Monthly Archives: September 2013

Now, I Understand

When I met Mark, he lived in upstate New York.  I lived in Arkansas.  My mother seemed to be on edge the entire time we were in the long distance relationship.  I can remember when I boarded the airplane for New York for the very first time.  My mother stood at the gate window (it is so hard to believe we used to could do that!) looking at the airplane crying.  I watched her bury her face in dad’s shoulder.

I knew why she was crying.  But it wasn’t until just last night I truly understood.

Mom was anxious….. not because I was in this relationship, nor because she was afraid of me traveling to New York…… No.  It was because life was changing.  She knew that there was a possibility that I could move away.  She saw in her mind the picture of her children living in far away places.  Once she realized Mark was moving to Arkansas, her nerves settled down…. somewhat.

Now that I think about it…… when my little brother went away for college, mom reacted the same way.

((sigh))

I get it now.

Because.  Last night, we sat down for dinner together as a family.  It has been a long while since we have done so.  Between exercise classes, band practices, Bible studies, kids both staying over friends’ houses, and any other activity that interferes with dinner time, we haven’t had much time around the table.  But last night, we sat together sharing our day with each other and enjoying the company.

I missed it.  I missed sitting around the table talking.  Used to when the evenings got crazy we picked up the slack at breakfast.  But, with one teenager and one almost teen, pretty much the only conversation at 6am is nothing but tribal grunts.

((sigh))

It was last night that I realized that in the near future things were about to really change.  My daughter will be wanting to get a job, to go away for college, and eventually move out permanently.  And by the time I adjust to that change, my son will be following big sister’s footsteps.

I understand, now.  I get it.  Because I remember when I was my daughter’s age, I started working, going to college, and preparing to move out on my own.  Mom faced the same exact changes I am now staring down.  As a kid, we had dinner together every night and when we couldn’t we had breakfast.  Then it changed.

And if mom was here today, I bet she would tell me that it wasn’t just the fact change was happening but worry if whether or not she and dad had prepared me to leave the nest.  Because, that is what I am worrying over now.

Have I really prepared my soon to be adult children to face the “real world?”  Proverbs 22:6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  Training children.  Hmmmm…..

I think it means a whole lot more than doing the chores around the house, learning to cook, and to have good work ethics.  Training entails how to have great interpersonal skills, a love for family, and how to respect others.  It is done by example.  In Bible times, the training involved learning God’s love, practicing it, and modeling it.  In fact, Deuteronomy 6:4-7 states, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

I see evidence of training especially in my daughter since she is the oldest and closest to leaving the nest.  She tells potential prospects for boyfriends that she is old fashioned and wants her family to get to know them before she will commit to dating.  She requests others to respect her by not cussing around her.  She paints canvases with her favorite Bible verses.  She enjoys going to church.  She has never had to be told to go.  She understands the importance of worship and studying the Bible along with Chemistry, History, and English.  Hopefully, my son will follow her lead when the time comes.

So, I guess training has got to take on a new shape.  Mark and I have taught the values now we have to train how to put them into everyday practice.  Soon my children will be facing choices that are of this world and will be making their own personal decisions as to what to do with those choices.  The shift in training will take form as we make the most of family time together…… and to have Jesus right smack dab in the middle of it.  Now is the time for us to teach how to love God with our hearts, minds, and souls.  It is time to teach how to make decisions by involving God. It is modeling how to have a real meaningful relationship with God.

I don’t want to feel anxious like mom.  I want to show my kids how to lean on God during times of change by leaning on God, myself.  I don’t want to be the freaked out mom when conflict arises.  I want to be the mom who prays and then deals with the conflict with confidence.

I guess….. I am banking on Proverbs 22:6.

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As For Me and My Family

When Mark and I decided to get married, we didn’t really even think about going to church.  We thought of Sunday as a day to do laundry and watch football.  It wasn’t until we had children that the thought actually came across our minds.  But it was only a thought that briefly entered and then exited our minds.

Until….

My daddy fell ill.  I had already lost mom to cancer.  Daddy had a clot that turned into exploding clots and on that fateful night, I was told he wasn’t going to make it three separate times.  That is when I fell on my knees and made a promise to do whatever God wanted if He would spare me from being an orphan.

He did spare daddy.  And daddy wanted us to go to church on his first Sunday out of the hospital to say thank you.  So we did.  And we haven’t looked back.

