Monday, June 29, 2015

Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now

The military life is full of separations. The anticipation of a homecoming gets the adrenaline going!  It doesn't matter if it's weekend drill, deployment, or AT; when it's time to be reunited, nothing will stop you. Not even this....
This weekend storm brought flash flooding and 92 mph wind gusts.  But it wasn't going to keep me from picking up my Soldier from AT!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Dream

We start out dreaming.

As children, we get asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

We are often told by those that love us, "You can do anything you set your mind to. Just follow your dreams."

Follow your dreams.

My dream was to get married. Have 3 children: 2 boys and a girl. To teach.

As a young girl and teenager, that's what I wanted out of life.  I never thought much more than that.

However, my dreams became reality based on God's will for my life.  I'm married. I'm teaching. I have three children....3 sons.  I am the wife of an Army Chaplain. And I want more.  As an adult, I have dreams for my future, things I want to accomplish.

I've learned to follow God's lead and work to become the woman He wants me to be.  And sometimes, that means letting go of dreams or having new ones.

Dreams are a good thing.  But they can become idols if we let them.  We aren't meant to do everything we want.  We are meant to follow God's will.  Sometimes His answer to our dreams and plans are, "No. That's not what's best."  That my friend can be a hard pill to swallow.


Thank you for joining me for this week's Five Minute Friday post.  I am so glad you stopped by.  I would love for you to join in.  You can leave me a comment and then head over to katemotaung.com to join in this wonderful community of folks who spend five minutes each week writing what comes to mind when given a one word prompt.  If you are joining me directly from FMF, be sure I am able to link up to you and read your post as well.



Friday, June 19, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Fear

"Mama! Come lay down with me."

"Why?" I ask.

"Because I'm afraid."



Fear.

It sets in early.  I know by these common nighttime pleas from my little ones.

I tell them there is nothing to be afraid of.

I ask, "What are you afraid of?"

My son will answer, "The dark."

"You know what's in the dark?" I ask.

"No. What?" is their terrified reply.

"The same stuff that's there in the light."



They usually don't know how to respond to that.

But I think about it now that these words are flowing off the laptop keys.



The light. The Light.

Jesus Christ.

He is there with us in our darkest moments.

He is there with us on our brightest days.

He is there.

Always.

I don't know how many times the Bible says it, but so many times, God says, "Do not be afraid." Whether those are His words or the words of the angels He sends, God reminds us there is nothing to fear.  He is with us always.


I know who goes before me.  I know who stands behind.

That's God.  He's our light. He's our rock.  He's our protector.  With Him by our side, there is nothing to fear.



Thank you so much for joining me for this Five Minute Friday. I can't wait to hear from you!  Don't forget, if you haven't already......go on over to katemotaung.com to join in the fun.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

How Many "Likes" Can I Get?

I have this love/hate relationship with social media.  I love blogging. I love connecting with others.  I love to spread encouragement, laughter, and the message of Jesus through technology.


But I hate the anger that is spread through social media. I hate the negativity.  I hate the finger pointing and blaming.

Most of all.....

I hate how sometimes I forget why I click post.

Way back when I started this blog, I wanted it to honor and glorify Christ.  That was the deal I made with God (Quit laughing. I know I'm not the only one who makes deals with God.)

I try to be real.

Like the time I ruined my witness during Pee Wee baseball.

Do you remember the time I defended public schools?

Or when I was feeling vulnerable and left out after returning to work after maternity leave?

Oh, and there was that time I experienced my first deployment as a military wife.

And let's not forget about my miscarriage.

I wrote those posts and clicked Publish to share, to encourage, to mend the soul.  Many times, my posts are for me and no one else.  If they are helpful, wonderful. I'm glad I was a blessing to you.  But for me, writing is an escape, a release.  It soothes me. It calms me. It brings me back to reality.

Reality.

In reality....life is hard. People are mean. There is sin and and hatred. There's so much "stuff" going on and spreading like wildfire that so many Christians cry out, "Jesus! Please come back now!'

And in all this reality, so many people click that post button wanting to see how many "Likes" they can get.

I admit it.

