Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thoughts on my birthday...

I am so thankful that I have been blessed to live in this world for 41 years.  My prayer to my Father is that I have many more healthy years to come.

I truly am surprised by where I am in life.

I am a wife to a wonderful man.  He blesses my life every day in so many ways.  God has given us a strong marriage.  We have had more than our share of storms, but through each one, God has shown His faithfulness to us.  And through these times, our love, passion, marriage and relationship with God has grown stronger. 

I am a mother to seven children.  Four came from my body, three are part of my heart.  I am beyond blessed to be called "mom" by Sheila, Shawn, Macaylin, Amy, Caden, Caleb, and Cayla.  My love for you seven goes beyond anything I could ever put into words.  I treasure every moment we share.  My prayer has always been, and will continue to be, that you will all find your way to salvation and serve God always.  There is nothing in this world more important.

I am a mother in law to Daniel and Caitlin.  I am thankful that my oldest two children have found someone to share life with.  Love each other.  Grow together.  Depend on each other.  Never let the world around you, divide you.  Marriage is sweeter, the longer you stick it out!  Believe it or not, some of the really tough times, will yield the sweetest memories.

I am a grandmother.  (That is still really hard to say.)  I would love to spend more time with my first grandchild, Taven.  But his daddy serves our country in the Army.  So pictures have to do the job for now.  He of course is beyond handsome!

I am a daughter.  I have the privilege of still having only two parents.  Although I know there have been times my parents have been less than blissfully happy, yet they have always purposed to stay together.   They love each other.  They have been good parents to me and I am blessed.  They will never know how much they mean to me and how much they have touched my life.  I also have some really great in-laws.  You really do marry a family.  I love my in-laws very much!  (After all, they are the reason I have an amazing husband.)

My most important role, is as a daughter of the Most High God.  My life would be nothing with out Him.  Every day, every breath, every moment He has been with me.  Sometimes waiting on me to make my mistakes, in order to realize how much I really  need Him.  Sometimes, He is just holding me in His arms and loving me.  I love the relationship I am in with Him now.  Every day, I am growing more and more.  He is leading me into places of ministry.  I am discovering my purpose, and how to minister to those in my realm.  If at the end of my life, I can say I used everything He gave me... I will feel as though I have done my best.

If I could haven given myself advice years ago, this is what I would share:

Time goes quickly, even if you think it doesn't.  Don't wish your life away.
Seek the Lord, in everything.  You will never make the wrong choices if you do.

See yourself as God does.  Do not let the opinions of others hold you back from you destiny.

Wait for the right man.  There may be fifty in your sight, but if He is not who God has for you, it is a waste of time and energy and yourself.  Don't give the special moments in life to just anyone.  Waiting may be a horrifying thought, but when HE comes... you will be so glad you did.

Appreciate and stay close to your family.  Friends are great, and they are needed, but no one takes the place of your family.  

On the subject of friends.... make good choices.  You are known by your company, like it or not.  Those who pour into your life will shape your future.  

Believe God, Trust God, Seek God, Serve God, Give Everything to God.... No one loves you like He does!  No one!  

I am so very excited to see what God is going to do in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.  It's only  just beginning! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Recommendations

If you want your spiritual life S T R E T C H E D, I have a few books to recommend!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lets start from the beginning....

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

Last year an amazing man and leader from our church became very ill.  He was diagnosed with a rare disease called Wegener's Disease.  He became so ill, his family and the church were told he would not make it.  But our God is bigger, and He showed up!  A year later, he is doing well, looks great, has a huge testimony.... but his kidneys do not function. 

You would never know that this man is sick.  Regardless of how he feels or what is happening at the time, he has a smile on his face, continues his work at church, and ministers to people daily! 

The only thing seemingly wrong, is his kidneys do not work and he is in need of a transplant.

I personally think I attend one of the greatest churches on the planet, LifeChurch Birmingham.  There are so many incredible people there, and we are a family.  I've been blessed so often by those in the church, and I hope that I am somehow a blessing in return.

Unknown to most, another awesome young man went through the process to see if he could be a donor.  Miraculously he was!  Weeks went by, plans began to be made, then little by little the "word" was out.  Amazing man B was getting a kidney from Amazing man M!  Isn't God just amazing!!!

Well, in our morning service yesterday, God's presence was tangible.  We had prayer for both of these men, just moments before they left for the hospital.  Oh what peace and joy and hope was there.  You could just feel it!

Pastor Tim used the scripture from John 15:13 as he spoke about what these men.

I know that for most of us, giving an organ isn't going to be what we are called to do.  And to actually lose our life completely for a friend, probably isn't either.  But, how many of us have the love or grace to actually live this out.  How do we "lay down" our lives:  prayer, taking care of children, preparing meals for sick, teaching someone a skill?  My goal, after witnessing such immeasurable giving.... is to give more of my life. 

God, show me how and when and where and to whom, I can offer my life for the good of another.  Show me how to be someone "life changing" to another.  I know it is only done through You and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for the witness of these amazing men in our church.  Thank you for a church body who constantly gives.  You are the ultimate Giver of all things.  I love You.

