Archive: October, 2011

Waiting for the Rain

 

A long time ago, God gave Elijah a vision. 

One he fought for and refused to second guess.

He prayed earnestly for rain. He asked God to restore a land scarred by a three and a half year drought. He even went so far as to tell Ahab and all the people to listen out for the torrential downpour God promised would come. Elijah was more concerned with honoring God, than he was about his own reputation: a reputation that would have been dragged through the mud had the rain passed them by.

I love what Elijah did next.

“He climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees,”(1 Kings 18:41). He found his patch of holy ground and waited for God to turn his world upside down.

In this moment, Elijah never actually looks at the sky. He never raises his head from a bowed position to see whether the clouds have precipitation potential. Instead, he instructs his servant, “Go and look toward the sea,” (v. 43). On the seventh time, the servant tells Elijah, “We have cloud formation!” Not a downpour by any means– just one small cloud hovering over the sea.

Elijah trusted God even when his surroundings didn’t match up to the vision.  

This is where I mess up. 

Maybe this is where you mess up to. 

I get distracted by a lack of confirmation, a lack of break-though. 

This steals my focus from the One who is a circumstance-changer, a faith builder.

Sometimes when God nudges my heart I expect a downpour, when God’s perfect plan may be only a small cloud. 

A cloud whose purpose is to build and test my faith until the rain comes.  

If we look at Elijah, things didn’t happen all at once for him either. Before sheets of rain plummeted towards the earth, there was only a drizzle.

While we wait for God’s vision to be realized in our lives, there are a couple of things to do. We must stand on our own Mount Carmel, look towards the sea, and trust the promise will come.

Part of our process may be a season of famine. It may be a time of clinging to the last thing God said to do. It may be moments stretched into months of keeping our heads buried between our knees. 

But rest assured the journey with all its twists and turns will be worth it… 

….when the rain comes 

….and it will come.

“God gives us the vision {dream}, then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision, and it is in the valley that so many of us faint and give way. Every vision will be made real if we have patience.”  

~Oswald Chambers

 

 Happy Halloween!

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Sudden Terror: A Repeat Incident

Heading to the pumpkin patch each Fall is an annual event for us as I am sure it is for most of you. However, I did not expect something that happened last year at the pumpkin patch to happen again this year. Below is a picture from LAST year of my son, Robbie, with a bee casually crawling on his hand…

And then there’s THIS year that is quite worse in my mommy opinion…

 

Yes, that is indeed a bee crawling on his lip. And just in case I wasn’t sure last year that he was not afraid I am now completely convinced that he is totally unconcerned about the sting that bees are capable of delivering! I however felt exactly the same as I did last year about the entire scene. So, in honor of this repeat incident I am re-posting what God revealed to me as a result of last years adventure…

Do not be afraid of sudden terror… (Proverbs 3:25)

…Be Still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

My husband told my son awhile back not to be afraid of bees. He instructed him to just stay calm and the bee would not bother him. I had to take a picture to keep myself busy because it took everything in my mommy blood to keep from batting that bee away. I watched in awe as Robbie stood motionless and completely unafraid. When the bee landed on him he peacefully observed it crawl around and eventually fly away.

Amazing.

Being from Texas I’ve had my fair share of surprise insect run-ins. As a kid I can’t tell you how many times super-sized, stealth-like, buzzing insects have launched an attack mission on pig-tailed, bike-pumping me. I’m no stranger to poisonous scorpions, spiders, fire ants, chiggers, mosquitoes, swarming wasps and of course bumblebees.

I’ve had a tick removed from my head with a match and… brace yourself… I’ve even flushed an unsuspecting, disgusting cockroach out of my ear with full-blast faucet water in the middle of the night.

Let me just say it for you…EWW… the thought of it still makes me cringe. I slept with earmuffs for a very long time after that and I am convinced that I suffer some mental instability due to that one incident!

Needless to say I really dislike all things buggy and especially all things stingy. To this day they still evoke sudden terror in me. I know… just bugs, but still I don’t like them.

But what about things that really threaten us? Unexpected things. Like…

losing your job or your home

unforeseen health problems

sudden or accidental death of a loved one

you fill in the blank… the list goes on and on

Life launches surprise attacks on us every day. Are you prepared to enter into the unpredictable and do what your heavenly Father instructs you to do? Can you be unafraid? Unmoved? Do you trust Him in the midst of sudden terror?

We know well that He is at work and that He will lead… but we must wait and see.

He’s proven to us that He is our comfort and our refuge in times of trouble… but we must stop and seek.

Because in our sudden terror when we wildly react in our own strength we often make matters worse.

When a bee lands on me I break into a crazy dance, arms flailing, body shaking and I scare the bee… provoking it to attack… I make it worse. He tells us to be still and unafraid for long enough to remember that He is God.