Sometimes I do too. I don't do it at anyone else's expense. I don't do it to humiliate or discourage. I don't do it to spread hatred and anger.  Sometimes I just want people to like what I have to say. Sometimes I want people to like my picture I am sharing.

Sometimes I forget that it isn't about me, but about Christ.

This all really built up when I wrote a post recently about my frustrations about how Christians are badmouthed simply because they disagree with the beliefs or lifestyles of others.  Honestly, I thought it was a really good post and that people would share it if they were too afraid to speak up for Christ.  I did the dirty work so to speak.  All they had to do was click "Like" and "Share."

Here are my stats on that post:

According to Blogger,  52 people read the post. There were no comments.

According to Facebook, there was 1 Share (2 if you count the one I shared from the blog Facebook page) and 2 Likes and 2 Comments (from the people that Liked it).


I'll admit it.

I was a bit disappointed.  After all, so many things that spread hatred, anger, and negativity are spreading like wildfire on social media.  And what???? I stood up for Christians who are tired of being pushed around for simply saying, "I don't agree," and it basically spread to a few folks.

I thought that was pretty sad.

But honestly, why did I click Publish?  Was it to get a million Likes or to stand up for Jesus?

Hard question.  It shouldn't be, but it is.

I was standing up for Jesus, but I also wanted to get a bunch of Likes and Shares too.  Hypocritical, I know.

So where is that happy medium.  Can't I do both?  I think for me, I have to realize and understand that it doesn't matter how many Likes and Shares I get. What matters is that I spread the message for Christ.  That even though one person might read my post, that one person was hopefully touched.


And as I write these words, I am telling myself the same thing I told Jeff.  He was frustrated about having to attend AT.  He told me that he felt like it didn't matter if he was there or not, that he wouldn't be missed.  His commanders don't even put Chapel on the schedule during battle assembly, and when he does get to have one, no more than 6-8 Soldiers show up.  I told him that was ok. That was 6-8 Soldiers that heard the message of Christ.  It's not about quantity. It's about quality.


So, in essence, that is what I am reminding myself.  It isn't about how many Likes and Shares I get on social media. It's about reaching at least one person....encouraging that person or showing the love of Christ to that person.  Sometimes that person might be me. Sometimes it might be you.  I have to remember.....It isn't about quantity. It's about quality.



Friday, June 12, 2015

Five Minute Friday: World



This world we live in...sometimes it seems so big and other times, so small.

Some people have a desire to go out and conquer the world.  Others, just to do their small part and live peacefully in it.

Some people think the world absolutely revolves around them.  Others feel like no one in the world even knows they exist.

But this world we live in is a gift.  God created it.  He created it for us to enjoy. He created it for us to take care of. He created it for his glory.

In my little part of the world, I want to make a difference.  Maybe you do too.  Sometimes we feel like we have to do great big things in order to change the world.  But we don't. Sometimes those small things make a big difference.

There's some saying about how to someone, we are their whole world.  And isn't that true? If you really stop to think about it.....To somebody....you....me....we are all the difference in their world.  We make them glad to be here.  We give them something to look forward to. We give them hope and love and encouragement.  For the most part, we will never really know what we mean to another person, but I really think we need to live as if we are someone's world. That they need us...They need us to show them the love of Christ.



Thank you for joining me for this week's Five Minute Friday post.  Don't forget to head over to katemotaung.com to join this wonderful community.



Friday, June 05, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Gift

"Life's a gift, and I don't intend to waste it."  Those are the words spoken by Jack Dawson as he dined with the first class passengers in Titantic.

What great words those are!

God's Word says that every good and perfect gift is from above and that's exactly what life is.  A good and perfect gift.

Not everything about our lives is good and perfect.  I know this from my own life and especially from the lives of those that I love that are struggling.

My sweet friend who is battling brain cancer sent me a text the other night.  Although she was at low place at that moment, our conversation was a gift.  She will never realize what a special person she is to me.  A true gift from God.

I love her. I admire her. I am blessed by her. I am thankful for her.

Although she is struggling, fighting this fight that no young mother should ever have to fight, I just have to believe, and encourage her to believe, that this difficult journey is also a gift in itself.  We may never truly understand or see the goodness in her journey, but I do know that she is changing lives.  Mine included.

