Archive: April, 2011

Remember When?

Hey girls in our Frazzled Female Bible Study Group…Do y’all remember a couple of weeks ago when I did the string demonstration? Here is the clip I got that from. Francis Chan does it way better than I did!:)

A Photo Journal ~ What Brings YOU Joy

This post is in response to Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista Jam on the topic of “What Brings YOU Joy?”
JOY ~ intense, ecstatic, or exultant happiness or pleasure. The Biblical Greek term from Paul’s spiritual ‘orchard’ in Galatians is chara: joy, cheer, gladness, or celebration. Joy runs deeper than mere ‘pleasure’, is more enduring than mere ‘fun’, and is more intense and thrilling than mere ‘happiness’. Especially in a spiritual context, joy runs deep into the core of us, and radiates throughout (see Spirit home.com).
For me, joy is…
…Walking down a stony path as fall leaves rustle and whirl with each hum of the wind.
…Watching your child place two crumpled one dollar bills in the offering plate as she whispers, “Mom, I want to give Jesus everything I have.”
…Experiencing the undeniable presence of the God of all comfort when the nurse fumbles over the words, “Your baby might not make it.”
…The sparkle behind my baby-girl’s eyes as she runs down the aisle, shakes the pastor’s hand, and says, “My bathing suit’s ready; I want to be baptized today!”
…Flipping on the bathroom light only to discover a Barbie marathon wrapped around the outskirts of my bathtub.

 
 
 

 

…Meeting a fellow Georgia girl who also lives in Reno; who prefers Coke over Pepsi, who delivers sweet tea and okra on my birthday, and who enjoys making crazy faces at the supper table.
…Snapping a picture of a puzzled potty training two-year-old with a kitten. Isn’t it hard enough sittin’ on that baby potty without the cat? 
…Returning to the Drive Thru Wedding Window where my husband and I got married. Total wedding expenses: $25.00.
…Serving with godly women at conferences, homeless shelters, Bible studies, and wherever God leads.
…Driving three hours to meet author/speaker Lysa Terkeurst. And yes, the driving was joyful for two stay at home mamas.
…Girlfriends you can call anytime for anything.
                   …Matching Easter dresses.
…Being in ministry with awesome women.
…Wiggly teeth, children singing, slow-moving moments, sleep-overs, movie nights, true love smiles, back rubs, giggles to go around, three year old phrases…
Thank you God for all the sweet blessings you have given me. Thank you for all the godly women I have met while serving you. Thank you for reviving my heart when I was simply going through the motions. You are an awesome God!

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Mama Knows Best

As a mom, I feel desperate most of the time. Desperate for just the right tools to toss into my parenting toolbox. Different tools for different offenses. Different tools for tinkering around bad attitudes, lying, whining, leaving a mess, and acting disrespectfully.
I remember as a new mom, I read every book about parenting and discipline. Lisa Welchel wrote a book called “Creative Correction.” My personal copy is barely recognizable. It’s been earmarked, written in, and tagged with sticky notes. I thought if I read enough, somehow I’d be good enough.
I’ve listened to the best of advice.
“Breast-feeding is good; formula is bad;”

“Children should be potty-trained by age two;”

“Make sure you get on the pre-school waiting lists, they’re awfully long;”

“Don’t spank, time outs only.”

With all these “do’s” and “don’ts,” it’s amazing we mama’s know what to do and when to do it. No wonder our multi-taking, over-worked mama brains are on informational overload.
It’s confusing to a mom who just wants to get it right.
If we let him, God will re-direct our thoughts.
In the midst of highlighting line after line, page after page, God interrupted.
In the middle of pencil scribbles across the margins of the latest mom book, God re-directed. He spoke these words straight to my heart:
“There’s only one Book you should be reading. Stop listening to everyone else. You need to be right with me first. Then everything else will fall into place. Then, you will become the godly mom your children deserve.”
God didn’t create us to follow self help advice tucked inside well-meaning parenting toolboxes. We were made to follow Jesus. That’s it.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” (Romans 12:2 (NIV).
As believers, we aren’t supposed to respond like everybody else to life’s typical situations. Instead, we are to be transformed as God renews, replenishes, and redeems us~ as he molds us into the image of Christ.
I’ve never been more desperate for Jesus than I am right now. Being a wife, mom, and child of God humbles me. I am humbled by how much I don’t know and by how much I need Him.
How does this apply to the ordinary stay-at-home mom’s life?
Well, when we’re drowning in laundry, child-rearing, and errands, we cry out to God, “I can’t do this on my own; guide me, strengthen me, show me what to do.” As we do this, we loosen our grip on worldly tools for success and courageously embrace the words and ways of God, Follow me and walk in my paths,” (Ps. 81:13, NLT).
Lord, help me to follow your ways and nobody else’s. I am desperate for you. I need more of you. Please guide me down your path of righteousness. Amen.