It’s a TRUST thing. A FAITH thing. It’s a GOD thing.

I want it all, don’t you?

By the way, this is my handsome bee charmer minus the bee…

Linking up today with Tracy for Winsome Wednesday, Internet Cafe Devotions for Word Filled WednesdayWomen Living Well and Women in the Word

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Gratitude in the Midst

So, it’s not something I ever thought I’d do, but I did it nonetheless.

Recently, I took some last straw blows, buckled in defeat and ducked out of the fight.

Emotional me shifted into self-protect mode and ran for quick refuge into the waiting arms of weariness.

And I hid there in that place, where in the moment, it felt safe.

Encouraging words rose up and surrounded me, but I did not want to hear.

And though it stings in the deep of me to type the words across the page… I did not want to hear Truth.

I wanted all hands off.

To be wounded.

To cry in the lap of weariness.

Alone.

Which meant an attempt at hiding from God too.

And we all know the questions asked like sweet promises in Psalm 139…

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?

No where.

And what a beautiful, lovely, God-thing that is.

Because He just does not relent.

He does not give up on the pursuit of me.

My love for Him soars to the highest places for that life-giving, pit-lifting Truth.

I breathed David’s Psalm 139 fears…

Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,

But just as David knew, I also know…

even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.

And just ask David asked, I also ask…

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Heart-clensing questions for heart-searching me.

He is answering.

I am listening again.

And finding gratitude in the midst…

175. this home

176. husband who works so hard for us

177. husband who rises early and prays on His knees

178. break-through conversations

179. uncovering resentment and seeing hope

180. being so painfully introspective

181. new curtains

182. having the pumpkin patch to ourselves on a school day

183. great fall pictures

184. carving pumpkins with daddy

185. darling daughters first piano recital

186. celebrating 75 years with father-in-law

187. friends who pray

188. Kelli, who worries and waits and it makes me cry, but who loves me through my messes

189. accidents that could have been worse

190. not seeing the light, but knowing it’s ahead because You are Sovereign

191. embracing Your perspective

192. the way You rescue

193. the way You forgive

194. the way You love

195. how I Love You… because that is from You too

Counting with Ann at A Holy Experience and linking up with Lindsay for Messy Mondays and Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesday!

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Flawed to Freed

If you have kids, you know how it feels to have your flaws magnified.

Samantha: “Mama, what’s wrong with your legs? Why do you have big purple veins everywhere?”

Savanna: “Mama, what’s wrong with your hinny? There’s a really big dent in it?

Those kinds of comments can spin a girl for a loop. Seriously though, if we could shower or sit on the toilet without an audience, then maybe we could avoid comments such as these.

Ahem and Amen

There are many different types of flaws. Whether or not we care to admit it, we all have a few… defects, blemishes, shortcomings, imperfections. Things we don’t discuss over a double whip mocha-chino.

But, whoever said imperfection was a bad thing? Somewhere along the way we bought an overpriced lie. One that told us perfect was the only acceptable way to be.

The Bible says Jesus knew a thing or two about imperfect people. In fact, He hung out with them. Jesus ate with them, walked with them, and taught them. He poured his ministry into those who were labeled by society as: flawed, desperate, diseased, and broken.

I love how Jesus loved the prostitutes, tax collectors, and those scarred by disease and physical limitations.

I can only image how the leper felt when Jesus touched an untouchable person. I wonder what the prostitute had to say when Jesus only wanted to talk with her, instead of use her. What the tax collector must have thought when Jesus did nothing but give while behind closed doors he was a habitual taker.

What a beautiful testimony of how Jesus takes our defective lives and makes them effective!

I love the way Tim Keller puts it: “I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.”

Chained

Sweet sisters, we don’t have to be chained to our shortcomings anymore. Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our flaws make us humble. They make us desperate for Jesus. Jesus gives himself to those who realize their need for Him.

Freed

Christ came to free us from the kind of bondage that threatens us daily. Romans “5:8 tells us, “God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Even though we are unworthy, we are daughters of the One who is worthy. When we confess our failures and admit our need for Jesus, the Truth will always set us free.

Restored

When we embrace Christ, the chains of blemishes and brokenness fall to the floor. Jesus is enough. His grace is sufficient. We are free in Him.

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Beyond A Gondola Ride

I remember the juices rising in my stomach the moment my husband said, “Let’s take the Gondola to the top of the mountain!” Fear and nerves press firmly against my shoulders. My palms suddenly begin to sweat.

There’s nothing fancy-schmancy about it. It looks like a rinky-dink contraption that may or may not actually reach the top.

I scan high above the trees to check out the open-air death trap. I take a large gulp. I feel dizzy and sick to my stomach, at first. A small one-person-chair elevates off the ground hoisting folks to the top of the island. I hear it’s beautiful, but I’m not so sure I’m willing to take the risk.

