Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally Friday

This week has been busy. We celebrated Father's Day by visiting my dad and Jeffrey's dad. After church we all went to eat Mexican.

Carson was so funny that night. He hugged me at bed time and said, "Happy Fadder's Day, Mama." It was precious.

Sunday afternoon, I went to church to decorate for VBS. Afterwards, we went swimming and played in the yard with the kids. I was pushing Colin on the swing and the chain broke. He went flying in the air and landed on his side and his face. Thank God he was only bruised on his cheek. He got a new swing out of the deal! Carson is sure to tell everyone, "And Mama was pushing Bubba way up high!"

Monday morning we were off to VBS. I taught missions this year instead of an age group. I really enjoyed it. Usually I teach the 3rd and 4th graders, but felt like I needed a change this summer. I was sad about not having a group to present certificates too during our closing ceremony. But then, I was asked to fill in for Hilarie today so I got to present to her class. All the boys and girls were great. It was such a blessing to work with them. They were into the lessons and asking some great questions. VBS is a great way to start planting those seeds!

I really love VBS. The themes we've used are great and seem to get better each year. I especially like the music. They are simple but at the same time, so true. There was a song we sang this year called All Things and it is based on Philippians 4:13. When I heard it on Monday, it almost brought me to tears. It served as a reminder that in all things I will praise Him; in all things I will trust Him; in all things I will love Him, and in all things I will obey Him. That song is so connected to the theme because ALL things come back to Jesus.

There are some kids who have been coming to VBS every year, but their parents are not "interested" in attending church. The kids love church and want to be part of it. Please pray for them and their families, for God to touch their hearts in this matter.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods. 1 Chronicles 16:25

Monday, June 22, 2009

I've Made Choices

With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Matthew 7:2

Today after VBS, the boys and I went to meet Jeffrey for lunch at the Chinese restaurant. Edie and Lauren were there too, so we all decided to eat together. Approaching our table, I saw an old childhood friend of mine. I've seen her around town, but I haven't talked to her in ages. She fussed over the boys and we chatted. Then she was on her way.

Later, our conversation went to Tonya. I mentioned that we were once very good friends, but our lives went in different directions. By looking at us, you'd think that there is no way we would have been close, but we were. We were like sisters. Lauren asked, "Did you talk to her?" When I told her yes and explained our connections, she said, "Oh, that's cool."

It would be easy for some people to ignore some childhood friend. To make small talk and move on quickly. Some people may be embarrassed by being seen talking to certain people.

However, we all need to think about this....we have all made choices. Some of those choices are good and some are not. I'll admit. I've done my share of stupid stuff (oh, don't tell Colin I said the "s word"), but really, who hasn't? We are not perfect, but by the grace of God, we can be forgiven.

This year, instead of teaching a specific age group for VBS, I am teaching the Missions class to all of the children. It is great that they are learning about the missionaries who travel the world leading others to Christ and spreading His Love. But what does that really mean to children? Many don't have a clue as to how rugged places are and the dangers that the missionaries encounter in serving God. I feel this is a great opportunity for them to learn that they can be missionaries in their own communities.

Think about it.

For many of them, they are the only Christians their classmates, teammates, and neighbors may ever know. For us as adults, we may be the only Christians that people encounter on a day to day basis. Do we want the gospel to end with us? I certainly don't.

I told the kids this morning that we don't have to be best friends with everyone, but we can show everyone God's love. There are always going to be people who are different. There are always going to be people that hurt us. There are always going to be people who do stupid stuff (sorry, Colin). But Judge not, that you be not judged (Matthew 7:1). Glenda tells us what her dad used to say, "People are people wherever you go." Isn't that so true? But wouldn't you like for someone to say, "Oh, that's cool," about you showing your love to others?

A lot of people that do not attend church have been hurt by Christians. They've been turned off by people who claim to serve God, yet live as hypocrites. That is the most common thing I've heard, "Churches are full of hypocrites." I'm sure I am as guilty as the next person. But we can ask for God's guidance in dealing with people who are different so we don't turn them off to the gospel. Actually, there is a book called How to Deal with Difficult People. It is a great book to help you work through your dealings with people. There is more than one way to show God's love. The easiest thing to do is find out what works best for us. Start there. Touch people's lives with that way. Then find another way, another group of people to love.

Isn't that what we all be loved?

My challenge to you: Be a missionary in your own community. Show God's love to others.

The Lord shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me.
God is a just judge.
Psalm 7:8,11

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I approached a crossroad with two gates....

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

On Sunday, Bro. Copass preached a message that is very dear to me this week. He talked about being at the crossroads. Five years ago, I was at a crossroad in my life.