Friday, February 17, 2012

He Has Plans

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."     Jeremiah 29:11

As a mother, this has long been part of my prayers for my child.  I've prayed, inserting every name of every one of my seven children in this verse.  I have prayed it for every child for as long as they have been a part of my life.

It is very easy to "believe" these words and rejoice over them when they are young and easily led by me and their dad.  When they soak in every word, ever scripture, ever church service, and so on, it is easy to see what God is doing and where His plans may be taking them.

But it is much harder, when your children are older teens, and young adults, and are making their own choices.  Over the years God has given  promises and purpose for my children.  (Heaven's I even write them down!)  I have seen in dreams and in answered prayers, paths that God made so open for them.  Yet, when they make choices, against what "I" believe God has shown me, and even what a child has once shared with me about following God's voice, it become harder to believe this promise.

I know from my own life, that God had a specific purpose for my life.  I chose to walk away from that road.  I made my own choices, knowing I was out of God's plan, or at least making excuses for not following it.  And I so desperately want and wanted my children to glean something from my honesty in doing so.... but.....

However, I am so thankful for a merciful and loving God, that patiently waits on His child to "wake up".  Sometimes that may mean waking up in a "pig pen", much like the prodigals' son.  But when we do finally come to our senses that we made a mess of things........... how amazing, how wonderful, how full of grace our God is to wipe us off and give us a new plan and a new purpose.

I see my life now, and although there are bumps in my road, that were formed from my past, the scenery is beautiful.  The joy of the plan and purpose God is even TODAY, still working in my life, causes me to stand in AWE of how much He loves me.

I guess, my Daddy God, feels much like I do....  FRUSTRATED!  Ahhh, but I love my children still... and just like Daddy God... I will be here when they "wake up".

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Never know when the "crazies" are coming...

... but they seem to have found my household again.  Isn't it good to know that God already knew what was about to happen, and prepared my heart and soul with such peace.  I know that God always has His "eyes" on me.  Nothing happens outside of His plan for my life. 

I have been reading a book called Warrior Chicks the past few weeks.  Little did I know that the message of that book was working inside of me, preparing for another small storm to come in my life.  My husband is an amazing man, but he has lived for years in severe pain.  There is never a moment when he doesn't hurt to some degree.  The past year has been the worst we have faced together yet!  So surgery was done on his back this week. 

I am not a "panic" type person anyway.  I'm thankful that I have strength, that strength comes from my Savior.  But when someone you know and love is going through the "fire", then strength is always needed in a extra measure.  I'm so amazed that God prepares our way, working in us, moving us, growing us... even though we do not know why.

There is an old song that I still hear in my heart when troubles and trials come... and it is just perfect for these days I'm in the middle of.

His strength is perfect, when our strength is gone.
He'll carry us when we can not carry on. 
Raised in His power, the weak become strong. 
His strength is perfect.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Who will I be?

GodChicks:  "Really in the midst of a tough time, we have two choices.  We can be a WHINER, or we can be a WARRIOR.  I am not sure there is much middle ground.  Whiners are the ones who collapse under pressure and then get mad at God for the trial.  These are the ones who, when they get knocked down by life, stay there.  And if you happen to try to help them, they give all sorts of reasons as to why your suggestions won't work."

I admit, I have been a WHINER before.  Oh yes, I sure have.  And no, I am not proud of it.

In the past, I have been hit square in the face with issues of "life".  I'll be honest.  I sat down and wallowed in it.  Why? Why me?  Why my family?  God, it's not fair?  How can YOU let this happen to me?  Oh my goodness.... how pitiful I was.  And just like in the quote above, loving sisters attempted to help me, but nothing was a good suggestion.  I just wanted to wallow in it all!

Thank you Jesus, that I have learned to be a WARRIOR!  I still have times when "life" hits me and hits me hard!  But I have learned how to arm myself and cloth myself with what God has given me, in order to fight and keep going.

Sometimes I see the battle coming, and sometimes I am blind sided.  But daily, I do my best to get up, and put on my armor and pick up my shield and sword and be ready for battle.  I CHOOSE to put on my Breastplate of Righteousness, my Belt of Truth and Shoes of Peace (what girl doesn't like shoes).  I shine my Shield of Faith and sharpen my Sword of the Spirit.  I do what all I possibly can in order to be ready!

One other weapon I have, that I have not always used or valued in the past is my WARRIOR SISTERS.  I have learned that having a few people who are able to wage war on your behalf is vastly important for winning wars.  When my pace begins to slow and my arm tires of striking with  my sword, I have warriors beside me who can help lift my arms and quicken my march.  We lean on each other and we strengthen each other.  No one wants to go into war alone... of course not, we want an army with us!

Do you have your armor on?  Ephesians 6 says: "14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the word of God."

Be prepared my sister!  We have everything we need!  It has all been provided for us, we just have to choose to put it on!  Go to war!  We will prevail!