Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Breaking Free by Tearing Down the High Places

“I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness." Romans 6:19

Goal: Be sanctified in heart and mind so God can do wonders among us. (steadfast mind).

Satan fights dirty. He jumps on anything that could keep you from centering your thoughts on Christ.

Captivating thoughts are controlling thoughts - things you find yourself meditating on too often. With the power of the Holy Spirit, I will control them. God will do a miraculous work in your heart and mind.

It begins with admitting the truth. With our cooperation, Christ begins to strip the power from the controlling thoughts, so they no longer hold destructive power over us. It's about admission versus denial.

Those "high things" are the people, things, or circumstances that outgrow our thoughts of God. Anything we exalt over God in our thoughts or imaginations is an idol. Idolatry is not only a terrible affront to God but it is also an open invitation to disaster.

We don't have to love something or someone to idolize or exalt it in our minds. We can easily idolize something we practically hate.

We can either tear down our strongholds with the might power of God, or they will eventually tear us down.


We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

Saturday, April 23, 2011

You are so loved!

After a very long day in the city (it was just perfect by the way), I was in my pj's at 5:20 and in bed by 8 pm. So it is not unusual that I am awake at 4:30 am. I prayed for a little bit but came to this place that I love so much. I thought about blogging about where I was seven months ago and how far God has brought my marriage. Maybe another time. I thought about blogging about yesterdays events with one senior citizen, two cranky children and one impatient husband. No, it was exactly what God intended it to be. I thought about blogging about the amazing food we ate at Delilah's, then I decided "nah". Below is the devotion that was received on Tuesday. What does your name mean? Some of our name meanings are not pleasant, for example Jabez means pain (he cause pain). I like my name meaning. Theresa means harvester.

I also LOVE THIS SONG! and whenever I talk about it, it is played during worship the following Sunday.

But I find it interesting that this is the devotion. I just read a book about how God changes our name when the meaning is not something that is "positive". Jacob WAS a deceiver. But God has other plans for us. I urge you to look up your name and really meditate on it. Jeannette Grace, we already know that your name is a form of John which means God is gracious. Jeannette is God is gracious grace.

WOW, think about that dear sister. My JeannieHopes. God doesn't want you to know he is gracious. He wants you to know it TWICE as much. Amazing. That just struck me. WOW, God is so gracious. Thank you Lord.

No matter what your name is, God has great plans for you. Please don't forget that when it is so hard to see the whole horizon.

God’s Great Plans for You

Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Last week I shared about the broken dream of infertility and miscarriage. As you recall, I have one incredible blessing in my son Steven, but my dream to have a house full of children did not materialize as I had hoped. During one of my times with the Lord, I was studying in the Song of Solomon about being the bride of Christ. This is a very romantic book of the Bible about the courtship, engagement, and eventual marriage between a man and a woman. Many compare it to the relationship of Jesus with His bride, the church. That’s how I was reading it on this particular day.

As I read Song of Solomon 2:1, God stopped me. “I am the Rose of Sharon,” the woman said to her beloved.

What was her name? God seemed to ask.

“Sharon,” I answered.

What is your name? He again seemed to ask.

“Lord, my name is Sharon,” I whispered aloud.

Look it up, He prompted my heart.

I went to my Bible dictionary and looked up Sharon. It meant - a fertile valley near Mount Carmel. God was telling me that while my medical chart had INFERTILE stamped across the front, He made sure that my name meant FERTILE before I was even born. No, I do not have a house full of children, but He has made me fertile in many other ways. Through writing, speaking, radio and simply obeying God when He nudges me to reach out to one of His own, God has allowed me to birth and nurture many spiritual children.

God does not always give us babies or husbands for which we’ve prayed. All of our dreams may not turn out the way we had hoped. But He will always give us access to everything we need to have an abundant life filled with purpose, passion, and His provision. When God says “no” we can rest assured there is a greater “yes” if we will but relinquish our shattered dreams to Him.

