Thursday, December 27, 2012

I am Resolved

The Christmas presents are unwrapped. The Christmas treats are (mostly) eaten. And I'm thinking about putting away the decorations today. We had a blessed Christmas. So many small moments of wonder and beauty. I hope you can take the time to reflect on your Advent season and remember the many ways God smiled on you.

Now in a few days, we will ring in the New Year. I swore off making New Year's resolutions several years ago, but there is something about a New Year that prompts me to consider changes I want to make in my life.

Last year at this time, I thought I knew what 2012 would hold. I thought I had a plan (Oh, how God must laugh at mere mortals making plans!). Let's just say, it was a different year than I anticipated. And many of my plans simply were not meant to be. We have had challenge after challenge this year, but with those challenges, I have seen and experienced amazing growth in our faith in God, in our confidence that "All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose," Romans 8:28. We have held on to that verse these last few months and will continue to cling to it.

So, as I look to 2013, I lay my plans at the cross. I confess that I will accomplish nothing without God's strength and direction. I place my life, my family, my goals in his hands and will choose to dwell in the shelter of his wing. I have just one resolution this year. I am resolved to follow the Savior, Faithful and true each day; Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth, He is the living Way.

I am Resolved words by Palmer Hartsough

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.

I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.


I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.


I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.


I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.


I am resolved, and who will go with me? Come, friends, without delay.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mary Christmas

I know many of you may still be rushing around in a panic trying to make things perfect for your family this Christmas.  I have had my share of craziness in trying to get prepared for this Christmas as well.  It is not always easy with church activities, end of school exams/parties/get togethers, making sure all of the gifts are bought and wrapped, work parties, and whatever else might get thrown on your plate.  As women, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to try and make everything picture perfect.
The truth is, God doesn't want perfection, He wants YOU!  He wants your time.  He wants your heart.  He wants your focus.  He doesn't care if you have 3 different choices for desserts.  He doesn't care if the floor doesn't get vacuumed one more time.  He doesn't care if your family's outfits all match.  He cares that you remember that He is the reason for all the celebration.
If you remember, Jesus came to Mary and Martha's house.  Martha did like most of us would do - cleaned, cooked, hosted the visitors.  Then she got frustrated because Mary was not helping her.  Mary, however, was not concerned about all of those things.  She sat close to Jesus, gave Him her complete focus and her time, and listened to Him.  That is all Jesus wanted from her.
So as we finish up what we NEED to do (not want we WANT to get done), make one of those things spending some extra time focusing on Jesus.  Sit with your children for a while.  Read from the Bible together.  Focus on what God would have you do this Christmas.  And have a Mary Christmas!

Image credit: google images

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas without Lights?

It's Christmastime. Carols and presents. Crazy elves and visits to Santa. Garlands and wreaths. Ornaments on trees with lots of sparkly lights.

Except at my house. No tree lights. No Christmas candles. And definitely no driving at night to look at Christmas lights on houses. It's so strange.

See, my oldest child has migraines. He has had a constant headache since the beginning of November. And while the severity has lessened, one of the worst triggers is flickering light. He will even react if a TV show has flashing or flickering lights. Flourescent lights? Forgetaboutit.

So we have adapted. We just don't do Christmas lights. Actually, we don't turn on many lights in the house at all.

An amazing thing has happened this Advent despite the lack of twinkling lights this season. There is a light shining brighter than ever before in my kids. JESUS.

We have an elf that visits our house each year. Every day he brings a Scripture card with him, so that we are reading through the Christmas story a little each day. His surprises for the kids each day often point to Jesus. Spelling I love Jesus in blocks. Rearranging the Nativity scene. Opening Bibles to the Christmas story.

We also have a jar that a kid opens each day that contains 2 strips of paper. One is a name of Jesus. We have daily conversations about what the different names mean. The second piece asks the child to do something kind for one of his/her siblings. P1 said this is his favorite new tradition.

At night, we read Christmas stories. At least one of them is about Jesus. We talk again and again about why Jesus came. P2 tells me, "God came as baby Jesus. He grew up and loved people. He died on the cross to wash away our sins. And rose again so we can go to Heaven." He is so close to truly understanding God's amazing grace. I know the Holy Spirit is moving in his heart.

After stories, we sing Christmas hymns instead of our usual lullabies. A few nights ago, after singing Joy to the World, Sweet P said, "I want to sing my own song," and sang the most precious song about God coming to us as a baby because he loves us so much. My heart was glowing.

I said, "Oh, that was so beautiful. I know God loved hearing your song. I bet he is teaching the angels your song right now."

"No, Momma," she said. "I learned it from the angels. I heard them singing it."

Oh, I thought I would melt right there. The Light is shining bright in the hearts of my kids. So bright that I don't miss those twinkling lights at all.

