The next comment that really spoke truth to me is...

When you experience God working through you despite your human shortcomings, your confidence in Him and His abilities will grow more than ever before.

I can tell you that when I started having a little Bible study in my home on Tuesday nights that I knew that I was totally under qualified. From the moment that I invited the people that I wanted to come... to this very day... God has shown me that this is not about what I want... This is HIS plan. Not one person that I had hoped would be a part of this study comes to this study... BUT everyone that God wanted to be a part of this study group is here. IT is ALL about His plan. I have seen God work in these ladies lives like nothing I have ever seen before. I am awed every single week as He allows me to be a witness to His work. Even weeks that I am not prepared myself for class... God shows up and does His thing. My confidence in Him and His ability have grown unbelievably.

God has been speaking to me for a while about this next thing...

That reaction is the real litmus test revealing the condition of my heart.

Lysa is referring to the way that we react to stressful situations. It is easy to be obedient and godly when things are going easy... it is when the stress is turned up a notch that the real condition of my heart is revealed. YUCK!! I really hate that. Way too often my reaction doesn't show the part of me that I would like others to see... but it is showing the condition of my heart. I don't want to just act right on the outside... I want God to see right on the inside as well. It is never going to be enough for me to do right... I want to BE right with God.

Lysa really stirred up my heart with this...

Moses desired God's presence more that he desired to enter the promised land. In Exodus 33:18-23, Moses' secret desire to see God comes to pass. Though he only got to see His back, he saw God nonetheless. Once he saw God, everything else paled in comparison. Maybe this is why being excluded from the promised land didn't appear to rattle him.

Well... doesn't that just say it all. God's presence is far better than anything that looks good to the world. I would just as soon stay where I am and know God's awesome presence than to be rich in the world's eyes. I do pray that things ease up with our finances... but if I have to make the choice of seeing and knowing God like things are, or for things to get lots better and lose that... well... I am choosing God.

Okay... and how come I never realized that God did allow Moses to come into the land of promise?? At the transfiguration... He was standing in the promised land with Jesus himself. What?? How come I never saw that??? Thanks so much Lysa.

Lysa then pointed out...

The only thing Moses lacked from his Egyptian upbringing was a close walk with God. Moses' 40 years in the desert gave God ample time to remedy that situation.

Many times I feel like I have been taken out back of the woodshed by God to remedy a situation that I find myself in. His sole purpose is to help me walk closer to Him. It is all worth the beating or the detour that God uses to bring us closer to Him.

Chapter Thirteen Death Does Not Mean Defeat

Lysa tells us of a time that she felt like her world was coming to an end... only to realize that it was God's plan for something better.

The very things that feel like death are really a birth of something so much better.

What an awesome statement. I need to write that on an index card as soon as I finish this post. I need to remind myself of that every time I think things aren't going like I want them to. God's way may not be the shortest... but it is the ordained route. I love that.

I have truly loved this study. I really hate that I can't seem to get my post ready by Tuesday... but I will tell you that the truths of this book stay with me all week long. Check out the other ladies comments by clicking here.

I hope that there aren't too many typos or errors... I have got to get up and do the rest of my chores. Sorry....

With lots of love,

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Yes to God Tuesday... on Friday this time

This post is part of a book study that is going on at Lelia's blog. We are reading and discussing What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa Terkeurst. Awesome book!! This week we read chapters ten and eleven.

Chapter Ten Roadblocks and Reassurances

This chapter's timing was unbelievable. I was sitting... waiting... on an uncomfortable situation to take place between a neighbor and myself. I was so desperate to allow God to work in me to lessen the tension between us.... and I am not even sure how the tension got there. I have started this post several times... but I want to make sure that if my neighbor were to find this post that she would not be offended. Anyway... back to my story. I actually called my husband and my mom to asked for prayer as I drove to the place where we would end up being together. As I sat there waiting... praying.... begging God to help me to honor Him and to bring Him glory, I picked up my book to read. I had already read the first several pages of this chapter, but I decided to go back and refresh my memory with what I had already read. There IT was on page 97... the first sentence that I had underlined...