My husband and I stand together, our hands cup the sun from our eyes. I look on in horror. He looks on with excitement.

Despite my fear, I get on anyway. The small chair suspends us as we glide across a tiny cable. The cable makes weird clanky noises. My legs begin to dangle. I close my eyes tightly. I cling to the metal bar across my lap for dear life.

I hear him in front of me saying, “Look, you’re missing it. Open your eyes!”  

I decide to open my eyes half-way to the top. I gaze to the ground. There’s no safety net. No second chances. If I fall, it’s over

We finally reach our destination but the chair doesn’t stop. Not only is the lift frightening but now I’m required to jump from it? Are you kidding me?

The island of Capri, Italy’s mountain top is breathtaking.

We stand arm and arm, alone with our thoughts.

Something in me begins to stir.

I realize this kind of fear isn’t what God wants for us. 

God doesn’t want us to back away from uncomfortable moments. 

He doesn’t want us to be so timid that we refuse to risk it all. 

He doesn’t want us to miss the scenery on the way up either—there are lessons to learn

As believers, we aren’t supposed to live our lives afraid to soar. 

We weren’t created to be anxious about jumping into the unknown. 

We aren’t supposed to get an upset stomach every time God calls us to do something out of the ordinary. 

God wants us to live fully for Him in every moment, every second. He so desires for us to experience his goodness squeezed into every crack and crevice of our lives. 

He longs for us to snatch a glimpse of eternity so when we reach the top, He gets the glory. 

I want this for us today. 

I want us to live life unafraid, secure, and engaged…. For this is the kind of life God set apart for us.

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Wading While Waiting

 

I sit at my desk fidgeting through an old journal. It’s nothing fancy, it would seem, except I’ve had it for years. When opened, the binder cracks and the pages crackle. The crackle is probably a result from my titanic-like struggles and the sea of tears that followed.

Hidden inside the pores of every page are emotions and thoughts recorded like a novel of sorts. As I flip the pages, my mind catches between desperate images — images of a girl desperate for Jesus.

I fold back another page and something catches my eye. The words written in hurried cursive, “Take away my embittered heart, Lord. It’s hard for me to wait on you.” I want to say to you, “Besides you God, I desire nothing on this earth,” but honestly, I desire not to wait anymore.”

If we peel away the layers of our soul, way down to the core, we will find something in common.

We’ve all experienced waiting periods—a stronghold that seems to choke the spiritual joy out of our lives.

We wait for test results,

for a new job, 

for that pregnancy,

for prince charming (who sometimes seems to have gotten lost).

I find solace in knowing I’m not the only one who has been frustrated in the wait. Sometimes I wonder… maybe the reason we wait is because somewhere along the way we got a little ahead of God.

This may sound weird, but, I like to revisit my waiting periods and the fickleness of my words.

I can see how far I’ve come. I see how long He carried me. I recognize spiritual markers flagging themselves in my journal. I sense where I fell and where he dusted me off; where I lost my footing and how He set me on my feet again (for the bazillionth time).

I don’t know what tough things you’ve been through or are currently going through in your life, but I do know we’ll never reach the promise land without going through the desert first. I know first-hand that on the outer banks of wait is an unspeakable joy ready to calm and absorb you.

In the meantime if you find yourself waiting, I pray the following Truths will provide courage to actively, not passively, wait on God (the way it did for me). 

~Psalm 46:10 “Know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”

~Psalm 33:20, “We wait for the LORD; He is our help and shield.”

~Psalm 37:34, “34 Wait for the LORD and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.  You will watch when the wicked are destroyed.”

~Isaiah 40:31, “31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Lord, my heart waits silently for you, my deliverance comes from you, my trust is only in you.

Amen.
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This is Your Reminder

 

Ladies, we’re being watched you know.

It’s true.

The women in our lives are looking into the window of our lives to see what we will do. They’re getting answers to their questions about us and about God…

Is she really who she claims to be?

Does it show in the way she’s loving her children?

Is it apparent in the way she honors her husband?

Is God being glorified in every-single-decision she makes?

We’re responsible. Not for perfection, no… but for action, yes.

To that new believer whose watching to see if we humbly and joyfully submit to our husbands requests. To the teenage babysitters peeking in to see if we are content and peace-filled as we work in our homes. And to our nieces and daughters who desperately need to witness us following Jesus down every road.

Like it or not they’re watching.

And we just might be that example that tells the story of what being God’s girl is all about. When we say that all important YES to Jesus we’re taking on this job, this Titus-Two responsibility to uphold the women in our lives.

It’s a big job.

It’s your real life reality show and you’re the star! Are you acting the part? Take your cues from the Master and Director of the universe!

THIS IS YOUR REMINDER: They’re watching and so is He.

Represent Jesus to the women in your life!