John 1:5,9

5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

Hope you have a Merry Light-filled Christmas!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

God With Us

Reading: Psalm 46

Key Verse: "How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy as we enter God’s presence."---1 Thessalonians 3:9 (NLV)

Confession time... I am a Facebook junkie! I find the mindless downtime to be an entertaining distraction from the structured activity of my day. I especially love the "insightful" quizzes that reveal everything from what your favorite color says about your relationships to which dessert best describes your personality. (By the way, mine is chocolate.) Perhaps one of the most humorous quizzes I have taken was in regards to my name. After answering five seemingly unrelated questions, I found out my name was all wrong. Who knew? Too bad my parents didn't know about Facebook when they were choosing the perfect name for their precious baby girl.

Even without the help of Facebook, God reveals much to us in The Word through His many names as well. My personal favorite is Immanuel. Though the name usually conjures up visions of sugar cookies and Christmas carols, I find so much more significance when I consider it's meaning. Immanuel...God With Us. In all we do. Wherever we go. Whatever we face. God is with us! It's a promise.

God is there as we confront uncertainty, doubt, and despair. Indeed, there is not a moment in this journey called life when He is not with us, for the LORD is "an ever-present help in trouble." (vs. 2) We are assured that we are not alone for "God is our refuge and strength." (vs. 1) Fear need not cripple the saints, for "The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." (vs 7) Doubt cannot confound us if only we choose to bear witness to the glorious "works of the LORD." (vs. 8) Truly,we need only place our trust securely in Him, as we commit to "be still, and know that I am God." (vs. 10)

God is with us in all things. He is with us right now, this very moment. He will be with us in all our days to come. And in His presence, we can be sure He is FOR us as well. Nothing happens in our lives outside His sovereign control. Therefore, circumstances, no matter how troubling, cannot separate us from His love. For He is Immanuel, and His very name promises we do not go alone.

Heavenly Father,
You are with us...Hallelujah! Nothing can separate us from your gracious hand. You weep with us in our tears and hold us tight in our failures. You rejoice with us in triumph and sit with us in our silence. You are always near, always here. You are with us. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Wanna Be Like Mom

My oldest will be nine next month.  She is a little firecracker--tough and athletic while also tender and caring.  A few months ago, she mentioned that she wanted to get her hair cut like mine.  I keep my hair short and even have it shaved some in the back.  My hair is really thick and the texture is not the same as hers, and I haven't felt like the look would work for her.

The time she first asked, I told her no and she opted for a shorter do than normal but still longer than mine.  She then wanted to grow it out for a few months before deciding last night that she once again wanted to go short.  "I want my hair like yours.  I want to be like you."  I told her she was welcome to cut it short again but that I still didn't think she could do my cut.

When she got it cut today, she sat in the chair and told her hairdresser that she wanted it like mine.  Both her stylist and I agreed that it probably wasn't the right cut for her yet, but we compromised with a similar style that is just a little longer (and does not involve any shaving).

Why am I telling you this?  And what in the world does it have to do with God?  This is the women's ministry blog, right?....  Well, I'm telling you because I can't stop thinking about how she wants to be like me.  She wants to wear clothes like me (she loved to wear similar maxi dresses this summer); she wants her hair like mine.  It's easy to see the desire to be like me as cute (or maybe even annoying), but I keep seeing something more.

If she wants to be like me on the outside, then, chances are, she's becoming a lot like me on the inside.  My actions, my attitude, my relationship with Christ are all being shown to her in the day to day living, and she is becoming like me.  Part of me has known this from the day she was born, but it is something I still find overwhelming at times.

As she becomes like me, who is she becoming?  Is she becoming selfish? hot headed? gracious? judgmental?  welcoming? kind? like Jesus?

Somehow it's easier for me to see the things that need changing in me and take them lightly when I see only how it affects me.  But when I see its ripple effect--how it trickles into my children's lives, my husband's life, even my Facebook friends' lives, then it wakes me up.  I don't want my sins to be carried into the next generation.  I don't want people to look at me and see me.  And I don't want my children to look at me and want to be like me.  I want them to see Jesus, and I want them to want to be like Him.

(I know, I know, that doesn't change the hair cut....But, maybe it will change me....)

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Life Lessons in the Christmas Tree

Oh, I know today is Thanksgiving, but I kinda figured you'd all be too busy to read Stitches on Thanksgiving Day. By the time you get around to this, you'll be in full on Christmas mode. For the record, I have so much for which to be thankful. It would take pages to write out everything. Perhaps most of all, this year I am thankful for God's strength in my weakness, for God's joy in my sorrow, for God's peace in my storm.

On to the Christmas tree ...