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Embossed Jesus…….It’s a Dawna Day!

This Easter weekend, I found one word echoing in my head- raised, raised, raised.

I admit this year Easter felt rushed. It felt like another holiday filled with expectations and commitments. I longed to get close to Jesus; I longed to experience him on his glorious day. After hearing “raised” so many times, and although I knew the meaning, I found myself looking up the definition and it was the synonym that brought me into his presence.
Embossed. The free-dictionary clearly states that the synonym for “raised” is “embossed.”
You may think okay, “On the third day Jesus was embossed from the dead?” Yes, I believe he was.
Embossed ~ Provided with something to increase it’s beauty or distinguish.
When Jesus entered the room after being crucified, I bet his disciples would tell you he never looked so good.
Close your eyes for a moment. Can you see your savior just days after being burdened unto death, days after beatings and scourging, days after defeating death/Satan, just hours after being reunited with the father? Yes indeed, he would be embossed with the glow of God. The Glory of his love blinding, shining, imagine the big smile spread across his face lovely touching everyone, hugging them, kissing them knowing It is done, love will reign forever and ever.
Yes his beauty increased to immeasurable heights that glorious day. Was he distinguishable among men? Well I don’t have to answer that. My prayer for you dear sister is that you hear the words of Paul in Colossians 3:1… Since then, you have been raised with Christ.

Should we not walk into rooms with the same smile and glow about us, rejoicing? We are alive, ALIVE, we were dead and now alive, raised with Christ! I don’t know about you, but when I meditate on this fact I am instantly brought into his presence, giddy with excitement, in awe of his sacrifice, my praises soar, his love knows no bounds, eternity with Christ awaits.
Embossed YES! Raised Halleluiah!!!

Are We Too Casual About Easter?

The service is too long. I can’t worship with that kind of music. The building is too cold. The church programs don’t suite me. I’m sure you know people in your church who focus on things such as these.
This Easter weekend we have the privilege to walk through the doors of our churches and worship the way we want to. We can tuck a Bible underneath our arm without wondering if the police are coming to arrest us. We can fall to our knees, lift our hands, and sing praises to God for all he has done without one ounce of persecution.
Lately, I’ve been thinking, “A little persecution in my life might not be such a bad thing.” It would cut off a large supply of comfort in which I’ve grown accustom to. It would knock the wind out of me leaving me breathless and gasping for Jesus.
Do you need the wind knocked out of you today?
What exactly are you concerned about this Easter Sunday?
What dress to wear, what food to fix, which service to attend?
Whatever you’re concerned about doesn’t mean anything unless your concern is in alignment with the cross. Our thoughts should be on the One who was tortured just for us. Our focus should be on a Savior who cried out to God on our behalf. Our hearts delight should be in knowing He is alive!
Sometimes We Get Too Casual About Our Worship.
No matter what you are worshipping today, God WILL be worshipped. The Bible talks about people who became too casual in their worship of God. In Malachi 1, God basically says, If you don’t want to worship me with everything you’ve got, don’t do me any favors.
It doesn’t matter if the room is too cold, you didn’t get your favorite parking spot, or you didn’t like the music, you should be able to worship God anywhere, anytime, and anyplace.
“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” Psalm 46:10 (New International Version).
This Easter let’s celebrate a God who says I WILL. I will be exalted. I will be worshipped. I will raise this temple on the third day. I will redeem you. No matter what is going on in your life right now, he WILL be exalted in it, through it, and because of it.
So when we’re dressed in our Sunday best and seated in a climate controlled room, instead of asking “Did I get anything out of my worship?” Maybe the question we should be asking is, “Did God get anything out of my worship?”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die,” John 11:25-26(NIV).