When I look back on my life, I want to know that I didn't waste it.  During those mountaintop moments and in my darkest valleys, I want to take advantage of the gift of life and live it to the fullest.  The Bible speaks of the Valley of Blessings. And I think that's what we have to do in order to get through our valleys, our struggles, is to see that all though they are difficult, they are also blessings.  Difficult, I know, but God's will, His plan....it's perfect.


"Here's to making it count!"


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I'm a Christian

Yes, I am a Christian.  A Christ Follower. A Child of God.  Whatever you want to call it.

I made the choice to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.

I believe in the Bible. I believe the Bible.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

I believe that Jesus lived a perfect life.

I believe that Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross for my sins.

I believe that Jesus was buried in a tomb that was sealed with a large stone.

I believe the that three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the grave.

I believe that Jesus Christ is alive today.

Although I am a Christian, a believer, again, whatever you want to call it, I am also a sinner.

I am not perfect. I will never claim to be. I mess up every day. Just ask those who know me.

Having said all of this, I also want to say that I am tired.

I am tired of Christians being criticized for being Christians.

I am tired of reading and hearing how ALL Christians are racist and bigots and hypocrites and haters.

That simply is not true.

ALL
NEVER
ALWAYS
EVERY ONE
NO ONE
EVERY TIME

Those, My Friend, are dangerous words.

Can I ask you a few questions?

If you don't approve of alcohol, but you see someone drinking a beer or a glass of wine, does that make you a hater?

If you smoke cigarettes, but get upset with your teenager for doing the same thing, does that make you a hypocrite?

If you disagree with your coworkers political preference, does that you a bigot?

I can ask the tough questions, but I won't go there because I think you know what I am getting at.

I'm not vocal about my political beliefs or my opinion of homosexuality.  My opinion doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. If I disagree with you, that's what it is....a disagreement.  I am not judging you. NOT ALL Christians are judging you.  They are simply saying, "I don't agree with you."

Is that wrong?  Is it wrong to not agree with someone?  Does disagreeing make us bigots and racists and hypocrites and haters?

If it does, then we should all move to a little shack in the middle of no where and avoid human contact.

Seriously.

Who said we have to agree?  Who said we all have to be the same? Who said we all have to be alike?

I'm married. My husband and I don't agree on everything.  We don't hate each other.

I have three kids. They don't agree with me A LOT of the time. They think my rules are unfair. We don't hate each other.

I don't agree with my coworkers some times.  I don't agree with my church family some times. I don't hate them.

What matters in the grand scheme of things?

LOVE.

Whether you are a Christian or an atheist or a Muslim or whatever you are.....LOVE. When you agree, love. When you disagree, love.

In my little corner of the world, we call it Love the Sinner not the Sin. 

I can disagree with you and still love you. And just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I hate you.

Seriously.

It is possible. I live it every day.

You tell me that we live in America and have the right to express our opinions, but when Christians speak up, we are immediately told we are pushing our religion and beliefs on others and that we don't have the right to say what we believe and we are being judgmental hypocrites filled with hate.  That's a little harsh isn't it??? Just because we disagree.  Is that fair?

In the grand scheme of things, I am responsible for me and my actions.  I believe that we are all going to stand in judgement before God.  I don't have time to judge you.  I have my own sins to work on.  I just ask that the next time a Christian says, "I don't agree with you," that you will leave it at that and don't accuse ALL Christians of being judgmental hypocrites who hate those that don't share their beliefs.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

A Letter to My Students

Dear Student,

What a year it has been (You can insert the year that you were in my class).  There were tears and laughter (from me).  I bet you didn't know that about me did you?  I'm certain I didn't learn everything I needed to about you either.  I'm sorry for that.

Student, you are a part of me.  You think that just because you called me Mrs. Grimes that our relationship stops at the classroom door at 3:00.  It doesn't.

My heart smiled each time you slipped up and called me Mama, and my heart laughed when you slipped and called me Grandma.  My heart melted when I slipped in the hallway, and you lifted me up off the floor. Yes, you are a part of my heart.