Someone asked me recently, “But would you rather have the house full of children, or the ministry opportunities you have today?”

“I want exactly what God wants for my life - nothing more and nothing less,” I replied. “Because I know that whatever He has planned for my life is much greater than anything I could ever imagine or conceive.” And girlfriend, that is true for you as well.


Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I get so excited thinking about the great plans You have for me. Help me not to get so mentally stuck on what I want, that I miss what You had planned all along. I want to grasp Your great dreams for me and move forward full steam ahead. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s new book, 5 Dreams of Every Woman and How God Wants to Fulfill Them (a new revised version of her previous book, Dreams of a Woman). This book is for every woman whose life hasn’t turned out like she dreamed it would ... and I think that includes most of us. Can you risk the hope that God still has dreams for your life? That He hasn’t forgotten you? Place your hand firmly in His--take a deep breath, and begin the exciting journey to a place you thought you’d never find: the dream God planned for you all along. Let’s dare to dream again

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Secret Name

I have been wanting to be here for a while now but have not been able to actually get here for more than a quick copy and paste from my morning email devotionals. I love that I receive one from Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries. I don't always get to them when they arrive. Sometimes it is many days later. Sometimes I even delete a few if they get too backed up. No guilt. God knows what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. Some of the devotions are forwarded to my encourager's. I have a circle of ladies that I email each morning. I encourage them and they encourage me.

Anyway...

I have been reading a book called My Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner. It is fantastic. Once I really started getting in to it, I finished it in a couple of days. It was just over 200 pages. The premise of the book is the story of Jacob. The name Jacob means deceiver. But God whispered his secret name to him, Israel. Israel means God perseveres. We all are named at birth. Then we have given names that we believe. These are mine:


air head
bossy
controller
dummy
eavesdropper
gossiper
holy rolly
invisible
Jesus Freak
liar

OK, you get the point, right? So here are just a few notes I took. But this time I went back and wrote down a few things in my journal:

" Funny how we humans go to great lengths to do life in our own strength. After all, if we abandon God first, then He can't abandon us. We prefer self-induced loneliness over other-initiated rejection. With the former, we're at the steering wheel, in control. But with the latter, we're sticking our necks out and we'd much rather play it safe.
All our baggage makes it hard for us to move, so it's a good thing God isn't waiting on us. Make no mistake, God has spoken. The real question is, have we listened?
Ironically, we tend to hear best amidst personal heartbreak. Maybe God speaks louder in such scenarios. Or maybe we just listen closer."

After finishing the book, there is a website listed to help you find YOUR secret name. OK, I thought. I'll check that out at another time. We need to get to Breakaway. I was driving and thinking about our card board testimony assignment which is due on Saturday for Sunday's Easter service. I thought about a friend who told me what she was going to write. On one side we write our before Christ word or phrase. On the other, we write what God has done for us. Her "after" is but now I'm found. I thought, yes, we are all lost. I myself am invisible. Just at that moment the Holy Spirit whispered,

"No you're not. You are seen"

At that moment I felt that feeling. I think I know my secret name, I told Amanda. When I got to the building, I tried to get on-line to look the word up, but it crashed. I asked three people if they had a concordance in their bible and all three didn't have their bible on them. Oh well, it will have to wait until later. One of the people offered to go to their car and get the Bible. I looked up SEEN and guess what? Nothing came up. LOL. He suggested I look up SIGHT. This is what I found:

Psalm 116:15 "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants."

Uh, no that's not my verse. Let's look again, I think.

Then I see this verse:

2 Corinthians 5:7 (New King James Version)
"For we walk by faith, not by sight."


I smile, close the Bible and said, thank you. That's it!

If you haven't noticed, that is the verse at the top of the blog. God spoke to me and said that I didn't have to be noticed by anyone else. He notices me and I am faithful to Him. That is enough. His grace is sufficient.

I highly recommend this book. It has just given me one more reason to draw closer to my Lord. Please take a moment to check out Kary Oberbrunner (the author's)website. Yesterday he was talking about fasting. I have been fasting for several days. Maybe I'll blog and share that with you...someday...or maybe not.