You see, I didn't grow up in church. I knew about God and Jesus. I knew the common Bible stories. I remember in high school I found out that a friend of mine had asked her Sunday School class to pray for me. I was furious. There was nothing wrong with me. Or so I thought.

A little more than 5 years ago, my friend Holly and her husband invited Jeffrey and I to the last night of their revival where she would be singing. I had never been to a revival before and had never heard her sing, so I was looking forward to going. Their church was a small country church in Allen County....way out in the middle of nowhere. I can't tell you what the preacher spoke about that night, but I do know that God was talking to me. During the invitation, Holly sang Amazing Grace. It was beautiful. Tears flowed down my face and I wanted so badly to go forward. As I cried, I saw the preacher look at me. I felt so stupid. I told myself that I would be an idiot to go up there. After all, I had never been there before and didn't know those people. So, I didn't. I stood right there in my pew. After the service, Jeffrey asked me why I was crying. I said I didn't know.

After that night, Jeffrey and I started going to church a little more often and finally we were going to Calvary just about every Sunday. It was a great place. My friend/coworker Wanda had told me about their wonderful interim preacher who said he would not stay and then decided that that was where God wanted him. She said we just had to come hear him preach. So, we did and were hooked. Jeffrey had gone there with his family as a child, and we were married there.
Right before Father's Day in 2004, Bro. Copass announced there would be a Baby Dedication. We thought that was what we needed to do for Colin. It was so important to us to raise Colin in church. We never once thought about ourselves.

The week before Father's Day, I tried each day to call Bro. Copass at his office. Each day he was unavailable. That Friday, June 18, 2004, I took Colin to daycare so I could run some errands. With my cell phone in hand, I contemplated calling the office again while on my way to the post office. I literally argued with myself. Part of me said to call because he wouldn't be there anyway while the other part encouraged me to go by the office. It was just a block away.

I passed the post office and headed to more ways than one!

When I pulled in the parking lot, I saw Bro. Copass's car and knew I was in luck. He would let me know if we could participate in the Baby Dedication with Colin. His secretary showed me to his office and I waited patiently, um nervously for him to come in. I couldn't figure out why I was so nervous.

Bro. Copass and I discussed the Baby Dedication, what it meant, what we would do, and yes, we could participate. Then he asked me if I had ever received Jesus as my personal Savior. When I said, "No," I began crying. What is up with me and this crying every time someone asks that question???? What does he think of me? A mother wanting to dedicate her son to God when she doesn't even have a relationship with Him. But you know, I was done. I was done caring what people were thinking of me.

Bro. Copass walked me through the plan of salvation. There in his office, I admitted that I was a sinner. I confessed my faith in Jesus Christ. the Son of God that died for my sins, and received him into my life as my Savior. I floated out of that office. I had never had such a peaceful feeling in my life. What an amazing time. I got into the car and called Jeffrey at work to tell him what happened. I went to my grandmother's house and told her, my mom, and my cousins who were in visiting. I couldn't figure out why I had waited so long to make that decision.

That Sunday, we dedicated Colin to the Lord. We promised there in our church that we would raise Colin in a Christian home, teaching him about God and the love He has for us. We would be sure that he would attend church to develop his own personal relationship with God. Then during the invitation, I finally came forward. I walked before my church and professed that I had received Jesus as my Savior. My final gift that day....My husband followed me down that aisle. I tapped him on the shoulder so that I could get out of the pew. He said that God pushed him along behind me. There was no stopping him. What a proud moment for our family. We followed through in baptism during another service.

Recently, I sent my friend Amy a note. I apologized for becoming angry with her when she had her Sunday School class pray for me. I admitted that there was something wrong with me at that time, I was not a Christian. I love Amy for praying for me.

You know, people talk about their personal testimony and I am always amazed at how God works in their lives. I am SO AMAZED at how He has worked in mine. I look back to what I was before June 18, 2004. The old me. The one Satan tried to steer clear of Bro. Copass. He knew what God had in store for me that Friday afternoon. But God had the victory!!!!
I am thankful Amy prayed for me.

I am so thankful that God had me and Wanda having the same lunch schedule.

I am thankful that God led Bro. Copass to Calvary Baptist Church.

I am thankful that Bro. Copass announced the Baby Dedication.

I am thankful Bro. Copass was not in his office those days I called.

I am thankful for not turning in to the post office that day.

I am thankful Bro. Copass asked the right question.

I am thankful God touched my heart enough for me to realize which path to take.

I am thankful God did not give up on me that night I walked away from Him at that revival.