I cried for you when I knew things weren't right at home and knew there was nothing I could do about it although I called the right officials.  Some things are just out of my hands.  I cried for you when you were sad. Do your remember that time you ran into my arms and cried, "I don't know why my mama doesn't want anything to do with me?"  I'll never forget that. My heart broke for you.


My Dearest Student, you are more than you will ever know.  You are priceless and full of potential.  That's why I pushed you. That's why I repeated, "Failure is NOT an option."  I tried to get you to understand that I lay claim to you from the moment your name is on my roster.  I want nothing but the best for you. That's why we had that visit from the police when you continued to steal from me.  I want to see your name in the paper your successes, not because you made the Police Beat.

I'm not sure what you learned from me. Maybe some reading and writing. Maybe some compassion and integrity.  Maybe you learned that you are loved.

No matter how bad you acted, I still loved you, and I still love you.  Even you - the fourth grade class of 2000-2001. Whether you are grown and married or whether you walked out my door yesterday on the last day of school, you are a part of my life.  I may not always remember your name and face immediately, but it will come back to me.  I've enjoyed being reunited with you in the Wal-Mart parking lot, The Dollar Tree, Cracker Barrel, and UrgentCare.

You'll never guess that I learned so much from you.  I learned quickly that you are much more than a test score.  You are an individual. You have fears and dreams. All you wanted was to get that A, but a C was your best. I loved celebrating that with you.  I learned that your home life just sucks sometimes. Yes, your teacher just said sucks.  When I dropped you off at your house that day you missed the bus, I was terrified when I saw where you lived.  When I met your guardians, I understood why you never wanted to leave for long breaks.  When you didn't come to school that day, I was worried about your safety, your health, your life.  I learned that I loved you more than I imagined a teacher could love her students.

And while I have your attention, I want to apologize to you.  I want to say I'm sorry for the times I lost my patience with you, the times I should have been loving and understanding.  The times I raised my voice to you. Sometimes I forgot that you were just a child.  Please forgive me for those times.  If I ever made you feel less that special, I am sorry. You are an amazing person. I, I am a sinner who makes mistakes and sometimes those mistakes hurt those we love.  And I do love you.

So, Dear Student,  I hope you know that I ask about you. I check up on you. Whether I check on you through Facebook, acquaintances, or by walking across the building, I care about you and what you are doing.  Like a parent, I care about how you turn out.  Are you successful? Are you married? Are you making good grades? Are you showing love and kindness to others?  Are you trying your best?  Because that's all I ever asked you to do anyway.....to try your best.  To reach in deep and make the world take notice of how amazingly awesome you truly are.  I saw it when you walked in my door on that first day of school. My wish then and now is that you see it each time you look in the mirror.

Now, I don't know if you think of me when you look back on your elementary school days.  I don't consider myself a #1 teacher, but I do the best that I can.  I hope that when you do think of me, you will remember at least one good thing about me.  Here's some of the things I remember about you:

I remember that note you wrote to me when you told me my smile reminded you of your mom and that you think of her when you see me.  That's a good thing. I know how much you loved your mama, and I still can't imagine what it was like for you to lose her to cancer at such a young age.

I remember when you walked into my room on the first day of school, and I knew your name. You didn't know how I knew. It was written on your backpack.

I remember when you walked in to my room, and you were taller than me. You a 10 year old. Me a 22 year old.  I remember thinking, "What have I gotten myself into???"

I remember you as a third grader when I told you what we would be doing in class, and your face lit up with excitement.

I remember that trip to the Nashville Zoo and how amazed you were to see the many sights along the interstate.  It was an eye opener to me that you'd never been out of our hometown.

I remember that day you laughed.  It was the first time I heard your laugh all year.  I fought back tears.

I remember you thanking me for giving you a C. I reminded you that you earned it and worked really hard for it.

I remember that night at Open House when you sat down and flipped your desk. Oh, my!  I thought we were in for a rowdy year!  But we had a great one.

I remember that note you wrote to me and thanked me for believing in you, that I was a great teacher because I saw the potential in all of my students.

See, Dear Student? I remember you!

So, wherever you are in your life's journey, please know that I love you. I care about you. I want nothing but the best for you.  Why? Because when you walked into my classroom on the first day of school, you became one of my kids.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Grimes

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Where's My Burning Bush?