Have a blessed night and remember that on Good Friday, Jesus died for everyone not just us Followers. He loves you desperately and wants to have a relationship with you.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."




************************************************************************************

I just went to Your Secret Name website and there is a test you can take to find out your secret name. I clicked on invisible and it brought up this:

"Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” Genesis 16:13

How can you doubt God exists? I LOVE HIM!

Proverbs 31 Ministries

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12 (NIV)

I Was Her

I saw her coming across the arena. Deliberately. Intentionally. Her eyes fixed on the stage… on me… on what I must have represented in that moment — a woman who might understand.

Through the crowd. Up the stairs. Across the stage. She stood next to me pressing her shoulder against mine as I was speaking to 6500 women.
And there she was staring out at thousands, but pressing into one. Needing more than words.

Later she explained she needed God and thought if she stood close enough to me, she just might be able to feel Him.

I didn’t have time to carefully plan what to do. I’ve never had this happen before. I’ve never seen this happen. It wasn’t even on my scope of possibility. But there she was. And there I was. Two women who simply, desperately need Jesus.

And because I am so hyper aware of my own desperation for Jesus every moment of every day, I simply wrapped my arm around her and kept on speaking.

It was a wrinkle in time. Something that wasn’t supposed to be and yet was. And I think I now know why.

I needed to remember that ravenous longing I once had to press against somebody who knew Jesus. I was her. Looking at other people’s faith wondering how to get that. That depth. That closeness. That unswerving conviction.

I truly thought if only a person with that faith would let me close enough, I’d discover their secret. I’d learn their routines. I’d mimic their obedience. I’d follow them to the ends of the earth until I got it right. Then, then, then, I’d feel close to Jesus. I’d understand the Bible. I’d pray powerful prayers. And all would finally make sense.

However, there is a big difference between being close to people who love Jesus and being close to Jesus Himself.

I can certainly learn from people. “He who walks with the wise, grows wise.” (Proverbs 13:20a, NIV)

But if I want closeness with Jesus, I won’t find that in following anyone but Jesus Himself. He is the One who must be pursued.

There have been a thousand whispers from my heart, “Show me, Jesus. Show me how to follow You, be close to You, press into You, be more like You…show me. Show me today. Show me in this minute. Show me, please Jesus, show me.”

A thousand whispers. And there will surely be thousands more that pour from my lips. For Jesus wants us to walk with Him. He says, “Follow me.” Over 20 times in the Gospels, “Follow me. Follow me.”

And those who dare to whisper yes and then walk in His ways, find the One for whom they are longing. “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.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13, NIV)

Yes, there she was. And there I was. Two women who simply, desperately need Jesus.

Dear Lord, I desperately need You. I want to know You for myself. Show me. Help me to follow You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Written by Lysa TerKeurst

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mary-Claire

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

This is extreme long but so worth the read. My Sunday school class was talking about trusting in the Lord. Our ways are not His ways. As we try to grasp why things happen in life, tears are shed. I left class in hopes to draw closer to my Lord today while sitting by the ball field. I quickly check may email for any last minute updates from Coach and notice a caringbridge. Mary-Claire? It's been a long time since I've seen that name. Should I read it or delete it, I think? They are so sad, I have to honestly admit my heart. But I decided to read it anyway. I am so blessed by this update that I want to share it with you.

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."




March 20th, when spring was only a few hours old, I began my Eternal Life... the reason we live.... living to grow character, to choose Him and to be the Body of Christ.
Be strong and learn. Show everyone that you chose Him. Be His hands when you touch His children, let your feet walk where He sends you, let your lips speak the words He inspires.
Go.