What enemy do you need to love at this moment? Maybe it's a neighbor, a prodigal child, an angry spouse, or an unforgiving friend.

Well... immediately I felt God's presence and His assurance that I would be able to honor Him in this situation. Things went great.

These next few statements really spoke to me as well...

We grow by embracing God's plans for the circumstances and allowing Him to have His full way in us.

Surrender what He is requiring from you.

This hard place you are in is not a distraction. You are not being sidetracked. This is His way.

He carried us into this hard place, this exile of sorts, and He will carry us back out.

It is such a comfort to know that the circumstances that I am facing... with my nieghbor, with my family, with everything in my life... God is there with me. Not only is He there.... He is carrying out His plan for my life. I find it easier to embrace the hard times when I know that He is growing me for His glory. I don't like all of the circumstances... but I know that they are actually FOR me.
What I often see as roadblocks are actually building blocks to make me more like His Son.

Chapter eleven God Will Make a Way

This next statement from Lysa is my new life motto... I know that it is easier said than done... but I WANT this.

Our feelings do not have to dictate our choices.

Her word picture that popped into her head as their case was dismissed in court brought me to tears...

One day Jesus will stand between us and our sin, and because of His blood shed on the cross we will hear, "Case dismissed!!". What a glorious day that will be.

This book has been an awesome study. If you are interested in what others learned from these chapters... click here

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Real Life....

Please know that my lack of posting about my Yes to God Tuesday chapters is in no way an indication of how much God is using this book in my life. This book has been right on target for each day that I have read.... My usual life has been interrupted by preparations for my girls to go to school next week. Man... I didn't realize how easy we have had it for the last 6 or 7 years when we got to stay home and skip the "back to school" stuff. This is enough to send me back to bed for the week... and the homework and drama hasn't even started yet.

I will hopefully be able to post my chapter discussion sometime today... or at least while I am at work tonight... check back... it will eventually make it here.

In the meantime... I will be out fighting over the last pair of 3/4 khaki uniform pants that I can find in the stores. Please pray.... Who would have thought that every pair of 3/4 pants in Rock Hill, SC would be sold out. AND... I can promise you that it is not because I have bought them for myself!!!

***update*** I found the last pair of 3/4 pants in Rock Hill.... only to find that they fell off of her!! So... now to find a smaller size. (I didn't even know that they made smaller sizes than 3/4)

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

It is well with my soul....

For the sake of being real... I often will mention the problems that we go through in my family. The problems are real, and so am I. I think this is the way that God wants us to be. God desires to use us... how can He use us to point a dying world to Him if we pretend to be perfect??? So... with that said, I wanted to add this...

Early on, when my husband lost lots and lots of income... God so graciously led me to this scripture,

Philippians 1:18b-20
"Yes, I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death."

I knew as soon as I read this... that what was happening in our family was for OUR deliverance. This was "FOR" us and not "TO" us. There are many things that we needed to be delivered from.... some being..... pride, materialism, self reliance, sporadic prayer lives, dependence on self, and many others. So... I need to just say... this is all well with my soul.

Do I like it?? "NO!"

Would I love for it to be over? "YES!"

Do I love God enough to go through this with Him? "ABSOLUTELY YES"

Will I continue to love Him and serve Him if things never change? "You better believe it!!"

God has shown Himself faithful to me over and over. Is it always in a financial way??? No.

BUT... I will take God's faithfulness... to meet me every morning in "our spot", or to show Himself to me through His Word, or to remind me of His love in a song, or to fill my spirit with a desire to know Him better and love Him more... OVER a financial miracle ANYTIME!!!

By the worlds standards... we are a disaster. By God's standards... we are right where He wants us to be. This is plan A. There is no plan B. This can and will be used for God's glory. I will not allow the enemy to convince me that God doesn't care about us or love us... actually it has convinced me of the opposite,

God cares so much about us, that He will not allow us to continue on the path that we were on... He wants to change us. He wants to change us into the likeness of His precious Son.