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This post is in response to Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista Thursday Jam…

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GRACE, GRACE, GRACE

God’s

Redemption

At

Christ’s

Expense

The word Grace is soothing. It’s easy on the ears. It’s a healing salve that spreads across a wounded heart.
It’s freely given ~ a gift that keeps on giving.
Grace breathes new life. It doesn’t keep a record of wrong. It promises never to look backwards.
It began on the gentle hill of Calvary’s mount where the lamb was sacrificed; His blood spilled.
For the believer, grace peacefully flows from the outer realms of heaven and pours into our wretched soul.
Grace waits for us. It longs for us. It waits to hear one small word… “yes.”
God’s Grace…
Is bigger than all our sin;

Pardons;

It exceeds our guilt;

Given at Christ’s expense;

Swapped for our unrighteousness;

Humbles us;

Justifies us;

Gives confident hope;

Our strength comes from it;

Basis of our eternal hope; and

Grace is the foundation for forgiveness.
Grace is unmerited favor towards us. We are undeserving of it but we receive it anyway. We stand firm in it (see 1 Peter 5:12). It overflows to us, the saint; and saves us, the sinner (see Eph. 2:5-8).
It enables us to live worthy of the call (2 Thess. 1:11).
Grace is marvelous, infinite, and matchless!
What does God’s grace mean to you today?
“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace,” (1 Cor. 15:10 NLT).

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Are You A Woman of Hope?

It’s more than a sprinkle. More than a splash from folded hands clapping against the water. More than a squirt of pool water sprayed between wiggly teeth.
The feeling I’m describing is more like swiveling off a concrete edge. Tippy toes curl over a cracked surface unsure of where they are going. Fingers twiddle, knees bend, and eyes focus on drifting water.
Suddenly, a crisp breeze pushes ripples across a watery reflection of a hopeful woman who slowly disappears. Images of hope and promise swirl in a blur as she becomes immersed in dense waters of disappointment.
When moments, such as these, wash up on the outer-banks of our hearts, we have two options to consider:
We can belly-flop into crushing waves of despondency; or

We can dog-paddle to the only source of hope we know. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus ~the only ledge of hope worth reaching for.

It seems harmless to sputter off the words, “I am disappointed,” but the reality is words like these provide fresh water to seedlings of discouragement waiting to sprout beneath the surface. Seeds of disappointment will ultimately shoot forth with buds of depression, discouragement, and despair. This will distract us from our faith…causing us to be focused on self rather than on God.
Have you ever known someone who said they were disappointed and then a few months later they were completely depressed? Their seed of disappointed grew into stalks of despair. Their spiritual growth stunted because of something that began as a simple distraction.
How do we stop the cycle? We Discipline Ourselves.
Discipline ~ means “training to ensure proper behavior.”
We can stop disappointment in its tracks by disciplining ourselves to stop, pause, and pray.
We stop ourselves from over-reacting;
We pause for logical thinking to rise above untamed emotions; and
We pray, pray, pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to get us through something we cannot do in our own strength.
It’s difficult. It’s a pull up your sleeves and dig in your heels kind of work.
But, when we seek God’s face and intervention in our lives,
We become…
Women of hope,

Women of faith, and

Women of trust.

We become a woman who places her trust, her confidence, and her hope firmly in the sovereignty of an Almighty God. A woman who’s willing to release her plans so she is available to receive his plans.
Placing our hope in Jesus is what motivates us to cling to him when tumultuous waters rise. We cling, we grab, and we reach for Jesus as if He were the only life vest on a sinking ship. Whatever, whenever, however, we just get to him and we hold on for dear life.
Remember hope floats; disappointment sinks.
When you begin sinking, will you reach for Him?
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” Romans 5:5 (NLT).

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Crosses and Losses

You’ve heard the phrase…  “crosses to bear.”
Got any?