Background Story
Mary-Claire had headaches for a while at the end of the summer of 2007. In August 2007, her third birthday party got lost in a blur of headaches and morning vomiting. Friday, September 21st, emergency MRI. This was our first MRI and as it was scheduled at the last minute, we never got the call about how to prepare. MC was not NPO. She tried to lay real still for the MRI, but needed sedation. A nurse recommended we try a CAT scan, since we were there, and obviously this kid was in discomfort. The CAT scan showed a mass. We were hopeful for a diagnosis of Astrocytoma, but this mass was carefully centered on the cerebellum, a hallmark of Medulloblastoma. Her ventricles were enlarged from increased intracranial pressure. The tumor was blocking passage and absorption of CSF, the fluid that surrounds the brain and spine. It was urgent to relieve that pressure. Mom and Dad accompanied a grumpy agitated pre-schooler to the PICU. Once Mary-Claire received some pain medication, she turned back in to her charming, gregarious self. She disappeared behind a flurry of activity and medications to intubate. We were consoled that among the pain meds she was receiving, was Versed, a medication that would block her memories of these dark days. Sunday, September 23rd - Neurosurgeons take Mary-Claire for surgery through the Posterior Fossa to get to the tumor and remove it. It was good that this was Sunday. We didn't have to share the waiting room with other families. It was hours. Nine. Good news, all the tumor was resected. Bad news, Medulloblastoma with leptomeningeal disease. No other tumors, per se, but a coating of cancer cells on every available surface of the brain and spine. Aggressive. Not good. Mary-Claire waking, a glimpse of our girl. She mouths, "take me home." She falls back to sleep. When she awakes next, she has Posterior Fossa Syndrome or Cerebellar Mutism. She can't speak, her eyes won't process, paralysis radiates from the center of her body. Her legs sure can thrash. She can't roll her head at all. Mommy and Daddy begin caring for her like baby, all over again. Hide the doctors and nurses, she's terrified of them. Radiation is the only treatment that can tame this beast. Radiation that can steal her intellect, her height and her health. At three years is when the brain stops growing so rapidly. Rapid growth is what the treatments target. The treatments won't know the difference between cancer cells and rapidly multiplying brain cells of another brilliant Barmada kid. We'll try chemo to buy a little time. We'll keep working her through PFS/CM. Somewhere in the blur meals start to arrive. They arrive for 3 weeks. Chris' good friend Tracey spearheads Operation Neglect Prevention. Honestly, Chris hadn't thought about feeding people for a while. Good thing Tracey noticed. Lots of other balls start to drop. Mountains of laundry, dog dragging her empty bowls around, tumbleweeds of cat fur....Somewhere in the blur the laundry starts to disappear. Steve and Rebecca had arrived. Their children offer a distraction to Mary-Claire's sibs. October 6, Mary-Claire comes home. Doctors are recommending inpatient rehab situation. We know that the best place for a kid to heal is back among the familiar. October 9, Mediport insertion. Neat gadet. Hide a port under the skin. Skin is the best protection against infection. Emergence Dysphoria. It has a name. Common in kids. Explains a lot. After every exposure to anesthesia, Mary-Claire looks so uncomfortable. As her paralysis improves, we get a better look at just how uncomfortable. October 9, Chemo starts. Three days plus another for hydration. Still paralyzed and mute. October 29, Chemo round 2. November 10, walking with assistance, weak and imbalanced. November 17, talking, finally!! Improving fast! Mom and Dad have missed that gorgeous voice. November 20, MRI LP, Emergence Dysphoria from Versed. LP under general anesthesia now. November 26, Chemo round 3 interrupted. Bad news from LP. More cells. Lots of cells. Move immediately to radiation. Huge Thanksgiving dinner, lots of family! December 3, Rads to whole brain and spine, followed by boost to tumor bed. 6 weeks total, every week day. Music therapy takes our mind off the waiting. December 19, clear LP. Christmas sleepover... Tayta and Jido and Bella. Gifts with Gab Rick Michael and MomMom. January 16, End of Rads Party at Chuck e Cheese's. Jumping, running, talking and tattling! Dad's been taking me to Children's every day. Maybe I'll take him to the beach. February 24, Beach Vacation YAY! March 1, relapse. It's time. Time to say good-bye. I have met so many friends and family members during this journey. I know them. They know me. I will take a part of them to heaven with me. March 20, I meet my Heavenly Father, and my PopPop and his father. PopPop's mom joins us near the end of 2009, her spirit freed from decline and dementia.