Our house has a beautiful curved stairway that just called for a giant Christmas tree, so my mom graciously gave us a 12' tree as a housewarming gift our first year here. I start assembling the tree early- to mid-November because it takes me at least a week to get all the branches straightened and fluffed. My kids get crazy impatient waiting on me to finish it, and I no sooner put the top piece in place than P2 comes toting the big bucket of plastic ornaments that the little kids are allowed to hang.

Last year, I didn't care that much and didn't properly fluff out the individual sprigs of fake greenery. It was harder to find good places to hang ornaments, and while a 12' tree is impressive, I could tell it was a bit of a mess. So this year, I was determined to do the best job ever at straightening, aligning, and fluffing this tree. I would "take my time and do it right," as the kind Mr. Rogers used to encourage us on his t.v. show.

As I worked on this tree, I quickly realized this was an analogy of working on my children's character. A picture of how we as parents work to straighten out character traits and align our children's moral fibers as we try to grow them into God-honoring, Christ-loving adults. Here are some lessons I learned while working on this tree.

1. Start at the bottom. I can do a better job on this tree when I start with only the base piece in place and take the branches one layer at a time. Same goes with the kids. To build their character, we start with basics when they are young kids. Show kindness. Share with others. Be loving. Start with the basics and build up.

2. One branch at a time. It is easiest to straighten up the branches and sprigs when I work on one branch at a time, rather than getting lost in the task of the entire tree. On a branch, I start with the sprigs on the inside, closest to the trunk. That sets a great pattern to fluff the sprigs most visible on the outside of the tree. How true is this with kids? First, when teaching big life lessons, it's so much easier to deal with one at a time. Young kids especially can't deal with too much information at a time. Simple instructions make lessons that stick. Second, handling the deep inner character naturally spills out to what is seen on the outside. Remember the tongue reveals what is in the heart.

3. Sometimes I mess up. Our tree has 5 parts. They used to be labeled A-E (and oddly enough, the top piece was A, even though that was the last piece to add.). The tags have long since disappeared, so I just have to use my eyes to figure it out. I got the first two right, but then put on layer B before layer C. I worked on it several minutes before I recognized the error. And when I tried to fix it, it was difficult to remove layer B. And so with the kids, I am an imperfect human parent. I may try my best, but I will mess up. It's not easy training up kids with godly character. It may even be difficult to undo the mess I made, but with God's strength, grace, and wisdom, I will continue striving toward that goal.

4. Sometimes I miss one. Every now and then I step back to look at the tree and discover a whole branch that isn't straightened. Did I completely miss it or did someone come by and push it out of alignment? Both happen when shaping my kids' character. Sometimes I've missed something. I didn't realize I needed to specifically say, "Don't use your middle finger to point to things." Yes, that really was an issue at my house. Sometimes outside forces influence my kids and push them off track. A friend not raised with our standards may tempt my child. I have to act quickly to straighten things out again.

5. It can be painful. My arms are all scratched up from reaching into prickly branches. Ouch. Shaping a child's character can be so painful sometimes, too. The one time P1 tried to sneak money to buy ice cream from the ice cream truck when we has said no just about broke my heart ... flat out defiance and stealing? Clearly, we needed to do some serious reshaping of his character. That time we went straight to Scripture and had him write out the 10 Commandments and identify which ones he had ignored.

6. The higher branches are harder. On a 12' tree, there comes a time when my arms just can't reach, and my arms are sore from trying to reach as high as I can. I need help. Enter my knight in shining armor, i.e. my very tall husband with a very tall ladder. I am so grateful I am not trying to shape our children's character alone. Tim and I rely on God's wisdom, lots of prayer, and the godly heritage in which we were raised to help us in this task. We are also surrounded by amazing Christ-loving friends who stand along side us. It really does take a village. I'm so thankful for ours.

7. You're never really done. Well, the tree is up now, and mostly, the branches are straight and fluffy. I still walk by and redirect an errant branch. And next year, I will start the task all over again. Shaping my children's character is not a task I will ever finish. As they grow older, I will hopefully, prayerfully shift from a role of instruction to a role of influence. I will always be praying for my kids. I will always be their mom, wanting them to offer God their very best.

Blessings, friends! May you fully enjoy this Advent season!

Friday, November 16, 2012


I've told this story to several of y'all recently, but a friend of mine encouraged me to tell it here just one more time!

Several years back, my friend Margaret* and I met up for dinner. She had recently moved about a bazillion miles away... okay, okay, so maybe that's a slight over exaggeration. She moved from McKinney to North Fort Worth. But it felt like a bazillion miles away.

So, we met-up in Lewisville for a night of catching up. I was so excited to have a break from my mothering duties AND getting to see one of my bffs. It promised to be a night of belly-aching laughter.