My children are growing up in a church home with such wonderful caring people.  They have Christian mentors and are active in their youth groups.  But, going to church is just one small part of the big picture.  I understand that now.  Our family must live out our beliefs.  We are to be an active part of the Church body.

So, choices have to be made…..

Like long ago in Joshua’s time, around 1400 BC, God’s people had taken over a new land and began to build their lives in the midst of a country full of gods.  They began to collect idols and to worship other gods.  They began to turn from their loyalty to God.  Joshua made it clear that they people had to make a choice….. God or the gods.  They couldn’t have both.

Likewise, today, we are living in a world full of “gods”.  Money, power, a big house, the perfect career, the biggest and baddest SUV……. you get the picture.  But the moment we accept Christ, we have pledged our loyalty to Him.  All of our attention should be centered on Him.  Every thought and action should be about or for Him.  To worship God isn’t a choice to make lightly or just for the feeling of the “Jesus High”….. To worship God means to fully engulf yourself in Him, His word, and to follow Him.

Worship isn’t just something done on Sundays at church.  It is a 24/7, 365 deal.  What we do, say, or even hang on our walls should reflect Jesus Christ in order to be a form of worship.

((sigh))

It is hard to do.  We are only human.  But, that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to continue to do what we do…….  Maybe it should be a motivator to do better.

So when Joshua said, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”, it came with a warning within his tone.  He was making it loud and clear that serving God and others simultaneously isn’t wise.

So what to do??

First step is to rethink your thinking.  Your eyes are the windows to your soul.  If you watch inappropriate shows, choose to watch something much tamer.  If you read trashy romance novels or demonic gore, choose to read Christian authors.  If you decorate your dorm room with the posters of women/men baring it all or with “American Idols” who support an unwholesome lifestyle, choose to remove them and add Bible Verse art.

Next, redo what your doing.  Your actions reflect your gods.  If you cuss, choose not to.  If you are quick to anger, choose to find calmer alternatives.  If you eat without praying, choose to pray over each meal.  If hit or push, choose to hug.  If you distract yourself from other people with technology, choose to interact.

Then, find a church family that will keep you honest and on track.  Make going to church and being involved a priority.  Don’t give yourself an out.  If you must, think of it as if you are going to work….. something you must do in order to live.  It has to be a priority.  Once it is, then you learn and grow into a true Christ-follower.

This isn’t an overnight deal.  It is a work in progress.  If you mess up, forget, or skip out ask for forgiveness and pick up right where you were.

It is a choice….. as simple as it may sound.

Happy Anniversary!!

Like the changes??

I do.  Mark is so creative!  I gave him the Bible verse and he ran with it!!  I am truly blessed!

Over the years, I have tried to inspire others while I stepped out in all honesty to bare my soul.  Like every situation, a resurrection occurs.  And that is where this new direction is going.  For the past two years, I lived and wrote under the notion of Isaiah 41:13.

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

This is especially true as of last November when I decided to uncover my eating disorder.  I held tight onto God’s hand and He has helped.  Although, some posts were raw and very emotional, healing has occurred.  Trust me, I am still living under Isaiah 41:13 but it is time for me to inspire others to live under the words of Joshua:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Over the next two years, we will gather in the living room and learn how to intentionally live our lives as servants.  We’ll find ourselves in the kitchen cooking up simple, economical, and natural meals.  We can sit at the dining room table and discover family meal times the perfect time to honor the Lord we serve.  In the craft room, we will create projects that uplifts God’s name and to economically create gifts and home decor.  We just might go out on the lawn to demonstrate our service.  No matter where we gather in this house, we will be centering on the Lord.

If anything, that is what the last two years has taught me…….  To center my thoughts on serving the Lord.  And I am excited to share exactly that!

Happy Anniversary!  It has taken me 4, yes, 4 years to reach this point.  Ahem….. stepping in real honesty here…….  Ahem, see, I can honestly say that I am terrible at math…. that’s why I taught English!  See for days now, I have told folks I had been blogging for 6 years.  How stupid did I feel when I realized it was really 4!!!  See, every 2 years I change the format….. this is the third format…. 2 x 3 = 6…….Ahem, see how my brain works???  Happy 4th!!

The 7 Hour Results

So, the 7 day of 7 hourly prayer time is over.