CaringBride Update received today, April 17, 2011


Spring has arrived.
It's time to play outside.
The waterfall is begging to flow.
What a wonderful reminder of the sunny glow of warm friendships, the babble of children's chatter, the refreshing spring of faith...

It was during this Easter season that Mary-Claire lost her biref battle with cancer but won her place in heaven.

While there are still days when we can't breathe for the longing we feel to hold her, listen to her thoughts and watch her strong body play in the sunshine, we are always comforted. We can feel that Mary-Claire is nearby. We can feel the presence of God. We are not alone.

I'd like to tell you a little story.
I was telling a new friend about Mary-Claire and the wonder of friendship we discovered during her last months. I described the dinners, the visits, the calls, the cards, the gifts, the relics and holy water. I described the waterfall and the art that surrounds it.

I mentioned how sweet was the red glass heart that appeared one day. Just the kind of thing a little girl would love.

Just after this discussion I was sorting some used toys for work. They were all small things, legos, GI joes, erasers, marbles... 20 pounds of things smaller than a matchbox car.

In the very bottom of the bin were two tiny red glass hearts. The same exact dimensions as the heart in the waterfall, but pocket sized. One for mom and one for dad.

I carry mine with me as a reminder that although I have a longing for my loved ones in Heaven, they long for me too.

This week Christ accepts his destiny. Through his death, Christ saved mankind from bondage to sin, and He destroyed the hold that death has on all of us.
It is His Resurrection that gives us the promise of new life, both in this world and the next.

During this most important week for followers of Christ, I wish you the sense of comfort and appreciation for the sacrifice Christ made when he opened his arms on the cross. And I hope you get the chance to feel, as I occasionally do, that He is waiting and longing for you.

Blessings to you for Easter.

Christina

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Girlfriends in God by Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts; whose name is the Lord, and exult before Him (Psalm 68:4).


Friend to Friend
I love the story of the woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head. "Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today. She did and she had a wonderful day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "Hmm", she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." She did and she had a great day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun day. The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "Yes!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!" Now that's what I call having a good attitude.

Attitude can transform anything and everything - thoughts, habits, and perspectives. We can literally change our lives by changing the way we think. In Isaiah 26:3 (NLT), we find the promise, "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you." A mind filled with thoughts fixed on God will produce a heart filled with praise - and girlfriend, praise is a powerful tool in our spiritual arsenal.

Praise brings healing to our spirit. When we honestly express our trust in God, then choose to give thanks, healing begins. Praise provides a highway upon which the Father conveys deliverance and blessing. Praise invites God to take up residence in the midst of our messy lives and becomes a free-flowing conduit of God's very presence and power at work in us. God funnels infinite blessings into a life that praises Him. Stress and anxiety fade as peace floods the heart that is filled with praise.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts. (Psalm 68:4, ICB)

But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22: 3, NKJV)


Don't miss the life changing truth that we can enthrone God in every situation of our lives by praising Him. Praise converts our everyday surroundings into His dwelling place. It is from that throne of praise that God dispenses victory. Praise tunes us into His sovereignty and allows us to experience the reality and power of His presence.

Praise strengthens our prayer life. Prayer is not only a remarkable privilege that we often fail to recognize or understand, it is also part of our worship to God. There is the asking side of prayer when we seek forgiveness, lay needs before God and intercede on behalf of others. Then there is the appreciating side of prayer when we offer praise and thanksgiving to God for who He is and what He has done. Our relationship with God is strengthened through prayer and praise.

Now here is my favorite truth about praise. Are you ready? Praise devastates Satan and his forces. Yes! I love it! In fact, Psalm 20:5 (NIV) promises, "We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God." Satan is well aware of just how powerful praise is and I suspect he absolutely hates it ... which absolutely delights me! I can almost sense his fury when I choose to praise God instead of questioning Him. He hates it when I walk by faith, setting aside feelings and emotions while focusing on God's Word and His faithfulness in my life.

