Thursday, June 30, 2011
Now that she is in the toddler phase I am seeing how she mimics so many of the things we do. Seeing her copying things that she sees me doing is a gentle reminder that I want her to see me doing the right thing. I always want Christ to shine through my life and I definitely want my little girl to see Jesus through me. She already loves the Bible. She will see my Bible and go to it and say "Bible" and pick it up and flip through the pages. Even though she is too young to read it - it makes me happy to see her get excited to pick it up.
My little girl still has so many stages of life to go through....we are going through a stage of life until we pass away. One thing I definitely want her to learn is that as we grow up we need to continue growing in Christ also. I want her to see that for our relationship with Christ to grow we have to spend time with God, praying and studying His word. There are so many lessons to teach her over the next 16 years until she goes off to college and I just pray that God will guide both me and my husband in teaching her all that He wants her to learn through us. I pray that she will love Jesus with all her heart and live her life where people see Jesus in her.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
But.... they also reminded me that I am God's MASTERPIECE!
This blog is going to be very short, but I just wanted to remind each of you reading... that YOU are God's MASTERPIECE! We all have a past. Good or bad, who our family is, choices we made, where we grew up, and word's we have spoken. If we have regrets or things that embarrass us, it is easy to look over our shoulder and get "tripped up." It is easy to believe the lies that Satan might tell you, and think..."I am not good enough, or If they only knew.... would they accept me?"
I am here to remind myself and each of you that God love's you, has a plan and purpose for you, and you are His Masterpiece!
If a runner looks over their shoulder at where they have been or come from, it is a pretty sure thing that they will slow up, or even trip and fall, but if they run toward the goal, they will run swifter, and hopefully without tripping. When we look at our past, we can easily look at circumstances, but when we look to God's word, we can look at what He says, and be used, and filled with his goodness, grace and love.
Don't listen to the lies , but chose to listen to God's word. Be His MASTERPIECE!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This past week was our church's Vacation Bible School. However, rather than being on campus, we do our Bible School at people's houses. This is our second year in a row to do this, and this is my second year in a row to be a host home. Most people use their backyard for it, but my shade is better in the front, so we tend to stay there. We had about 20 children with us this week, and we had a great time! The kids were all ones I know (from church, school, soccer, dance, preschool), and we had a blast! All week long I had parents telling me how much the kids were learning and how they all said they were having so much fun. It was such a blessing to do, and I am grateful I said "yes."
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Learning important skills for the game, such as how to serve overhanded and to use a mean backhand are important if the girls are to be successful tennis players that have a lifelong love for the game. Even so, they are little girls and they inherited their Mama's sweet tooth. To be sure, Lily and Sofie were most excited to receive free ice cream for memorizing their Bible verse. During camp devotions throughout the week, the girls were challenged to "Rise Above" and...
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road the leads to destruction. And many people enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life and only a few will find it."-Matthew 7:13-14
Naturally, we practiced the verse a lot at home to earn that coveted Chik-fil-A ice cream certificate. And as we worked to memorize the words, I was challenged to plant the truth in my daughters' hearts. As we studied the words, we talked extensively about the crossroads before us in the road of life.
At some point, we all make a choice as to which gate we shall pass through. As a woman of faith, I pray my daughters and my son charge through the narrow gate. The world proclaims that it doesn't exist. And yet, God's Word tells us to enter through it. In a lie, straight from the pits of Hell, the world claims there are many ways to God. Still, the truth says there is only one... the narrow gate. It's marked, not by tolerance, but by the blood of Christ. While the world calls it foolishness, only the narrow gate leads to true redemption.
Today, my children walk the road of life with my husband and me. Hand in hand, we spend our days safe in the presence of our LORD. He goes before us and He has our back at the same time. But one day, not long from now, Jack, Lily and Sofie will choose their own path. There is no greater prayer for me as a mother than my desire to see my children "walk in truth."(3 John 1:4 NIV)) And I am aware that each day I am responsible to "train them up in the way they should go so that when they are older they shall not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) It's a responsibility I do not take lightly, as I understand, that for this, I am accountable to my Holy God.
Our journey has already begun and our days together are short. Therefore, as a woman of faith, I am challenged to live out and teach my kids about God's promises. As their mother, I must not fail to "teach them to (my) children, talking about them when (we) sit at home and when (we) walk along the road, when (we) lie down and when (we) get up." (Deuteronomy 11:19) I must not squander the fleeting moments I have with my kids. Instead, I must train their eyes to know the narrow gate for the world will surely hide it from them. The road of destruction will have many disguises. My children must "not forget the things (their) eyes have seen or let them slip from (their) heart(s) as long as (they) live."(Deuteronomy 4:9)
All the days of their lives, I pray my girls and my son continue to seek the narrow gate and walk the road that leads to life in Christ. As mankind continues to strive on the wide road of humanism, another path lies waiting for us all. Only with Christ can we truly "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God." (Micah 6:8 NIV) It's a life of restoration and it is found by walking through the narrow gate.
