Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Getting Real

While visiting Faith at The Great Adventure (see my sidebar) and commenting on her post where she laments the fact that her posts are so "unedited" I felt a strong "Post Urge" come on!

Faith is currently in the midst of a very personal and painful battle with MS and undergoing daily injections for her treatment. She has very bravely shared with everyone in "blogland" about her fear of needles and the difficulty she's having with her treatments. She's also shared that she's struggled with believing and making real in her circumstances the truth that our Jesus' strength is made perfect in our weakness. I applaud her transparency and honesty. I applaud her willingness to share the raw, unadulterated difficulties that accompany every life...including the life of faith!

I started this post before the Women of Faith Conference (WOF) in Atlanta this past weekend. The merry-go-round was on turbo and I wasn't able to finish. But the thoughts Faith's post prompted were perfectly timed for WOF. The Lord was preparing me for what He would say to me very personally through the speakers and musicians.

This life is to be lived out in authenticity before our sisters and brothers in Christ, as well as before the lost world. It's only through our raw honesty about our struggles, doubts, and sins that we are able to share the comfort we receive. And that comfort is THE LORD, HIMSELF. (This is what Beth Moore spoke about and I'll have more to say about that later....).

When we get real and remove our "Perfect Christian" mask we have so much more to offer the world. We make ourselves vulnerable in a way that Jesus did when He put on flesh and became a man. We are privileged to share in that "suffering" with our Creator and Savior. And we're even more privileged to share the Lord, Himself, with those around us who are hurting and in need of that Divine Grace.

My sister-in-the-faith, Faith, is aptly named. I'm thankful for her and for the other women the Lord has brought into my life who are willing to live out their lives with raw authenticity. I want to be more like them for then I will be more like JESUS...the most authentic example of all.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Out of Pocket

The Family Merry-Go-'Round has been on "turbo" around here...but I've not forgotten my blog...just been distracted and otherwise occupied. Last night I returned from the Atlanta, GA Women of Faith Conference (and pre-conference with Beth Moore)! What an awesome BLESSING this was! I was privileged to attend with a group of ladies from our church. I'm in SELAH mode--Big Time. But I feel some posts churning.

The weekend previous we had a house full of company...all my immediate family...13 of us!!! We had lots of fun celebrating Daddy's 64th and my 40th birthdays!

One thing I returned from Atlanta with is a bad cold/bronchitis/ cough/crud...The Lord graced me with exactly what I needed for the conference weekend...but now I need rest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Heart Melters

Our Ladies' Bible Study group met today. As you may recall, we are working through For Women Only: The Bible Study by Shaunti Feldhahn. We all knew today would be interesting. This week we studied God's word regarding our intimate, physical relationship with our husbands and the differences in how men and women view this important element of marriage. I know, I're thinking that all men want is s**, all they think about is s**, can't they ever think about anything else, etc., etc. But what Shaunti points out is that yes, men do think about s** frequently...but not in the way we think they do.

Have you ever noticed that you think you know what your man is thinking or feeling? Granted, we may intuit things about our men and we do come to learn about their inner workings as we journey together with them through marriage. However, one thing that really hit me this week is that we women tend to think that our men think about things the same way/in the same frame that we do. But they don't. As Shaunti pointed out, it is being DESIRED that our men really crave. They need the nurture and confidence that our desire for them communicates. This concept is a new one that the Lord has revealed to me in several venues over the last months. And as one of the ladies so directly put it in our discussion today, "[Our husbands] aren't really all that different from us." We just communicate our needs differently, frame our references differently, and define terms differently. My man wants to be needed and wanted by me, too. He just has a different expression of this deep need. And of course, we must remember that the focus of this study is decidedly one-sided...HIS side. We're learning to focus our attention on the gift the Lord has given us in our spouse.

Our concluding exercise was to listen to the song Fly by Sara Groves. What a song! After we listened we all agreed that those words are HEART MELTERS for us. Our leader challenged us to spend a few minutes thinking about and then writing what our husband's "heart melters" would be.