Needless to say, I was so not excited when a woman came in with a young child, and they were seated directly next to us. And I really wasn't happy when said child began, promptly and continuously, to scream and carry-on. and on. and on. and on. And she didn't even look like she cared a flying-flip!!!

I mean... COME. ON. This was my one break! Throw me a bone already!

And when my friend Margaret went to the restroom, I just... looked at that woman (admittedly, I probably had a bit of scorn in my eyes) and that screaming child. And then I decided that when Margaret got back to the table that she and I would play our "Probably" game... but this time, with a twist.
BACKGROUND: What IS The Probably Game?

Margaret and I have played "The Probably Game" since I can remember. Honestly, we originally started it to "lessen" people who, in our minds, appeared perfect. I know that makes us sound like... well, like the kind of girls that no one would want to be friends with... but is more than likely because both of us tend to hide our insecurities under a veil of humor. But, here is one of my first memories of an example of "The Probably Game":

Margaret went with me to the Acura car dealership because I had fallen hopelessly in love with their RSX and my other car had been obliterated by a woman from Georgia in a mini-van (but that's a story for another day). Anyway, there was this guy at the Acura dealership who was all dressed up in his rich-boy finery and was there to test-drive an Acura NSX (a car that, at the time, went for roughly ninety-grand... wait, sorry... the words just aren't as powerful as the actual number... $90,000... for a car. for a college kid. Seriously... just LOOK at all those zeros!!!)

So, Margaret and I, in a state of half-jealously and half-disdain made up a scenario for this young bloke: "Probably... he is the heir to a fortune made entirely off of the sales of toilet paper, and probably he has no friends (which is precisely why he is buying this car) and probably in two years we'll see him begging under the bridge at Harry Hines with that NSX as his only companion."

I know, I know... not super nice, but really it was more funny to us than anything. But anyway, back to our dear friend at the restaurant with the screaming child...

When Margaret got back to the table, I motioned my eyes over at the woman and said, "Probably... probably her husband was deployed to Afghanistan and he has been there for six months. Probably, her dad sent her a gift card to this restaurant because he had it laying around the house and he doesn't like to go out to eat since his divorce, and probably this is the first time that she has had a meal cooked for her and served to her by someone else in the past half-year."

Margaret, of course, picked up immediately... "Probably... her child has an ear infection in both ears and has been screaming all week. Probably, she has an appointment with the pediatrician tomorrow and she won't be able to pay because all of their money is wrapped up in paying for their house payment."

And for the rest of the evening, every time we heard that baby cry. every time she looked apathetic to the screaming in her ear. every time the waiter filled up her iced tea. every time... we looked over at her in empathy. When the baby would scream, yet again, we often remarked to each other, in our oblivious "probably" state, how much we appreciated what the troops were doing overseas.

Soooo, yeah, we made all of that up. I mean... who knows, maybe it was true. But we were just guessing at things that probably would make us feel understanding, empathetic, considerate... instead of annoyed, judgmental, and condescending.

And in the time that has followed that dinner-out, I have used "The Probably Game" hundreds of times... mostly to help me identify with someone that might otherwise annoy me, or anger me, or hurt me. And it works. so. well. And I have just recently come to understand that it works because I am trying, in my human way, to tap into the way that Jesus sees people. For example, the woman at the well (John 4:6-30,39-42)... Jesus knew her situation... He knew that she had been with a whole bunch of guys. He knew that she was hurting. He even knew what had gotten her into that situation.

Yeah, but newsflash... I'm not Jesus. I don't know what is going through. I don't know where they have been. I don't know who has hurt them. abused them. slandered them. teased them. And since I don't know sometimes it's so difficult to feel empathy and compassion... so that's where "The Probably Game" comes into play in my life and hopefully in your life. It gives me the empathy and compassion of Christ where there was none.

You should probably try it. It will probably work. It will probably help Him... to help you... to help them.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
And, if you want to practice, feel free to come up with a "Probably..." for why I am late (again) with my post! Some of you might actually hit the nail right on the head! Ha!

*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. Hehe!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Christmas all year round

Yeaaa!  The first radio stations are playing Christmas music!!  Honestly, we have been looking for Christmas songs every day since listening to the XM Halloween station.  (Did you happen to catch that one  - it was soundtracks to old scary movies.  Lots of witches cackling, squeaky doors, wolves howling - pretty hilarious to listen to while driving through carpool!)  So, now it's official.  On November 13th, XM has started playing Christmas music on at least two stations.  And, I'm sure that the local stations are not far behind as it seems like it starts earlier and earlier each year.  I'm certain that some of you probably think that it is too early.  But, I am one of those "Christmas Nerds" who love to sing along with Christmas carols no matter what the time of year is.  I am always sad and depressed when the songs disappear from the radio waves on December 26th.  Couldn't we have just a few more days of "Deck the Halls and "Silent Night"?  Does Christmas have to be dictated by the calendar, only celebrating the season between Black Friday and New Year's Day?  Shouldn't we as Christians celebrate Christmas all year long? 