Monday, June 20, 2011
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."
I'm finding the need to remind myself of this at least once a day lately. Because...I like to plan things out and prepare for what may come. I like to know what I can do to make the next step easier and more successful for me and those around me. It really just seems like common sense to me...if I am going into the weekend...I check the calendar to see what is going to happen. If I am going somewhere for a long period of time...I make sure to pack snacks and a cup for the kids. If I am looking at a day of being home...I plan to spend some time in the backyard with the kids so they can get their "crazies" out.
I don't think that there is anything wrong with a lot of my planning. But, I do think that God has been trying to teach me a lesson when it comes to a different kind of planning. The kind where I think I have it all figured out. Our next step...our next child...our 5 year plan...10 year plan...retirement.
What I am REALLY learning is that...well...I just can't figure it all out. And I don't really think that God wants me to. He wants me to LEAN NOT TO MY OWN UNDERSTANDING. Which, to me, means...QUIT TRYING TO PLAN AND FIGURE IT ALL OUT.
Sure...God leads us to be responsible and to make good choices that will impact our future. And, of course, that is necessary and smart. But, I am starting to find great peace in the fact that I can take this life one day at a time and trust that (as long as I am living for Him) He is going to lead me down the path He wants.
He has shown me over and over that He is worthy of my trust and my time. And...to be honest...He is just much better at planning that I am! Now that I think about it...He is much better at EVERYTHING than I am. So...I give up! May your will - not mine - be done Lord!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
If I have a favorite thing to do, it most certainly is not waiting.
Waiting is atrocious. I think this is why I like to utilize technology so much. Think about it. If I can carry around an iPhone with me all day long, I virtually have to wait for NOTHING. No waiting in line at the pharmacy. No waiting in line to buy movie tickets. No waiting in traffic because the GPS function tells me where back-ups are. No waiting at the bookstore because I can just order a book from the Amazon app and have it delivered directly to my house. No waiting on international or local news because I can just check Twitter every 30 seconds or so and find out what’s going on somewhere, anywhere on the planet. AND no being put on hold at the pizza place because I can also just order my pizza from my favorite pizza place’s app! It’s FABULOUS!
So this world that I live in and consistently surround myself with conditions me to never have to wait….for anything…ever. So when I’m getting the signal in my spiritual life to “wait” I usually have a huge problem with that.
Waiting requires patience. Waiting requires not having the answer right away. Waiting requires faith and lots of it. I am so conditioned in my daily life to be able to “google” something and immediately find an answer to some question that I have, I get perturbed when I can’t just google answers to questions like, “Lord, who do I know who needs to know You?” “Lord, what does my future look like?” “Lord, why have You not given me what You’ve given other people that I know are no bigger or better Christians than I am?”
There are lessons in the waiting. And in the waiting, my faith builds. And builds. And gets stronger. And larger. Until my faith is something larger than me and my ego and any hardships that might come my way in my lifetime.
But until my faith expands to that large capacity, there are many lessons left to be learned in the waiting. The waiting doesn’t give me the answer, but God does. And when God wants me to wait, I will wait and trust and broadcast to everyone around me what God is teaching me in the waiting.
And I will trust that what I’m learning in the waiting might just be greater than that which I’m waiting for.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” — Genesis 12:1
Thursday, June 9, 2011
It's Saturday morning. You wake up, much too early after the late night spent packing (or enjoying your last few hours of technology) and drag yourself out of bed to get ready. You're in a daze, hoping you grabbed everything and attempting a facade of excitement, when really all you are is tired.
You get in the car, after dumping all your luggage in the back, and Mom backs out of the driveway. You're barely keeping your eyes open, halfheartedly carrying on a conversation, inside wondering, Why on earth did I ever sign up for this? I'm not sure anymore... You think about voicing your doubts, but then you're in the church parking lot and they're loading your stuff in a big white truck, and everyone else is putting on the same face you are and saying things like, "I'm so excited for this!" and "I can't wait to get there!" You laugh and commiserate about the early morning, trying to ignore that little voice inside of you that still isn't ready to go, and then before you know it you're on a crowded bus with forty-nine other tired kids, watching all your families in a circle praying for a safe journey, left behind as ten buses pull out of the parking lot. You say hi to your friends in the seat in front of you as you begin the three-hour journey to a camp experience you're not sure you're ready for.
This was my Saturday morning.
The bus ride takes forever-- and yet goes by so fast, you're not sure it really happened. You see new people everywhere, like that girl who's gonna be on your cross country team this fall, and that guy two rows back and across the aisle who your friend is convinced she's half in love with. You tried to sleep some, but no luck, and now there's no chance of sleep until (check your schedule) 11:30 tonight because there is the turnoff to CAMP WALK ON WATER-- AHEAD. Next, a huge crowd of kids (Grant soon informs you, 404) are milling around a wide field, looking for their dorms and luggage. You think you might have stood in this place another lifetime or so ago (last summer).