Here are the lyrics to Sara Groves' song:

Speak in a summer tone
Pause in the after glow
Tenderly whisper my name
Tell me once again why I am your bride
So I can fly
So I can fly

Pause in your busy day
Look extra long my way
Wink at me across the room
Kiss me longer
Touch my arm when I am by your side
So I can fly
So I can fly

Oh how the little things
Strengthen my tiny wings
Help me to take on the world

When you love me there's nothing I wouldn't try
I might even fly
I might even fly
I might even fly

Several of the ladies in our group shared their responses to our exercise...what the Lord gave them as their husband's "heart melters." I was blessed to tears...first by the bravery of the women who shared and second by the rawness and tenderness of the longings expressed. I'm not ready yet to share what I wrote, especially in this very public forum. But I'm pondering the words I penned and asking the Lord to clarify and enrich them. My heart's desire is to truly be DH's heart melter.

That pure passion that Creator God planned for usin marriage is a Gift. It's time for us to reclaim that gift from the enemy of our souls. It's time we enjoy the treasure hidden in these earthly vessels. It's time we walk in Belief and Freedom and prepare ourselves to meet our eternal Bridegroom. HE is our ultimate heart melter.

Endnote: If I could figure out how, I'd insert the actual song so you could HEAR's lovely. The extra effort to "google" it yourself will be worthwhile!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Short List...That Could be LONG

My Sistah in the Lord, Angela at Refresh My Soul (see sidebar), tagged me quite a few days ago to list 5 things I really "dig" about Jesus.

Our family has been on the road a bunch (thus the lack of posts) and I've been pondering this tag quite a bit. There's so much to love about my's a small sampling:

1. His NAME...There truly is just something about that name! Jesus...the name at which every knee will bow, every tongue confess "He Is Lord"....Bright Morning Star, Suffering Servant, Friend, Comforter, Overcomer, Redeemer, Creator, Covenant Maker, Author, Finisher, End, Beginning, Peace, Counselor, Wonderful, Almighty, Ancient of Days, Sustainer, Truth, Lover of my soul, Gentle, Kind, Just, Powerful, Shelter, Strong Tower, Exact Representation of God's Glory...the list goes on, as does my desire to know Him more and more!

2. His COMPASSION...He associated with the motliest of the motley...the woman married five times and living with yet another, tax collectors, lepers, outcasts of every description (this is the category in which I picture myself)....As He spent time with this group His concerns were for their lostness, their hurts and pains, their neediness...I want to see others through His eyes and extend to them His compassion.

3. His WORD...It is TRUTH and it is TRUE...Would that my words reflect His truth and trueness to those around me...especially to my children.

4. His FRIENDSHIP...Jesus had friends and HAS friends. It is such a privilege to be called a friend of God. We were blessed to hear a missionary speak at our former church this past weekend while we were visiting our home state. This missionary works in Northern Africa. Did you know that our God's desire and provision for friendship with us, His creation, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for Muslims to accepting Christ? In the Muslim's view God cannot LOVE people because that would imply that God would experience SUFFERING and PAIN along with humankind. I am a friend of God and I'm so grateful He's willing to share my every burden. (And the song I Am a Friend of God is one of my most favorite favs!)

5. His GIFTS...Some might say that's not very "spiritual." Yet EVERY good and perfect gift comes from above. I LOVE the gifts Jesus has given me and I know they've come straight from His hand: my husband, my children, my family of faith (both near and far), my friends, my family heritage, my parents and my siblings, all my "in-loves" (as opposed to in-laws), my church, my pastors, my co-laborers in the kingdom, music, books, my mini-van, my favorite squishy pillow, the list goes on and on and on...

Just like my Jesus...He goes on and on and on....