Now, that I start thinking about it and why I love Christmas songs so much, here is what I've decided:  Christmas songs just plain make it easier to get into the Christmas Spirit.  So, why not celebrate that the songs are playing on the radio earlier and earlier each year?  Why complain that the stores are getting out Christmas decorations even before Halloween and that Thanksgiving is being overshadowed by Christmas?  If we are honest with ourselves, it shouldn't take songs and decorations to make us in the mood for Christmas.  We should be celebrating the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ every day.  But, the reality is that we just plain get too busy to celebrate Christmas all year long.  Life too often gets in the way - school, sports, vacations, hobbies, etc. etc. etc. 

So, the next time you hear "Joy to the World" or "Jingle Bells", don't sigh and think"Not already!"  Smile, hum along and see if your mood doesn't improve.  And, don't forget to say a prayer of thanks for the real reason behind all of these songs. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's Time To Soar

Last week, as I drove to pick up my daughter from a playdate, I saw a hot air balloon. Granted, this is a frequent treat for McKinney residents, as we often see these colorful delights floating gracefully through the sky. Still, this one, in particular, grabbed my attention as it was so close it seemed I could almost jump in the basket and hitch a ride.

 I turned into a neighborhood and saw the basket clumsily brushing against trees along the roadside. Clearly, the pilot was still learning how to maneuver the balloon. Still, before long, it was soaring through the clear blue sky. How I wanted to ride along!

Since then, as days have passed,  I have frequently thought of that moment. I think it is because it is a bit how I feel right now. I suspect I am not alone. You see, I long to soar for God.

 It seems every day, new dreams awaken in my heart. God-sized dreams. They are aspirations for which I am not qualified. Most of them both terrify and excite me at the same time. They seem utterly ridiculous! In fact, the world would surely laugh if I spoke them out loud. Yet I know they are from God, as my desires only grow stronger with prayer.  I want to soar.

We are told to "humble yourself under God's mighty hand that He might lift you up in due time". (1 Peter 5:6) It is wisdom that contradicts the "can do" attitude of our culture. Human nature speaks boldly to our ego and pushes us to act in our own strength. On the other hand, Christ persuades us to look to the LORD and trust Him to equip us for the journey ahead. By His power alone, we shall soar to heights we would never see on our own.

Some of us are resting.
And some, like me, are waiting for take off.
Others...they are soaring.

The LORD sees it all and gives us a cloud of witnesses to cheer us on in our journey.

Our world is broken. Our problems are real. It might seem as though our faith is crashing against the burdens of this life. But all is not lost if we place ourselves under Christ. God made us in his image and put us here, in this time and place, for His glory. Let's dare to use our God given gifts and talents in a lost world for Christ's sake. For if the Church would rise up, the world will surely see our beautiful Savior and experience His grace. It's time to soar!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I went away for the weekend.  And it was AWESOME.  I slept until my body woke me up.  I laid in bed and read at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I waited until dinner was ready and ate what someone else made for me.  It was blissful.  And was over!  In the blink of an eye...I was back home and was cooking for the family.  Running around to put things in place.  Looking at the laundry my husband "did" while I was gone.  And I found myself having to be reminded of the peaceful renewal I had experienced just hours prior.
But...the truth is...I need renewal every day.  You see...renewal doesn't only happen when I am away.  It can happen in the moments too.  The moments my little ones smile at me from across the room.  The moment I take a deep breath when I lay in bed at night.  When I get in the car after dropping a kid off at school.  These moments are times where I can recharge - however brief it may be.
I think what I like most about time away is the uninterrupted time alone with God.  It has become such a rarity these days.  And I really just crave it.  Even when I am home...time alone seems to be filled with tasks or thoughts or "stuff".  But, I CAN MAKE it happen at home too.  I CAN be sure to make it priority.  And I will.  I need it.  My family needs it.  And He deserves it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Worth the Wait

"God's perfect timing is worth the wait."  I heard these words today at a Bible study, and no words could be a better picture to me of adoption.  At no time before have I had to endure such a wait for something.  Though I've read in the Bible about those who waited years and even decades (or more!) for God's promise to be fulfilled, that hadn't been the case for me--until God started us on the road to our next child.  We officially began our journey to our daughter in August 2010.  Exactly two years later, August 2012, we received our long-awaited call with our referral where we were matched to our little girl.  We were given pictures, medical records, and her known history.  And suddenly, the prayers of the last two years were visibly connected (for me) to the precious child God had known all along.  No longer did it feel like my prayers were in vain as it occasionally had during the wait.  Now I knew her face, her smile, her past.  In that moment, I also knew and saw God's perfect timing as He matched us to her.

