Monday, March 31, 2014

Not a lot of Talk

Last week, I completed week 2 of Survival Sisters through Wives of Faith.  One of the discussion questions asked, "If God's grace brings salvation, instruction in godliness, and hope in Christ's return should it reflect how we live?"

My answer was, "Yes, most definitely."  

You see, when we enter into a relationship with Christ, we usually say that we gave our hearts to him or that we asked him into our heart.  That means that Christ lives within us.  If he does indeed live within us, then we change.  

We allow him to take control of our lives.  Thus, our lives should reflect that.  When people look at me, especially those that knew me before I knew Christ, they should see that I am a different person.  Even those that know me and see me day in and day out should be able to see Jesus in all that I do.  I should reflect his love and compassion.  I should try to be teaching others about him.  I should reflect Christ in all that I do.

It is one thing to say that I am a Christ Follower, but it is another thing to live it.  1 Corinthians 4:20 says, "For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God's power."  

There is truth in that.  

So many times, I have said these things:
I want God's will to be done in my life.
If God brings me to it, He will bring me through it.
God is in control. I trust him.
I know that God will never leave me.

The list goes on.  Have you said these things too?  

Like me, you may have found that living those statements is more difficult than saying them.  Living them shows whether or not we have true faith.  It shows if we are walking the walk instead of talking the talk.  

It is easy to live for the Kingdom when we are on that mountaintop.  But what about when we are in the valleys?  Deployment? Loss of spouse? Loss of child?  Loss of job?  Cancer?  Depression? Loneliness?  What about those times?

It is in those times that we find out if we really believe in the power of God.  God asks us, "Do you really believe?"  And we want to say yes, but how can we be sure?  

Surround yourself with Him.  Read His Word. Talk to Him through prayer. Fellowship with other Christ Followers.  Worship and praise Him through song.  The more time you spend with God, the stronger your relationship is.  

Think about it.  If you never water your flowers, you never tend to them and protect them, then they will wilt and die.  Likewise, if you never tend to your relationship with the Lord, it will wilt and never be what you want it to be.  

The best thing I can say to you today is this....

God loves you. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to strengthen you. He wants to give you hope.

Sounds simple doesn't it?  Here's the have to pursue Him.  Put down that iPhone. Get off Facebook.  Stop pinning on Pintrest. Turn off the TV.  Take time away from those activities and.....

Open your Bible.  Fall to your knees in prayer. Meet God right where you are.  You will never regret the time you spend with the Lord.  

Life will not always be perfect. God never promised us that.  He will, however, give us the strength to get through those difficult days, to find the blessings in our messes.  Spending time will change you in so many wonderful ways.  Just you wait. 

I was that girl in high school that got angry with a friend for praying for me.  I felt like there was nothing wrong with me.  But there was.  Now I am that girl praying for others and asking people to remember me in prayer.  No longer am I that smarty pants potty mouth gossip.  I try to encourage and build each others up. I'm not perfect. God convicts me when I am wrong.  I thank Him for doing so.  

So Friends, it is Monday. Time for a new start.  I encourage you this week to seek God. Live by His power.  When you do, you will forever be changed and others will notice.  They will want what you have. They will want Christ.  And isn't that what we are called to do, to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ?  What better way than to live a life that demonstrates the Power of the Holy One!  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Joy

Five Minute Friday
 Yes, I know it is Saturday, but I have time for a little Five Minute Friday.  I love it.  Five minutes. A writing prompt.  Words flowing.  Thanks Lisa-Jo for this time.


You know what the Bible says, “Joy comes in the morning.”  Have you ever felt that joy? The joy that you find in the depths of your soul when there seems to be nothing else to hold on to?

Ann Voskamp talks of gratitude. Being thankful for the little things.  That there’s beauty in the ashes. 

You know that sounds all good and everything, but is it real?  Can you find joy in the ashes? In the ugliness of life?

Yes.  Jesus is there. 

He found me as I lay naked on the bathroom floor losing a baby.  He reminded me how blessed I already was: 3 healthy children, a husband who adored me.  The salvation and eternal life found in him. 