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Offended Mind; Revealed Heart

Most anyone who has entered into a conversation with me about anything God-related has probably heard me quote Jack Deere. "God offends our minds to reveal our hearts." So long ago was my first encounter with Deere's writings and teachings that I can't remember if I read this in one of his books or if I heard it on one of his teaching tapes. No matter. I believe there is deep truth in this simple statement and I often find myself pondering it.

This evening was one such occasion. However, it wasn't merely a passing pondering or a thought regarding someone else. MY mind was offended and MY heart was revealed. Ouch! Double Ouch! The Spirit then reminded of a recent post at The Small Scribbler (see sidebar) about potholes--"deep... greedy...cavernous...potholes." I had fallen right in to the pothole called PRIDE.

Regulary I visit several blogs...some belonging to a couple of my dearest sisters in the Lord...some belonging to "rubber stamping stars." The latter provide inspiration and motivation for my forays into card making and paper crafting. I recently happened upon a new stamping/crafting blogger. And she has become one of my favorites in the stamping world. Her creations amaze me. Not only does she stamp, she has two adorable boys, an adoring husband, and a household to run, but she also finds time to make LOTS of handmade gifts and favors...from hand-knit or crocheted baby hats for a charity group, to Japanese thimbles and monogrammed stationary sets. Just yesterday she posted a "blog candy" opportunity as she has reached quite a milestone on her blog--11,111 hits! Entering to win her candy was simple...reply to her post. To have more entries for her drawing one could answer a few questions she listed (mostly relating to how you found her site, etc.). However, another way to receive an entry was to link to her blog from yours. I replied to her post and then I thought about linking to her blog...I thought...and thought...and thought.

That's when I fell into the pothole...full force. I gave some namby-pamby comment that I'd love to link "to [her] blog from mine, but mine isn't really about stamping, though I do have SCS in my blog roll." I further invited her to email me and I'd give her a link to my blog so she could peruse it. Did I give her a description of my blog? NO! Did I mention at all the purpose of my blog--to ADORE, AMPLIFY, and ADMIRE the KING OF KINGS? NO!

I didn't want to offend my newly-found cyber-friend (who happens to live on the WEST COAST), yet I was clearly willing to offend the One who saved me!!! Forgive me, Lord! So often I fall into the pothole of pride and man-pleasing!

The Small Scribbler's observations about potholes are right on. They are deep. Often when faced with temptation to sin, we dangle a few toes over the edge and suddenly find ourselves knee-deep in a mess! They are greedy. Temption (and the author thereof) is rarely content with a passing glance. It's the repeated drive-overs--our thoughts, our feelings, our actions--that cause the asphalt to weaken and give way to pressure. They are cavernous. Temptation and sin can be covered over again and again, just like the recurring potholes in Smallville. And just like a filling covering over an abcessed tooth, the rot eventually wins out.

Take Heart! There is Hope for the potholes in our lives. His name is Jesus. He wants to fill in all those holes with living water and to enable us to walk on top of those temptations, victoriously.

Praise God, His mercies are new every day. Praise God, He is faithful even when I am not. Praise God, His forgiveness flows in unending waves. Praise God, it is only through my sweet Jesus' grace and love that I may ever glide over that pothole called pride and not fall right in! Every failure and every victory belong to Him. He is the Faithful one!

Monday, July 2, 2007


No one I know would ever describe me as overly patriotic. Now that doesn't mean I don't love the freedom I enjoy, nor does it mean that I believe that freedom is "free." However, I've never been one to decorate my house for the 4th of July or Memorial Day, and I don't listen to Sousa marches on a regular basis. This weekend my thoughts on patriotism were challenged and inspired.

Our church presented a special patriotic service yesterday morning. The choir, of which I am a part, has been practicing the music for what seems like months now. And I must admit, "Armed Services Medley" has never been one of my favorites. One night in choir I asked myself what this song had to do with worship even. The Lord quickly reminded me that everything is not always about me. Through a great post at Notes from the Soul (see my sidebar for the link), the Lord reminded me to submit to the authority He's placed above me and to make sure I have a contrite heart in worship...not a boastful one.