I’m gonna be completely honest here…….  The first three days were a real blessing.  I prayed on time and without hesitation.  I prayed in the most unusual places like the car wash.  And at times I got a nudge from God, Himself, to sit back and really realize my not-so-good behaviors.

For example:  I got to talking…… ahem….. more like gossiping.  And then…. my timer went off.  I went into prayer mode and was reminded of what I was just doing.  Ouch.  I had to make amends and to ask for forgiveness.

I saw a couple of prayers answered.  Such a blessing to see that happen.  There were a few moments where I felt “forgiven.”  Honestly felt…. forgiveness.  I was at peace.  I enjoyed the time.

In fact, one time, I was feeling a little sour.  I was complaining and moaning about one thing or another.  Then it was time to pray.  It was 6pm and I had to read Psalm 150…..

Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

It was at that moment I realized exactly what God was trying to tell me.  Praise God for the very things I was grumbling about.  I praised Him for dirty dishes…. because we have them and food to dirty them up with.  I praised Him for puppies…… although they tear up almost everything in sight they do bring such happiness and love.  I praised Him for my kids…… yeah, they sometimes make me want to go all crazed-Mom on them when they don’t pick up their things….. but they are healthy, strong, and wonderful kids who are the greatest gift God has ever given and that deserves some praise!!

Yep, God had a way of speaking to me……

And then….

Distractions happened.  The first distraction happened on Thursday at noon.  I couldn’t get away from the circulation desk at work to find my quiet spot.  And it was 3pm when I realized I missed it.  Then I had my little rebellion moment.  I was watching TV and didn’t want to leave the show to pray.  Told you.  Honest.  I am ashamed to admit it but I chose Big Brother over God.  Sounds even more horrible now that I confessed.  Once the slippery slope of distraction made its way into my mind, schedule, and rebellion, it was impossible for me to keep up.  Then Sunday, I realized I hadn’t prayed in a day.  I just sat there thinking how God must feel.

Satan must have sat back and enjoyed the show.

Now that I am baring my soul….. I feel defeated and deflated.  It bothers me to no end to think I let God down, yet again.

((Sigh))

Lord, I ask right now for your forgiveness.  I failed.  I allowed Satan to distract me.  I followed the flesh.  Lord, You are a loving and forgiving God.  I praise You for Jesus.  Without Him, I would be lost in that world of distraction.  Thank You.  I am grateful for Your forgiveness…. Amen

I feel better.  God is good!

First Day

Well, this morning, I was fired up!  Ready to get “Prayin’!”

Yep, it is around 11pm.  I am up awaiting my first midnight prayer.  This really should be an interesting talk with God.  I’m tired.  Wore out from the HIT class….. Hitting the workout at SUMC.  I’m sore from head to toe.  Worse….. I’m oxygen deprived.

Yep, God is going to get a chuckle out of this upcoming prayer.

First of all, only me would play a Muppet song, “Mahna, Mahna,” as the alarm for prayer.  No Mercy Me.  No Chris Tomlin.  Nope the Muppets.  But it worked.  I heard it each and every time.

I had already warned my supervisors of this adventure.  So, when “Mahna, Mahna” started playing, I just smiled and found a quiet corner to pray.  I had an index card in my pocket with a list of prayer requests.  I started my work day asking if anyone had a prayer request that I could lift up for them.  So, by now, the card is completely full.

It felt good taking a moment to be with my Lord.  I praised Him.  I honored Him.  And I made a few requests of Him.

Okay.  Want to know something funny.  Or at least I think it is funny.  I decided to get a car wash after pumping gas.  I punched in the car wash code and got the signal to proceed.  I get in the wash, put it in park and watched the soapy water cover my windshield.

Mahna. Mahna.

I smiled to myself.  Pulled out my Bible began my 3pm Psalm and prayer.  I held my index card recited the names.  I caressed my Bible with such love and admiration.  It is so beautiful to hold God’s Word.

Then.

HONK!!!!

I had not realized the car wash was over and there was someone waiting for me to leave.  Well, most importantly…..  I sat there and finished my prayer.  Saying a quick prayer for patience to be given to the driver of that really nice truck.

Sigh…..

Like I said…. Only me!!

I hope you are enjoying your challenge.  And you know what….  it is never too late to join me in this challenge!!  Click here for more information…….

May God bless you.