Everything becomes a blur; finding suitcases, unpacking, group picture on a steep hill, introductory rally, meeting family groups (OH the awkwardness. Am I really supposed to confide in these people?), lunch, swim test. The hottest cross country run you've ever been on, and you just want to quit, but you're the only girl running so you press on anyway. Your head is starting to pound from lack of water; your legs are so sore they don't want to move. And then, eventually, after dinner, when all you can think about is a shower and bed, it's time for worship.
You kind of know what to expect-- sit with your new family group, listen to someone speak, sing a few familiar songs with an unfamiliar band. But what you can't possibly have anticipated is introduced to you in two different names: Pat C. and Ryan Rives.
Ryan comes first, leading you (and 403 of your closest friends) in worship songs that touch your heart now and will later bring you to tears. Even tonight, you wake up a little more, focus just a little harder. You're not used to feeling this affected only seven hours into camp.
And then, Pat takes the stage, and your whole perspective changes. On camp, on life, on God. Everything.
He talks about how God can always bring you back to Him, how He is in control and always aware of everything. It's not your average Saturday night sermon; this is a deep and powerful message, delivered with passion and conviction, encouraging those who do not know Jesus as their Savior to make the most important decision of their lives.. not Monday night or even Tuesday.. but now.
Thirty-two new teens join the family of believers this night. You are in awe of God. But He's not even close to being done yet.
The next night, after a similar day of games and electives (What's the difference between heaven and hell?) and a very awkward first session of family groups, is the night you'll remember forever. It's the night where God calls, and you answer.
The message is about the difference between pledging and declaring, about faithfulness. At the beginning of worship, a short video is shown about people who have never heard the gospel shared in their own language hearing the story of Christ for the first time in their native tongue. The reactions of the children are humbling. Your heart seems to cry out, "THIS is what we need to be doing."
So, when Pat tells everyone that can hear God calling them to ministry to go to the back and talk to counselors, you stand up with about ninety-nine other teens and declare your allegiance to God by saying that you will follow His call anywhere.
In the next two days, you meet more new people and learn more and more about what you need to be doing to make good on your declaration. Your family group grows closer, the awkwardness dissipating as you all get to know each other and start to go deeper. You begin to understand that following God anywhere is a lifetime commitment...and you begin to realize just how long a lifetime is.
Monday night... Monday night is awe-inspiring. Where Saturday and Sunday have affected your mind and your decisions, Monday moves your heart to weep. Monday touches your heart and soul. Monday is when you feel God within you, when you are in awe of His glory and power, when you can see Him everywhere around you and know that He is your Creator and you are His, and He will never let you go. Monday breaks you and heals you, leaving a scar on your heart that won't ever go away.
You've been praying so hard for a friend for so many years, and Monday is when she finally comes up to you to say "My life is changed because of what you did for me." You break down completely, crying so hard, thanking God for working through you, mourning for all who are dear to you that just don't understand His importance and incredible sacrifice, praising God for being who He is.
Tuesday. The last day. Your eyes have been opened to what you need to do, your heart has been broken and healed. You have a deep conviction to follow through, but you're really scared that once you're back home, all this will fade like a half-remembered dream. You don't want it to leave; you want your life to be truly altered this time. You know it was real. You know the last song before you boarded the buses truly meant everything, when you raised up your arms, tears running down your face, and sang:
I'm running to your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world, forever reign
You wake up the next morning and open your Bible, reading through Philippians, taking notes on what God is saying to you. As you look back over what you've written ("God can use anyone and anything in His plans, even those things that appear to be bad." Phil 1:18; "Sacrifice for God. If you follow Christ, you will have to suffer for Him." Phil 1:29), you know He's only just beginning to work in your life.
This was my Wednesday morning...
Links: FBC McKinney Youthquake- http://www.youthquakerocks.com/
Pat Cammarata- http://www.thereismore.net/
Ryan Rives Band- http://www.facebook.com/theryanrivesband
Camp Walk on Water (WOW)- http://www.campwow.com/
Hillsong United, "Forever Reign"- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZ3KIXadMoY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Thursday, June 2, 2011
School is coming to an end which is always a sign that summer is just around the corner. This is the time to start making all your summer plans if you haven't already. Those with kids out of school for the summer are looking for things for them to do to keep them busy. One thing we should not forget this summer is to include God in our plans. What plans have you made with God for the summer? I know during the school year there are Bible Studies, Wednesday night church, and a million other things going on. But when summer comes so much of that comes to an end to.
Have you found a Summer Bible Study group to join? Maybe a book club?
This summer I have committed along with eleven other ladies to "Read The Bible In 90 Days". I am really looking forward to reading the whole Bible over the summer. We are on Day 2 and so far I am caught up!
There are so many things out there that you can do. If there is not a group in your area doing something why not start one yourself, you may be surprised how many ladies would join you.
I would love to hear some of the studies you all are doing or perhaps the book you have chosen to read over the summer.