Yes, my heart aches. This baby was due to arrive in two weeks from the moment I am typing these words about joy.  I won’t know the joy of holding this babe after birth, watching him (or her) grow and learn, laugh and cry, love and fight with siblings.  But

There is joy in the morning.

There is joy in knowing that God knows something I don’t. That, even though it hurts, His plan is much better than my own. There is joy in trusting Him.  Yes, sorrow may last for the night, but joy definitely comes in the morning. 

Ruining My Witness

It is so easy to get caught up in gossip.  And sometimes, it seems that the person brings it on herself.  After all, hasn’t this person ever looked in a mirror before leaving the house or heard the words “Humble yourself?” 

So many times in scripture, God talks about our words, our gossiping.  Instead of quoting everything He says, let me just put it this way: God doesn’t like it.

So recently, I had just had enough.  Yes, I talked about this person. Yes, I snickered as she walked by wondering what she had been thinking.  Yes, I gossiped. I admit I even shared pins on Pintrest that aren’t very nice.   But I had enough.  I felt the whole thing had been taken too far, and I wanted out. 

I asked a friend for prayer.  To help me with the situation.  It was stressful trying to avoid the topic of conversation.  I searched Pintrest and underlined scripture to help me find the words to help me with the situation.  Then I came across this:


Slap in the face. 

What a reminder that the problem isn’t found in other people. The problem is found in me.  I have presented myself as a gossip confidant, so to speak.  God is not amused.  He is disappointed.

Romans 15:2 says, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.” Umm, I didn’t do that. I did nothing to build this person up.

Proverbs 20:7 says, “The godly walk with integrity: blessed are their children who follow them.” Umm, I don’t want my children to follow this behavior.  I want them to do what is right. I don't want them to be talked about and made fun of. I don't want people to talk about me and make fun of me.  How about that Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You.  Did you know that is found in scripture too?

Now that I have been slapped in the face with this, I will do what Romans 13:12 says, “So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”  I will also keep in mind the words of Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

So to this person, I am not yet humbled enough to say to your face, “I’m sorry. I talked about you behind your back.  I made it “ok” to do so because I blamed you. My excuse was if you didn’t want the attention, you shouldn’t behave the way you do. In fact, you are who you are.  I should know that by now.  I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

To those that I have led to believe the conversations we were having were ok, “I’m sorry.  It was wrong of us. It was wrong of me.  I should not have made you comfortable enough to have those conversations with me.  I did not be the witness I should have been. I am not better than anyone else, but I do have a responsibility to my Lord and Savior.  He has certain expectations of me, and I have let him down.” 

 To those of you that are like me, there is hope for us. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Super Hero is Officially 4!

My little one is getting bigger 
And bigger some more.
My little is is getting older. 
He has finally turned 4!

 Although I had a little trouble with the cake at first (can you say meltdown), Jeff quickly reminded me things could be worse than a cake that falls apart: he could still be in Afghanistan.  

It was so nice to watch Jeff help Carter with his gifts instead of having Jeff watch through Skype again.

 We celebrated with family and friends on Saturday, and then had another small celebration Wednesday night.

Happy Birthday, Carter! We love you!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

We Are All Broken Sometime

As I was flipping through the channels, I saw that Gifted Hands was on.  I love this movie, a true story in which Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays surgeon Ben Carson.  When I clicked ok, I wasn’t prepared for the scene that was on……

As I was flipping through the channels, I had just clicked play on my iPhone to show the lyric video to The Afters song Broken Hallelujah….

Now, put the two together……

The scene from the movie was when Ben Carson is awakened by his pregnant wife who is bleeding due to miscarriage. The song’s lyrics are about knowing happiness and pain and still lifting a song of praise.

My memory goes back to my own miscarriage.

My thoughts turn to those who are experiencing their own pain.  Friends who have lost loved ones, spouses, children. Friends who have health issues, terminal illnesses.  So many people. So much hurt. 

But yet, we can, and should, sing Hallelujah. 

I love that word. I love how it flows from my lips.


Hallelujah is a shout or a song of praise and/or thanks to God.


We have all been broken.  We have all had an experience that has brought us to our knees in anguish. 

It doesn’t seem like it, but during those times, a hallelujah can bring peace, comfort, healing.  Maybe not immediately, but eventually. 