I can accept that. I can accept all of this hardship knowing that God wants us to go through this for His glory.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us,

"Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

So... I can thank God for the circumstances that we find ourselves in right now. He is showing me things about Himself that I may not have ever known without this. So... I covet your prayers... for us to be close to God... and to hear His voice when He teaches us... not for this to just go away. I want to be where God wants us to be. This will be over when He chooses to allow it to be over. Or, if it never changes... I will still love Him and serve Him. BUT... I want us to be different on the other side of this. I want God to deliver us from the things that He sees in us that cannot be used by Him.

This is really well with my soul.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yes to God Tuesday... on Wednesday 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. Each week we read two chapters and discuss what really spoke to us. This week we are finishing up the Famine Phase and beginning the Believing Phase. This is a great book... an easy read. It is not too late to join in with us if you would like.

Chapter 8 Refusing to Get Bogged Down in Bitterness

Lysa started off the chapter by reminding us that the Famine phase is a season of learning to depend on God. She then pointed out:

"As a result, things will be stripped from you that hinder the relationship He wants to have with you. You may experience a shake-up in your finances, your friendships, your position of leadership, your expectations, or one of a thousand other things that we put our trust in. God wants our complete trust. So whenever He strips something away, He does it for our good and not to harm us."

Well... we seem to be in a shake-up stage at our house. But... I will have to say that God chose just the right things to shake-up to get my attention. I have been forced to trust Him completely... not our finances (an understatement), not my husband, not my friends, not my family, only HIM. He is the only one that I can take my heartaches to. He knows my situation... and offers no condemnation.

Not being bitter is a choice... a conscious choice not something that comes naturally. Lysa talks about Joseph in Egypt and says,

"He chose not to. (be bitter) He made the conscious choice to honor God with his actions and his attitudes, and God honored him. Notice that God didn't immediately pluck him from the situation but rather honored him in the situation. How many times do we ask God to take away an unpleasant circumstance, and He doesn't?? Seek to honor him and then remember to look for the ways He's honoring you, not by removing you but by sending blessings to you in that place."

Honoring God is a choice that has to be made. He will not force us to make it... but will honor us when we make it.

Lysa also reminds us,

"People want to see if your claims about God's faithfulness hold true even when life gets hard."

"They (her Liberian sons) didn't get stuck in the bitterness that surely came knocking at the doors of their hearts."

You can bet that bitterness will come knocking at our hearts door any time there is a shake-up. If we focus on "Me" and not on God... we will most likely open the door when bitterness knocks.

Chapter 9 A Most Unlikely Path

Many times, the things that I plan.... well, they just don't come to pass. They might have been good plans... plans to do "something" for God... plans for my family... plans for a certain amount of money I have stashed away... but something goes wrong... or at least according to MY plans. Lysa reminds us,

"God knows the best routes for us. He sees dangers and temptations that we don't see along the way. Sometimes we get frustrated with God when He takes us through places we hadn't planned on going. His route sometimes appears to be out of the way, inconvenient, tiresome, and confusing."

I love the part where Lysa tells us,

"Feelings will follow correct behaviors, not the other way around. Make right choices to honor God, and your feelings will eventually catch up."

I really needed to hear this again... I need to make it a habit. I have done this in the past about my children going to public school... but right now... doing the right thing and honoring God are hiding behind my "not so happy" feelings. I know what the right thing is... I am just not following through with my actions. I need to just do the right thing... and my feelings will catch up later.

Okay... I know that this post has been long, but I couldn't pass up this next quote,

"Have you ever dared to ask this? Have you ever dared to say to God, Lord, whatever Your will for my life is, that is what I want? Believing God is not for the weak at heart. It's only for those who want to discover the rich blessings of walking close enough to God to hear the constant drumming of His heartbeat."

That speaks for itself. I want to be walking so close to God that I can hear the constant drumming of His heart. I want to hear that on a daily basis... not just once in a while.

There are many other things that I would like to list... but this has been pretty long. I also want to tell you about the Beth Moore simulcast... but I will have to do that later.

If you want to see what spoke to others doing this study... just click here.

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