I am thankful for what God is doing in my life.

I've been able to lead children to Christ during Vacation Bible School. I've been able to lead my own son to Christ. I am able to minister to people in so many other ways. I never knew the joy of being a Christian until I allowed God to be the center of my life. He's taken my unforgiving spirit and has helped me to open my heart and forgive people who have hurt me. He has shows me the log in my own eye when I acknowledge the speck in the eyes of others. He has provided me with children who keep me grounded and yearning for their faith. He's given me a husband who is my best friend and a wonderful father. A man who provides and cares for our family. A man who serves others before worrying about himself.

God has indeed changed my life. For that, I am truly thankful.

Now, I ask you. Have you allowed God to be at the center of your life? Have your stood at the crossroad and chosen the narrow gate of the straight and narrow path? If you haven't, please don't waste another minute. I can help you do that. The READY? button at the bottom can lead you to that. If you have, will your share your testimony here? Will you share how God has worked in your life?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

***just added 6-18-09***
I got this in my morning email devotion. Thought it was fitting and wanted to share.

Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, For in You do I trust;Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You.
Psalms 143:8 *NKJV

As you may know, when we invite God into our life, and ask HIM to take control of our "life and will," we start on the journey to become the person that we were meant to be. For it is written; If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

This is because God begins to reshape us into that person. It is written; O Lord, You are our Father; We arethe clay, and You our potter; And all we are thework of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Now as we become that new person, God will lead us to the path that He chosen for us to walk. It is then that we become filled with the Holy Spirit, as well as; The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

So, why not ask God to take control of your "life and will" today, if you haven't already? Also say to Him; Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation. Psalms 25:4-5

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Busy Bees

What a week it has been!

The boys have participated in the Challenger Sports British Soccer Camp this week. Our coaches were great. They were enthusiatic and Colin and Carson had a blast.

Colin with Coach Rich and the rest of his team.

Colin getting a few pointers from Coach Gaffer.

Colin with Coach Rich and Coach Gaffer at his closing ceremony.

Carson during his First Kicks class.

Carson, Coach Rich, and Colin

Colin had his last baseball game Monday night. It was their second tournament game and they lost. His team came in 3rd place in their division. This morning was the championship game and awards ceremony.

Jacob and Colin

After the awards, we had were able to hang out with Rich and Gaffer while my cousin Julie's son Michael had his last T-ball game. We were able to get a picture of all the boys together. Rich and Gaffer leave for the Louisville camp tomorrow.

Gaffer, Michael, Austin, Colin, Carson, and Rich

Last night was the Simpson County Relay for Life event. We stayed until midnight. We were totally exhausted from our busy week. My team was recognized as a Bronze team because we raised over $2500. I appreciate everyone who supported us and the entire Relay event. What a good cause to donate to. I encourage everyone to get involved in Relay in some way.

I am very thankful to have the opportunity to do things with my children. We've had so many wonderful experiences. With Jeffrey having spent a month in Japan several years ago and the two years of soccer camp, the kids have been exposed to different cultures. Colin and Carson have made some new friends along the way. We thank God for all of the opportunities he has presented to us and the people we have met along the way.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Friday, June 05, 2009

Summer Vacation Begins for a Proud Wife

Summer vacation has finally started for me. If you call it a vacation.

Baseball tournaments are starting tonight. Soccer camp begins Monday. Relay for Life is next Friday. The baseball championship is next Saturday. VBS starts on the 22nd. I'm teaching the big kids at church on Wednesday nights. We are chaperoning the youth trip to Six Flags KY Kingdom in a couple of weeks. Then there is fishing at Mr. Bailey's and the Club Calvary trip to the Nashville Zoo and Faith and Family Night at the HotRods game. Then it will be back to the classroom to prepare for August 5, the first day of school. Somewhere in there, we will try to get away for some family time!

With four days of PD out of the way, I am finding myself in a messy house with a 3 year old who is finally interested in using the potty. The laundry, catch all counter, and toy covered floors are calling my name, but I am finding myself here at the computer while Carson is watching Clifford and having a snack.

Just to let you know, the prayer requests that I've posted on this blog have been answered. Tami, Melissa, and Joe Mark are doing well. Jeffrey is still working toward the chaplain thing, and God is making himself evident in so many ways.

Two big days are approaching that are important to me. Jeffrey's birthday on Tuesday and Father's Day.

My husband.

The father of our children.

My best friend.

Let me tell you about him.

Jeffrey and I met over 18 years ago (Man! That makes us sound old!). My mom and I were out walking and stopped by my aunt's house where Jeffrey was hanging out with my cousin. He thought I was cute and I thought he was cute. A year later, we started "going together."