After the referral was given, the courts closed for almost two months (as they do each year).  We felt good about even this time because it was time we knew we needed.  As courts reopened 3 weeks ago, we began to get excited as it meant our process would begin to move again.  And then, a week ago, we learned that a paper was not signed in-country, and we therefore had not been submitted to court.  We also learned that a new medical form is required on all of the children, so that also has to be done before we can receive a court date.  Upon learning this news, I began asking the Lord, "Why?"  I thought I had figured out His timing and His plan, and suddenly it wasn't lining up the way I thought.  I didn't understand.  Fear began to creep in and doubts surrounded me.  But, in that doubt, God used His people and His Word to comfort me.  And I began to rest in that comfort.  My sorrow turned to acceptance as I remembered that God was indeed still on His throne and in control of even this.

Today as I was reminded that His timing is worth the wait, my eyes were opened to the joys He has surrounded me with during the wait.  I have been blessed with a group of 15 women in my Bible study group who I just adore.  I could name at least 30 people who have prayed for my daughter-to-be in the past week.  I have been able to be involved with my biological children's school this fall.  I can clearly see how the Lord has placed me in the midst of all that I'm involved in, and His timing is indeed perfect.  I'm reminded that walking with God is not me running ahead or lagging behind; it is a constant walk with the Lord--and that walk can include weariness, slowing down, and, yes, even speeding up.  The walk might not always seem fun, and I might not always see where I'm going.  I might not even like the path He chooses...but the One I'm walking with knows the way, and He knows the best way to take to get there, too.

I haven't seen the end of this journey yet.  We still have documents that need submitted and then 2 trips to Ethiopia before our daughter is home.  But, I can still declare with full confidence, "God's perfect timing is worth the wait."  

What is it you are waiting for?  The job you need in order to pay your bills?  The baby you so badly desire?  The love of a father you've never known?  The joy of a good day after countless bad ones?  Whatever it is, will you give it to the Lord?  I know it's hard, and some days it seems impossible, but He is worthy of your trust.  He is good, and He is true.  And His timing?  It's perfect....

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.  Psalm 130:5

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pass on your Blessings

I received the following several years ago and have kept in on my refrigerator ever since.  There are years when I am more committed to this than others, but it is always a good reminder of what we so often take for granted.  So, as we head into November later this week and begin focusing on all we have to be thankful for, I thought some of you might appreciate having a way to help your kids understand exactly what we do have and some additional things to be thankful for.