Linking up today with Tracy for Winsome Wednesday, Internet Cafe Devotions for Word Filled Wednesday, Women Living Well and Women in the Word

 

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That we may know Him

 

How wise and wonderful God is to have created us with the ability enjoy life to its fullest through our five senses.

Our eyes allow us to visually take in abundant beauty all around us. Our ears grant us the joy of hearing the voices of our loved ones. Taste gives us the ability to decide what we enjoy eating the most. Sense of smell alerts us to danger and lures us in to all kinds of things that make us happy. And of course there is touch… the most marvelous sense of all… holding hands, hugging, comforting, loving… they all bring such blessings into our lives. Infuse all of the five senses together and our experiences transform into the ultimate.

But isn’t it interesting that He did not give us these extraordinary physical senses to allow us to experience Him?

We cannot “really” see Him, hear Him, touch Him, taste Him or smell Him. The very things that make anything substantial to us He did not give us to know Him better.

I remember that is the one thing that kept me away from God before He beckoned me in. I thought there is no physical evidence of His existence.  How wrong I was!

What I realize today is while our senses are a fantastic gift on earth He didn’t want us to sense Him in those ways because He is unlike anything else in this world. He would never want us to compare Him to anything earthly, so to sense Him at all would have to come in a way that is completely beyond us.

The senses required to know God are only within the reach of those who love Him. And even for us they begin in one place and grow deeper with time and the intensity of our relationship with Him.

Our Spiritual senses give us the capacity to understand, know and feel God.

Our Spiritual eyes see Him in everything… working for us and with us. Our spiritual ears hear His calling on our hearts and in our minds.  It’s our Spirit within that breathes Him in to taste and smell His goodness. And to touch Him we must reach deep into our soul with our Spiritual fingers to feel Him there comforting, pursuing and loving us.

The five senses are a gift that He gives to everyone. But Spiritual senses… they are an offering from the Lover to the Beloved. They’re special. Reserved for the benefit of knowing His presence in a way that makes Him more real to us than anything else.

Awesome.

“I Keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His imcomparably great power for us who believe.”

Ephesians 1:17-19

Linking up with Shanda for On Your Heart Tuesday and Jen for Soli Deo Gloria

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Event Photos

What a blessing to have Mary Jo Sharp here in Reno! She is an amazing speaker. The Lord has blessed her with a desire to pursue knowledge and wisdom to support the truth about Christianity and her mission is to pass that information on to us. We don’t mean to, but we often become so defensive in conversation with unbelievers because we are so passionate about what we believe and we are so desperate for them to understand. What ends up happening though is we inadvertently push them further away from wanting to understand our truth. If we are empowered with firm biblical knowledge about what we believe and why then we can defend the faith in a much more productive and effective way. I am so inspired. Check out Mary Jo Sharp at Confident Christianity.

Here are some photos from this weekends event…

Heidi, Mary Jo and Kelli

Faithful volunteers: Melissa and Michelle

Kelli, Lorna and Heidi

Kelli and Heidi

We’re so grateful for all of the volunteers that helped us put this together… especially our sweet friends Lorna and Reesa from the Nevada Baptist Convention. They were sent to us directly from heaven!  We are praying that the women who attended this weekend we’re just as blessed as we were. God is so good all the time.

Counting on with Ann...

157. living 40 minutes from Tahoe

158. our family condo in Incline Village

159. rollerskating at Northstar

160. husband who takes care of me when I’m sick

161. prayers of sweet friends

162. antibiotics

163. all the pieces coming together

164. Mary Jo Sharp

165. a successful event

166. friend who surprises me and watches my kids all afternoon (love you Traci)

167. BBQ chopped chicken salad from Claim Jumper:)

168. husbands safety while traveling

169. rest

170. the pain of embarrassment and how it humbles me

171. how You affirm me

172. your grace

173. who I am in You

174. how You love me
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Mary Jo Sharp Event Is Here: 10.7.11 – 10.8.11

We want to invite YOU to join Mothers On Mission (M.O.M.) for our Women’s Event with Mary Jo Sharp called “Getting to the Truth of the Matter,” Friday night (7:30 pm- 8:30 pm) at My Favorite Muffin in dowtown Reno and Saturday (10:00 am-11:00 am) at Rita Cannon Elementary School. Friday night we will be discussing Why we need Truth in our life. On Saturday we will discuss, If we are believers, then why don’t our lives look different?

It’s totally not a bribe or anything, but the above gifts, will be given away at our conference!

Scarlett is modeling for you this evening the MOM tote and “Christian Chick” cup that we will be giving away…

Samantha is modeling the super cute MOM t-shirt that says, “I am glad to be a Christian mom.”

We have been very busy organizing this event just for YOU.

We have checked off the list and we are ready to go!

Hope to see y’all there!:)

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