Hopes, dreams, goals, ambitions.

We all have things we want to do, milestones to conquer, bucket lists to check off, finish lines to cross.

Yet, in the burning desires of our hearts, comes the call of God.  Then arises the question: God, what is it you want me to do?

And we look for that burning bush.

Oh, how we can look back at Moses and become envious, for God revealed himself to Moses through the burning bush.  He told Moses exactly what He wanted him to do.  The expectations, the plan, it was laid out right there before Moses.

How many times, my friend, do we look and pray for that burning bush? For God to clearly reveal His perfect plan to us?

How easy that would make all this decision making!

But wait.

Moses had a problem with this clear plan of God's.

God told Moses, "This is what you are to tell the people and this is what you will do," and proceeded to reveal His plan to Moses.

But Moses said, "Wait! What if they don't believe me?"

God had an answer, and it was in Moses' staff. He would toss it to the ground and it would become a snake. Moses was told to pick it up by its tail (Eeeek!), and it turned back to a staff. The staff would perform miraculous signs so the people would believe.

Fair enough.

But Moses still relented.  He said, "But God, I am not a good speaker. I can't talk to these people! Send someone else."

God told him that he would be fine. God Himself would give Moses the words to share. But still that wasn't enough for Moses, so God gave him his brother Aaron to be his helper.

Does this sound familiar?

How many times do we pray for God's will to be done, to be revealed to us, to be a witness to that burning bush?  Then how many times, when God reveals Himself and His perfect plan to us, do we back away and find excuse after excuse on why we can't proceed?


Life's journey is a long, winding road.  And for those that desire to do the will of God, it can seem to be longer, with more twists and turns.  God doesn't always put that burning bush in front of us.  I think sometimes He tests us, He prepares us, and then eventually helps us to step into that perfect will of His.

If God did reveal Himself to us, face to face, and said, "This is what I want you to do. Go. Do it," would we? Would we jump to the task joyfully and wholeheartedly obey?  Or would we be like Moses and say, "You know God, I really don't think I can do this," and then give Him a list of reasons why we can't do what God's called us to do?

And maybe, that's why God doesn't always clearly reveal His plan to us.  If we see the journey upfront, the heartaches, and the pain, we will back away and say, "God, find someone else. This isn't for me."  Instead, I think God sometimes leads us one step at a time so that we don't always know the path we are on until we get there. He doesn't always give us the chance to back out.

When we ask God's will to be done in our lives, we need to mean it....wholeheartedly, without a shadow of a doubt, truly desire what God wants our lives to mean for Him.

He will lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey, but the journey won't always be easy. It won't always be beautiful. However, it will always be worth it.

When Moses finally obeyed and the Israelites were being lead on their journey, God provided for them. He lit their way and fed them physically and spiritually.  He wouldn't do any less for us.  God loves us, and regardless of what journey He has called us to, He will provide.

We just have to trust and obey.



Friday, May 15, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Follow

There's these little people that follow me everywhere I go.  I can't go to the bathroom without company.  I can't run to the store without a little shopper with me throwing in everything he thinks we need.  I can't sleep through the night without someone crawling under the covers with me.

But I wouldn't have it any other way.....these little guys....I'm their biggest fan.  They are my sunshine.

Yet, I know that they watch me. They learn from me.  They follow me.


I have to ask myself, "Am I leading them in the right direction? Am I leading to where I really want them to follow?"

That's a major self check on my part.

I don't want to be the parent that says, "Do as I say, not as I do."  After all, actions do speak louder than words.  I want to live a life that I would be proud of my children to follow.  I want them to follow me to Christ.

During our Mother's Day service last week, our pastor talked about being proud of your children when they do something great...a home run, a good grade,  a trophy.  All of those things are great, but the greatest achievement....to have a child that has decided to follow Christ.

That is my ultimate goal, not that my children would follow me, but that they would follow Jesus.  He can lead them to greater places than I could ever imagine.

Thank you for joining me here for this edition of Five Minute Friday.  I can't wait to hear from you.  Don't forget to join in with your own post at katemotaung.com.  See you there!