Once a day for the next 30 days, place an offering in a box.  During December, you can give the gift to missions.
Day 1 - One our of 5 American children live in poverty, lacking adequate clothing.  Give 2 cents for each pair of socks your child has.  Day 2 - Are you thankful for the blessing of electricity? Give 2 cents for each light bulb in your house.  Day 3 - Would you rather live in the dim light of candles?  Be thankful for them too. Give 2 cents for each candle in your house.  Day 4 - Most of the world's population lives beyond the reach of medical care.  Give 10 cents for each box of Band-Aids in your house.  Give an extra dime if they are not skin-colored.  Day 5 - Are you thankful you have a roof and doors to keep our the wind and rain?  Give 10 cents for every exterior door your house has.  Day 6 - Are you thankful for your clothes? Give a nickel for every closet in your house.  Day 7 - Are you glad you have indoor plumbing?  Give 5 cents for every roll of toilet paper in your house.  Day 8 - To people in refugee camps, even a thin sliver of soap is precious.  give 5 cents for each bar of soap in your house.  Give 10 cents for each container of pump soap.  Day 9 - Think of something nice you can do for a poor family in your community and do it today.  Maybe give some boxed food to the Food Bank.  If you can't, put a dollar in the box and be exceedingly grateful for all of your own blessings.  Day 10 - Do you walk to your town to get a bucket of water for washing, drinking, bathing, and cooking?  Or are you blessed with faucets that bring precious water to you?  Give 10 cents for each faucet.  Day 11 - How did you get clean today? Give 10 cents if you took a bath and 20 cents if you took a shower.  Day 12 - Most of the world is starving while Americans biggest concern is being overweight!  Put in 1 cent for each pound your mother and father thinks that they are overweight.  Day 13 - What a blessing to be able to see and have eye doctors to help us!  Put in 10 cents for each pair of glasses your family members wear.  Day 14 - Many people in the world are blind and do not have doctors to help them.  Give 5 cents for each person in your house that wears contact lenses.  Day 15 - Jesus loved the little children.  Give thanks, and 10 cents for every child in your family.  Do a secret good deed for each one of them today.  Day 16 - How would you like to live in your car as some families have to do?  Give 10 cents for every car in your family.  Day 17 - What if you lived on the streets?  Give thanks for your home and give 5 cents for every pillow in your house.  Day 18 - Epidemics often follow natural disasters.  Give thanks if no one in your house has been too sick this month to go to work or school, and give 50 cents.  Day 19 - The comfort of a clean bed is an undreamed of luxury for millions of the world's poor people.  give 5 cents for each bed in your house.  Day 20 - Did a cozy blanket cover you last night?  Give a penny for for every blanket in your home.  Day 21 - Was it cold enough to wear a coat today?  Give a penny for every coat in your house.  Day 22 - In some countries of the world, most of the people can't read.  Put in a penny for each children's book in your home. Day 23 - By now, you have bought some Christmas presents for friends and family members.  Give a penny for each present bought and give thanks to God for love.  Day 24 - Most of the world's population has never seen a grocery store.  Instead they scratch out their sustenance with primitive tools.  Give 5 cents for every garden tool in your garage.  Day 25 - Most people in the work cook over an open fire.  Aren't you glad your parents didn't send you out to chop wood this morning?  Give 5 cents for every burner on your stove and 5 cents for every oven.  Day 26 - Aren't you glad you have people that love and think about you?  Put in 5 cents for each grandparent, aunt and uncle.  Day 27 - Jesus was born and died for you!  Put in 10 cents for each family member who has received Jesus as their personal Savior.  Day 28 - Unfortunately this is the time of the year in which many people suffer loss in house fires.  Give 10 cents for every phone from which you can call 911 in the case of an emergency.  Day 29 - Many people suffer excruciating pain from the lack of dental care.  Give 5 cents for each toothbrush in your house.  Day 30 - Do you have a pet? Many people in the world can't even feed themselves, let alone a pet.  Give 25 cents for your pet.  If you live on a farm and have any other animals, give a penny for each additional animal.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Worshiping God in all Circumstances ... even a headache

You may think that the women that post on Stitches are just a random assortment of ladies, who write their random thoughts once a month, with no clear direction or message. Look a little closer. God is weaving a beautiful tapestry of lessons and stories. Often within a few days or weeks, there are multiple entries that follow a theme. That's not by accident, but by God's great design. He is speaking through this precious blog. I encourage you to subscribe, so you can see how God is speaking here.

I say that because I had a story to share about the need to worship God in all things, to focus our prayers on worshiping and praising the Almighty. Before I start writing, I go back and read previous posts. Thanks to this busy life of motherhood, I don't always read them the day they are posted. As I read, I realized my story is really just a furthering of a point January was just making in her post. We must have worship-centered prayers. But be warned, we have an enemy that does not want us to do this. The enemy is quite content for us to stay with our comfortable, need/request-centered prayers that truly can be focused on self rather than God.

Background: Since Sunday night, my oldest son has had a headache, a mean, painful, laughs at Tylenol and Motrin headache. I picked him up early from school Monday. He missed Tuesday and Wednesday. And now, Thursday, I am just waiting for the call from the nurse to ring. He has a history of migraines and severe sinus/allergy issues. The pediatrician thinks these are working together with this changing weather system to cause P1's headache. It has ranged in pain level from 2 to 8. Level 7/8 has him in tears and basically bed-ridden.

Tuesday night as P1 was trying to go to sleep and still struggling with the pain, I encouraged him in the most painful moments to stop and pray, worshiping God, thanking Him for all the blessings. P1 was quiet for a moment, as if he was doing just that, and then said, "I just can't. It makes it hurt more." I didn't address it but prayed over him and with him. Eventually, he drifted off to sleep.

Wednesday morning, he was determined to get to school. I hit him with the arsenal of medications. His headache was as a level 4. We loaded in the car. I decided to take him late because, honestly, the noise of the 6th grade trombone and tuba sectional would not have helped his headache. We took his sister on to preschool first, and as we headed to the middle school, P1 gripped his head and started crying ... level 7. He would not be going to school today.

As we drove home, I felt pressed to encourage him again to pray in praises and worship in the worst pain moments. He paused and again gave me the same answer, "I just can't. It makes it hurt worse." I knew if something is blocking him from praising God it needed to be bound up in the Name of Jesus and cast away. I started to say this to him but before I could say, "Jesus," P1 interrupted me. I tried three more times to instruct him in this and every time before the Name of Jesus could come out of my mouth, he interrupted me.

I raised my voice and said:
            [P1], I am not yelling at you. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I am binding you, evil spirit, and casting you away from [P1] and out of this car. God is our fortress or refuge. You have no strength or power here. You cannot prevent us from praising our Lord and Savior. Our God is a Mighty God and we are sheltered under His Wing.