Through continual prayer, through the power of God's Word and through faithful praise, we declare our trust in God to deliver us. Praise lifts up the shield of faith in spiritual warfare. Praise makes a frontal attack on doubt and fear. Even in the midst of Satan's best efforts, we can find victory when we praise Him.

Let's Pray
When you can't seem to find the right words to pray - go to the Word of God and pray Scripture. Join me in a prayer of praise found in Psalm 150.

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with timbrel and dancing, praise Him with the strings and pipe, praise Him with the clash of cymbals, praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Now It's Your Turn

Are you known as a woman who praises God?
As you begin each day, take time to position your mind and heart for praise.
Look for opportunities during the day to praise God - then voice that praise aloud.
Begin keeping a praise journal in which you write your praises to God.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Grades are in

Yesterday was report cards. Amanda received three A's, one B, two C's and two D's. I couldn't be happier!

English - A...B...C (69.77, whoo hoo!)
Social Studies - B...D...D (66%)
Pre-Algebra - B...F...D (60%)
Science - B...D...C (75%)
Tech Ed - A (that's wood shop)
Fam. Cons. Sci - B (that's home economics)
Phys Ed - A
Health - A

She worked her behind off to receive these grades. English was a big surprise because I was certain it would be one C and three D's. When I shared that with people, each and everyone would go "oh".

Amanda's best friend has received straight A's for all three marking periods. That is 24 A's. It is impressive to see. And that's her, I tell Amanda. We are not to compare our life with anyone else's life. It's hard. We do. But God has made Amanda in His image. She is blessed by the best.

Last night, I didn't feel like doing anything. It was a very long day with the apples. We had an ice-cream party at 10 am (what?!) and then the pageant at 4:30. The Apples sang "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord". I got home at 6 pm. Ran the children around and then collapsed on the couch by 7:15. The house was quiet. My head was pounding. I just rested and reflected on the weeks events. This morning, I found these words to be so comforting in the devotional that arrived yesterday.

From Girlfriends in God, written by Mary Southerland (April 8)

Today's Truth
"He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God" (Psalm 50:23)




Praise turns trials into faith-builders as we learn to measure our problems against His limitless power, transforming the stumbling blocks of today into stepping stones for tomorrow.

Praise frees us from having to understand our circumstances, knowing that God is in control. A heart that is filled with praise does not have to understand every detail of the circumstance. In fact, the details really don't matter. What does matter is that God is aware of every minute detail, monitors the circumstance and shapes it to fit His plan.

Praise transforms tragedy into triumph. Are we going to become bitter or better?

I know that many of you have had a tough year. Loss, disappointment, pain, financial stress ... the list is endless. Go ahead and make that list, girlfriend. Add it all up. Then factor in the grace, mercy and love of God - and celebrate the fact that He is more than enough. Praise God!

Let's Pray
Father, I give You praise for Your hand at work in my life. At times, I have not understood what You were doing - and still don't. But it doesn't matter, Lord, because I know I can trust You. Help me remember that my inner heart attitude does not have to reflect my outer circumstances. No matter what comes my way, I can praise You, knowing it will all turn out for my good and Your glory.
In Jesus' name,


Daniel's report card is a little different. Math is the only grade he receives. He has had a C for the last two marking periods but has gone up to a B-!

Anyway...

Today is opening day of little league. We will be busy from now until June. So if you are wondering where we are, it's at a game or at a practice, seeing that Daniel is on two teams. Have a Spectacular Saturday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Conversation with God

I confess: I was angry. I was complaining. I had hate in my heart. I cried. I wanted someone to feel bad for me. To feel bad for my girl. I was so hurt. Won't anyone love my child? Who will love my child?

That's when JJ Heller's song came to mind, Love Me. "Who will love me for me. Not for what I have done or what I will become?"