We dated throughout high school with the ups and downs of any teenage couple. We dated during college. In 1998, while on vacation with his family, Jeffrey proposed to me on the beach. In 1999, we were married. This year will be our 10 year anniversary.

I think our lives are an example of how God can work in you IF you allow him. When we started "going together" on April 15, 1991, we had no idea of what type of journey we would encounter. I think you could say that when we got married, we knew what we were getting in to. We've seen the good side of each other and the ugly side of each other. We've lived out some pretty good love songs I guess you could say.

But you know what? I know that I am blessed. I know that God put the two of us together for a reason.

I know some women who never say anything good about their husbands. When you are with them, it is only a matter of time before you find out how they really feel about their husbands. I cringe at those moments.

My husband is not perfect (sorry, Honey), but he his perfect for me. We are opposites, and not to sound like a scene from Jerry Maguire, but we complete each other. I'm grounded where he is impulsive. I'm not shopper savvy where he researches before making a purchase (that explains why he was up late last night looking at hotels and computers. I would have already made reservations on my new destop!). He is outgoing and very personable where I'm more comfortable around people I've know since birth.

I'm blessed because he loves me and our boys AND he is not afraid to show it. He does things that show us his love for us.

He is a man of his word, a man of integrity. He is not afraid of a little hard work.

He makes me proud to say I am his wife. Wednesday evening was a prime example.

A couple of weeks ago, our pastor had asked him to bring the Wednesday night message because he was going on vacation. This would be his 3rd time to do this. As he spoke to the congregation, I sat back in the back (behind Jack so I could hide and not make Jeffrey nervous) holding back tears of pride. The words he spoke were truly from God. He spoke to me. I could relate with what he was saying. I could tell that he was in his element.

I look at where we started. I look at where we've been. I look at where we are. I look at where we are headed. I'm thankful that God put us together. I'm thankful for the ups and downs we've been through. I'm confident that God has begun a good work in us and will finish day. I'm looking forward to continuing our journey together with God leading us. I'm anxious to see where He will lead. Wherever and whatever God brings before us, I'm blessed to have this man, my husband, right there with me.

Jeffrey, I am thankful I caught your eye 19 years ago. I'm thankful you called me on April 15, 1991. I'm thankful for the sunset on the beach that summer. I'm thankful for that moment we said, "I do," in front of our family, friends, and Heavenly Father on October 2, 1999. I'm thankful you followed me down that same aisle on June 20, 2004 when you received Jesus as your Savior. I am thankful that we were baptized together on July 11, 2004. I am thankful for the moment I got to tell you I was pregnant with our first child. I'm thankful you stood by me through 12 hours of labor with him. I'm thankful for the moment we found out about Carson and the moment we held him after he was born before he was taken out to be put in the oxygen tent. I'm thankful for your service to our church, for you allowing God to use you. Honey, I am thankful for you. My list could go on and on. Just know that I love you and I am so blessed to be your wife.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Prayer Request

Please be in prayer for Joe Mark, a relative of ours. At the ballpark this evening, he had to be taken to the hospital. Not sure exactly what all happened right now. Too early to tell. They are running tests currently to see if he needs to be taken to Nashville.

Just Do It

There is a sign at the First Baptist Church where Carson goes to daycare that reads, "Time is precious; spend it wisely."

So my question to you is.....

What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for all the bills to be paid off?

Are you waiting for the kids to get older?

Are you waiting for......?

This list could go on.

If there is one thing I've learned, it is that life is short and you need to enjoy it. God blesses you each day that you wake up. He has blessed you with Creation. He has blessed you with your health, your job, your friends, your family. Look around at all that you have.

So many people walk around with a frown. They won't spend a dime on a piece of Key Lime pie for dessert at a restaurant. They won't swallow their pride and say, "I'm sorry."

We weren't made to live with regrets. When I come to the end of my life, I want to know that I did everything I could to leave a legacy. A legacy with my family, my friends, my church, strangers who never knew me personally. I want my family and friends to know the real me, not the afraid to show my real self me. I want to know that I took advantage of every opportunity that God placed before me to make a difference.

We get one chance at life here on this earth. We should do something with it. Allowing God to be the center of our lives will ensure that we have hope and have left a legacy of hope with others.

Please don't waste your time with things that don't matter. Glenda reminds us each Sunday to lay up our treasures in heaven. Make a difference in someone's life today. If you haven't opened your heart to Jesus, that is the first thing to do. Then decide to live out His will in your life. You'll be a new person and those around you will want that for themselves.