In those times that we feel broken, we need to remember all that God has done for us.  Remember those blessings. Remember the love. Remember the sacrifice.  In all of our brokenness, remember Christ. 

As  mentioned recently, my singing isn’t lovely at all.  But God doesn’t care if I can hit the pitch or the note correctly.  He cares about what is in my heart. What is in your heart.  He cares that we can sing a broken hallelujah.

It is so easy for us to say what we believe about God….you know…..the usual stuff: He loves me. He cares for me. He will take care of me.  He will get me through anything.  Yes, easy to say.  We can say it until we are blue in the face.  But living it is different. It is difficult.  It is in that broken hallelujah that we find out if we really believe what we say we believe.  That’s when we live it. 

Honestly, no one wants to live a broken hallelujah.  No one wants hurt and pain, to be empty.  But God never promised us an easy life.  He never promised that each day would be a sunny, happy day.  He did promise that he would always be with us, that nothing could pull us from his hand.

If you are hurting today, for whatever reason, just know that God loves you.  When you lift your broken hallelujah up to him, he hears you. He will bring you peace and comfort.  Just don’t give up on him.  Healing takes time.  It can be ugly and messy, but God is there in that place. 

I’d like to leave you with this song.  May it be a blessing to you when you find yourself in a dark place. May it give you the strength to lift up a broken hallelujah.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Worship Him Through Music

When asked if I am going to join the choir at church, my reply is always the same, "Um. No."  I'll then comment that I don't public....too loudly for anyone to hear.  Let's face it.  Singing, er good singing, is not a gift that God has given me.  Ask my kids.  I've heard this comment more than once: Mama, just stop.

But I do like to sing.

I'm not any good at it. Don't know the first thing about music.  I do remember something about the letters (notes) going up the lines and it spelled FACE (I think).  That's about as much as I know.

But I know that God doesn't care whether I'm any good or not.  I think he did care that time I became quite envious of Hilarie during church the first time I heard her singing right beside me in the pew.  Jealous in church. Yes, I think that is a sin.

But I am a lover of words, of words put to music.

There are so many times that a song just says IT, whatever IT may be.  It could be the love I have for my husband, my children, my Savior. It could express a feeling I have.

Last fall when I found out our baby had stopped growing, one of the first songs I heard after that news was Casting Crowns Praise You in This Storm.  I was definitely going through a storm, but yet, singing those words over and over again brought peace to my soul.  Other songs such as Strong Tower and Blessings brought me comfort during that difficult time.

And still, when I have moments of sadness, doubt, or fear, there is always a song for that.  When I my soul is overflowing with emotion, there is a song for that.

God doesn't care about my squeaky voice, that fact that I can't get on the right pitch or note, he cares about my heart.  When my heart is in the song, he knows. 

When you are at loss for words, find those words in a song and worship and praise God through that song. 

A song for you today....Special thanks to Adrienne at Laced By Grace for posting this one today.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

There's Just Something About that Name

As parents, we put a lot of thought into naming our children.  We consider family names along with names that we just like.  As a teacher, it gets a little tricky.  You don't want your child to have the same name as the kid that you have to call down a million times a day.

Names mean something to us.  They are special. My children have first names that are family names and middle names that we liked.  They all go by their middle names, but that first name is still special.  I like to remind them often the importance of their names.  Carson, for instance, is named after my grandfather.  He was such a special man to me (always made me feel like I was his favorite even if I wasn't).  But when I look at this picture, I am reminded of my grandfather, not just because Carson is named after him, but because of his mannerisms.

With a name, there comes an expectation. An expectation of character and performance.  In the Bible, there are so many instances where a child was named based on the expectation that was set for that child or based on the circumstances surrounding the child's birth.

But the name above all names: Jesus.  That name, saying it, hearing it, reading it, singing it, that name just does something to my soul.  There is such power in the name of Jesus. This morning in church as we sang There's Just Something About that Name, my heart softened, goosebumps spread across my body, tears filled my eyes, Jesus was felt in my soul.  My whole being just opened up to his holiness, his awesomeness, his glory, and his power.  There is nothing better than feeling the presence of the one true King.

Take a moment today to soak yourself in his presence.  Let his glory fill your soul and feel the power in his name.