Yes, God, you will.

I email Jeannette. I text Denise and my Pastor. Then I email them also. Why am I not praying. Why am I going elsewhere?

Lord, what can I do? I am so frustrated. Who will help my child? Who will help me?

My help comes from the Lord.

I google those words and find Psalm 121. I think there is a song too, but I can't think. I have to take Amanda to dance class. As we get in the car, I said "Panara cookie or Frosty?" She finally decided on a Frosty. As we drove to dance, I had her read Psalm 121. I asked her if she knew what song that was. She started singing it immediately. "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns.

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm


I've been thinking about something a lot lately. I don't know it I can take credit for this or if I heard it somewhere, but Amanda is a "crack dweller". Now you can get your mind right out of the gutter and listen while I explain.

She is that person who falls between the cracks and goes unnoticed. As I explain this to her on the drive to dance, I said "I too am a cracker dweller. And your aunt." But we do not go unnoticed by God. He has never taken His eyes off of us.

I continue, "God is the only one who will not ignore you. He will not belittle you. He will not disappoint you."

It's about a ten minute drive, but we got to read the bible together. We sang a song together. We talked about how much I love her. How I am frustrated with the situation but not her. And we talked about God's love.

Then I went to bible study. I sat and spoke to two of my sisters. They are both so knowledgeable in an area that I am not. They understand 504 plans. I was given websites and encouraged to obtain an advocate for Amanda. I was immediately encouraged. It was brought to my attention that the math teachers homework policy does not apply to a child with a 504 plan. Oh, I have research to do.

Father God,
You are amazing. You know exactly what I need and who to deliver that information through. You have strategically placed the most amazing people in my life.
I confess that I struggled for several hours yesterday with emotions that were not of You, Lord. I had anger, frustration, doubt, and disappointment.
I thank You Lord for taking those from me. Keep providing a way out Lord. Show me how to resist the temptation to complain. Thank you for this storm. How many people are praying for me and my girl?
I ask that you give me the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Please give me the brain to understand what I am reading on the L.I.F.E website.
In Jesus name. AMEN.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Came To My Rescue

Remember when teething and diaper rash were our big issues? Give me a crabby baby today, Lord.

Oh no. It's me who is the crabby one.

This is where I am tonight, with a complaining heart...a broken heart yet again for my daughter. Nothing new. I've had this fight, this conversation, this disappointment for seven years. Lord, will you take this from me?


Psalm 119:156 "Your compassion, LORD, is great; preserve my life according to your laws."


Amanda will receive her 3rd marking period report card on Friday. So we are one week in to the last marking period of seventh grade. She has had four homework assignments, one quiz and one test. She received an 8% on the quiz and an 18% on the test. She has a 24% currently in math. On Friday she left her homework in her locker. When she went back two periods later, it was not accepted. These are her words. I have since called the school, wrote a letter, left a note and emailed both the teacher and counselor. Ugh, I am so frustrated and I have been complaining about this all day it seems.

I confess. My heart is struggling with sin. As I wash the dishes I pray and ask God to take these feelings from me. Give me a word, Lord.

Mercy

I thought, YES. What is that song from Denise's email?


Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek your face
Lord all I am is yours

My whole life
I place in your hands
God of Mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at your throne

I called you answered
And you came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where you are

In my life be lifted high
In our world be lifted high
In our love be lifted high

Hillsong


This song came just when I needed it to. I am so thankful for my encouragement team!

Click here to hear (LOL).

I listen to this song, again and again!

I read 2 Corinthians 12. Again and again. I pray. Yes, it is clear. These thorns are to bring me closer to the Lord and give Him the Glory. EVERYTIME!

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

W.O.W on Tuesday

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified
because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6



"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of faith."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Age of Opportunity

These are notes that I took from my Wednesday night class. While Amanda is at youth group (Breakaway) I meet with other "needy" parents. That's what we call each other. I needed to take a parenting class twelve years ago. But all they offer you is how to bath a baby. How to nurse a baby. How to diaper a baby. They don't tell you how to handle a child who is being selfish, shouting commands at his family. They don't tell you how to deal with a child who lies. They don't tell you how to deal with a child who feels that they are the center of the universe.