As the choir sang and the orchestra played the "Armed Services Medley" our pastor invited anyone who had served in any branch of the military to come to the stage and stand beside the flag of that branch. What an overwhelming sight that was. Tears came to my eyes immediately as I saw the flood of men and women approaching the stage. During the 9:30 service it was "standing room only" on that stage. At the later service it was crowded still. As those brave men and women proudly stood beside the flags of their comrades, I realized how important this service was to them. I realized that the Lord had put this together to honor and bless those men and women. And I was once again reminded that freedom IS NOT FREE.

Our Sr. Pastor and our Worship Pastor did a great job of planning a service that focused our attention on our Heavenly Father and the freedom we may all experience at Christ's expense, as well as the freedoms we enjoy in this country. And though there are disagreements and arguments in some circles as to whether or not our Founding Fathers were really Christians, those who have fought over the centuries to preserve our nation have done so to protect our freedom to exercise our Faith openly. For that I am eternally grateful.

In pondering my personal freedom I was reminded of the fifth chapter of Galatians:

"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Gal. 5:1, NASB)

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Gal. 5:13, NASB)

Freedom is another of life's paradoxes involves enjoying ALL that God has to the fullest, for the sake of being free, and it involves sacrificial service to others....That is the life of freedom I wish to live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Family Fun

We've had a WHIRLWIND around here the past several days. DH's parents and our nephew came to town for a visit.

What does this mean? First and foremost it means I temporarily become the parent of only two children. Our youngest son absolutely adores his Papa (and Grandma, too). They are an inseparable pair. Whatever Papa says goes and Papa's arms, legs, lap, and neck become the favorite resting place for my little prince's head or arms or legs or runny nose (there is justice in this world ;) ). I should also add that our youngest ds is the ONLY of Papa's nine marvelous grandchildren to be on the receiving end (pun intended) of a "Papa diaper change" and "Papa fanny cleaning" following a bathroom sitting. Papa's directions and desires supersede all others. DH and I pretty much become invisible people. And I wouldn't trade this for anything!!! My children are blessed with the most generous, adoring, involved grandparents in the world. When in the presence of these wonderful people my kids experience what I am sure is one of the closest earthly expressions of their heavenly Father's extravagant love for them. I'm truly grateful they have this blessing. I, too, was privileged to receive extravagant love from grandparents and know this had a profound effect on my relationship with my heavenly Father.

What else does the visit mean? I've been RUNNING THE ROADS!!! But I guess that's not altogether different for our single-driver family. It's just that last night the roads back from DOLLYWOOD were dark, winding, unfamiliar mountain roads and my shoes and feet were sogging wet. Did I mention our arrival a "Casa de Amo" occurred around 1:30 AM? You guessed it, I succumbed to pressure and actually rode the "River Rampage!"

Dollywood was lots of fun and the Lord blessed us with a great time! We got to see a show that Grandma and Papa especially enjoyed...all while the deluge went on outside. By the time we left the show and ate the air was cooler and the crowds were smaller. More rides for the kids, less sweat for me!!! Yeah! I took the deluge to be a sign in the spiritual of that which we received from our heavenly Father and our earthly parents...showers of blessings!

(Side note: One day is inadequate to fully enjoy all that Dollywood has to offer...but it was a great appetite whetter.)

Our oldest will be returning to NC with his grandparents for an extended solo visit. He has wanted to do this for some time. And that fact alone convinces me it's a good thing to do, as he is our "homiest body." I view this as a rite of passage of sorts for him and maybe me, too. He'll be fine, he'll learn lots from Papa on the farm, and he'll grow one step closer to manhood. That's the part that gets me sometimes. A noble young man of faith is what I see the Lord growing before my very eyes.

The youngest chastised his cousin today for not sharing his Mountain Dew by saying, "God says to share your blessings." Thanks for reading as I shared. God is good!!!