You know– little daily disappointments or huge past regrets that we just can’t seem to let go of. Decisions gone bad either by us or for us. Personal shortcomings, losses, disadvantages… physical, financial or emotional.
Yep, I’ve got some.
They infiltrate our hearts and minds as unwelcomed, uninvited guests… squatters… and we are powerless to evict them from the premises. They consume us with great deliberation… arousing any of the many negative emotions… discontentment, anger, pride and bitterness.
Relentlessly they follow us around, clouding our view of what is truly most important… our relationship with God.
Fact: We cannot truly know God when our hearts and souls are caught up in the crosses and losses of our lives.
Paul tells us
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.”
–Philippians 3: 7-10 NIV
J.I. Packer in his book “Knowing God” states…

“When Paul says he counts the things he lost rubbish, or dung (KJV), he means not merely that he does not think of them as having any value, but also that he does not live with them constantly on his mind: what normal person spends his time nostalgically dreaming of manure? Yet this, in effect, is what many of us do. It shows how little we have in the way of true knowledge of God.”
So, true.
First, to actually think that our losses are anything comparable to the “Cross” seems almost blasphemous to me. There is no loss that any one of us could experience that would hold a candle to what Christ endured on the cross for our sake.
Second, my losses are little and insignificant—nothing, compared to what I gain in Christ—everything.
So much time is spent thinking about all the “what-ifs in life.” We blame ourselves, others and even God for not having the life we dreamed… forgetting what we actually deserve: nothing.
Last, we have the choice to either dwell on what is lost over what is gained. And, what an important choice this is! We can only get so far in our journey of loving and knowing God if we make the wrong one.
I want freedom from the chains of losses to gain intimacy with God. When I look at it like this it’s an easy, no-questions-asked choice, right?!
Ah, but old habits do die hard. Habits like these are embedded into our flesh and they will never go away completely. However, if they are consistently managed they can be mortified… not in our strength of course, but by the Spirit within us.
J.I. Packer also poses the question… 

“Can we say, simply, honestly, not because we feel that as evangelicals we ought to, but because it is a plain matter of fact, that we have known God, and that because we have known God the unpleasantness we have had, or the pleasantness we have not had, through being Christians does not matter to us?”
I can’t, but I want to.

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M.O.M Takes a Spring Break!

The Secret Giver

A few weeks ago I wrote about a thoughtful “someone” who left Kelli and I sweet gift and a precious Word of encouragement. You can read about it here.
Well, today I am excited to share a story about another anonymous giver. A precious friend of mine has endured some financial struggles. I won’t get into the details, but I will say that they made the decision to downsize their possessions and their home. 
I know this is hard for her.
I remember when they bought the home that they are leaving and how much she loved it. She thanked God for it, treasured it… she said it would satisfy her completely if her children spent all of their childhood there. I also remember that even then, she knew that God gives and He often takes away.
She has always carried that perspective about everything.
Though no doubt her heart aches some, I see her accepting whatever God has for her with open arms… even without some of the things that have made her life comfortable and without that treasured home. Through this I’ve witnessed joy in her eyes as she embarks on a new adventure… and it’s not that she’s hiding her true feelings… on the contrary; she possesses authentic God-given joy.
She inspires me.
Last week she anticipated a call to hear what they would need to pay to move into their new place. She and her husband were in prayer because they didn’t know how they were going to come up with the deposit.
Then the call came. The voice on the phone gave an amount that was even more than they had thought and her heart sank. However, the voice went on to explain… “someone” came by today and paid it all!
Anonymously. 
Before she let the woman go she boldly asked her if she knew the Lord and told her that she has just witnessed Him at work!
My friend hung up and as the tears fell she lifted her hands and her heart up to God in overwhelming praise and thanksgiving for this undeserved gift.
Undeserved… yes. But, given anyway. Accepted humbly… and used mightily to glorify His Holy name.
She has no desire to find out who the secret giver is. She said… “not knowing who it’s from allows me to just give God the glory… to express my thanks to Him and only Him.”
It’s true, even for the giver, you know.
When we give we must confess that there is some small, quiet part within us that desires acknowledgement for our generosity. But, when we give in secret that urge for recognition mysteriously ceases to exist.
Just as the recipient of the anonymous gift lifts up her most heartfelt gratitude to the Lord, the secret giver gets her richest blessings from Him and not from man.
Jesus tells us…
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” –Mathew 6:1-4 NLT
Have you experienced the sweet blessings that come from giving in secret? I confess it’s been awhile for me… I’m challenged to look for and grasp at the next opportunity He reveals to me. What about you?

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