So, on Sundays I meet with a mixed group (men and women) to get to the root of Christ's teachings. On Wednesday, I meet with "teen" parents. And on Thursday I meet with my "sistas".

Am I so Godly because I go to three bible studies? No, I am in an incredible need of Jesus!


Getting to the Heart of the Child


Luke 6:45

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.



Use these questions when the child needs correction.

1. What was going on?
2. What were you thinking and feeling as it was happening?
3. What did you do in response?
4. Why did you do it? What did you want to happen?
5. What was the result? (and what happened?)


Change is a process not an event.


1. Situation or interpreting
2. Heart
3. Words and behavior
4. Motives, goals, purposes, desire
5. Consequence


Precept ……..Principle……..Person (God)

Don’t Steal……..Honesty…….Honest


No matter how well you act with the child, you cannot change a child.


Goal – lasting change

Is lasting change taking place?

Get to Your Own Heart

1. You will turn moment of ministries into moments of anger.
2. Because you personalized it. It’s not about you.
3. Is it an object of my affection or an obstacle in my way.
4. Do we settle for quick situational solutions that don’t get to the heart of
the matter? No wisdom, no insight?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Place of Thus Far

Received this in my email from Proverbs 31 Ministries, on 31 Mar 2011

By Wendy Pope

"Then King David went in and sat before the LORD and said, Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?" 2 Samuel 7:18 (ESV)


Have you ever been in a place of “thus far?” A place where you are experiencing God’s blessing and favor on your life. Not blessings and favor by the world’s standards of materialism and wealth, but by the Lord’s standard of provision, protection, providence, and peace that come from walking in His presence daily.
I want to be in that place of faith, like David, following the Lord’s leading and trusting His ways, not my own. I want to meet regularly with the Lord, sitting and taking summary of all He has done for me. With thankfulness and humility, I want to say, “Who am I that you have brought me thus far?”
Oh the places David had seen in his lifetime! From grassy meadows to the splendor of palace life. From dirty fields tending sheep to hiding in a drafty cave, and then to the throne itself, King David arrived at a place of “thus far” in his life. He had experienced every emotion that exists, from confidence to fear, love to hate, and sadness to joy. After all that King David had been through I can certainly understand why he needed to go sit before the LORD and ask, “Who am I?”
He was overwhelmed with the goodness of God and the faithfulness he had experienced. He had been through some of the toughest situations a person could go through, yet he remained faithful and God gave David his reward. Yet, I have to think the reward of kingship and royalty paled in comparison to knowing the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Have you been there? Life has taken twists, turns, and changes at every bend, yet somehow for a season you have arrived at a place of seeing spiritual blessings from the Lord. Yet you realize your place of thus far pales in comparison to knowing and experiencing the goodness and faithfulness of God.
No matter what current circumstances you find yourself in, with our Living God there is always a place of “thus far” waiting around the next bend. This is a place of celebration, praise, complete humility and gratitude before the Lord. I have discovered the hardships we go through are all worthwhile when we get to our place of “thus far.” From a grateful heart, we can pour our blessings back out to the Lord as we cry, “Who I am Lord, that you have brought me thus far?”

Dear Lord, forgive me when I don’t sit and take summary of Your tremendous favor in my life. Your blessings are far superior to anything this world can give me. Help me to remember my place of “thus far” when Your plan for my life leads me to another season that may be risky and cause me to walk by faith and not by sight. I offer this praise of thanksgiving to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen


As I read these words, I feel like I could have written them. I feel so blessed even in the midst of everything that has happened in the last six months. Who am I, that this is where I am today? Thank you, Lord!

Then I heard this song! I was so thankful that I had not put my mascara on. Wow, it hit me so hard. "I am a thorn in Your crown. But You loved me anyway."