P1 visibly relaxed. I sang a worship song the rest of the drive home. His headache did not miraculously go away, but that was not the point. He will, we will thank God in all circumstances. We will worship our God and praise His name. No one, nothing can stop us.

Psalm 91

English Standard Version (ESV)

My Refuge and My Fortress

91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge[b]
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Passionate Prayer

A couple of months ago during the summer, one of our youth ministry associates (I think that's her title) asked me to master teach in the middle school youth on Sunday morning. Well, if you've met me, it probably won't surprise you that I love to be on stage and I love to talk… and both of those loves are easily fulfilled in teaching to our youth. So, of course, I accepted! And then I asked if there was a topic on which I should speak. Ooooo, I was hoping for something good and juicy… gossip, or drinking, or sex, drugs, and rock and roll! Ya know, a topic where I could whip out some good ol' fire and brimstone passed down from my Southern Baptist preacher grandfather. But when her text came back that my topic would be prayer, well, I was a little disappointed.

Ohhhhh, prayer. Ummmmmm, oh, okay. Prayer. Yeahhhhhhhh. Cool. Yeah, that's cool… cause you know, I like… pray… and stuff.


How was I supposed to teach middle school kids about prayer for 40 MINUTES?!?!

Well, I won't tell you the whole story in detail (although I am having to restrain myself from doing so because I do so lovvvvvve to tell overly detailed stories!), but in essence, I came up with something to teach that I'm pretty sure mainly just revealed that I knew very, very little about prayer.

But that started me doing some introspection… I was thinking: I am a good Christian. I love Jesus. I read my bible. But I just… don't pray. Well, I do the whole "pray continually" thing (and somedays that is as good as it's gonna get), but even on days where I have time, I don't sit down and pour out my heart to God.

What am I supposed to say? What am I supposed to ask for? Or not ask for? Am I asking for too much? Does it really, REALLY make a difference if I pray? Does God change His plans based on what I pray?

So, I found that the "formula" that I used to use in teaching reading tended to apply to other things as well: "If you want to learn how to read, then you have to start reading." And in this case, I said to myself, "If you want to learn how to pray, start praying."

I began by getting out a cute little lime green journal my mother bought me and I "agreed" to journal pray (lest my thoughts get lost in space as usual) for fifteen minutes every day after I get my sons down for their nap. I figured I could book fifteen-minutes for that. I just talked to Jesus… well, I wrote to Him in essentially what is letter form.

And about twenty or thirty days into that process, I realized that I was just chatting AT Him. There was very little two way communication happening because I was just writing away. So, I prayed one day that God would teach me… that He would transform me… that He would transform my prayers.

Wouldn't you know that at that very moment my phone lit up with an email from Lynn Q about one of the women wanting to make sure she was signed up for a her bible study… she wanted to make sure she was signed up for the Transforming Prayer study.

Well, that was all the hint that I needed. I immediately got on my phone and signed up for bible study as well.

And it was totally a game-changer for me. I learned that prayer is SO MUCH MORE than lists presented to God via Jesus.

Duh. You're probably thinking.

But it was sorta new for me.

After some teaching about moving away from Request-Based Prayer and into Worship-Based Prayer, we spent some time going around the little circle and praying "God, you are…" and then filling in the blank with one of His attributes. Beautiful. I start ALL of my prayers this way now.

And then I learned that prayer in the bible was almost always a group thing. The beginning Christian church: pretty much all they did was pray together. And so I started asking myself, when do we pray together? Pretty much there is a hurried little prayer at the end of Sunday School given by the teacher and oftentimes we say the phrase "Let's pray SO THAT we can be dismissed"! Eek- how that must hurt the heart of God! Or maybe we pray one prayer over a gigantic list of prayer requests that refer to everything including my brother's co-worker's sister's dog-walker who stubbed her toe last week on the job. And then we all agree to pray for the list during the week. Or there is the person that offers to pray and we all groan inwardly because we know that he will drone on for a solid five minutes.

These amazing ladies in my bible study taught me "new" things…

Group prayer isn't intended for us to go on "babbling on like the pagans", but to be short, focused prayers. (But feel free to ramble allllll you want at home when you are talking to Jesus!)

Pray for people who make a request right THEN! Don't wait for it to move on to someone else's request! If a woman expresses that she is estranged from her father… stop and pray for her! If another woman says that her husband has a job interview that could potentially change their lives… pray for her right then! Yes, it's different. Yes, some people might think you are a "Holy Roller" at first, but do it and you will start to be transformed by prayer. You will start to see how prayer CAN transform others as well!

Pray the scriptures: The women often said "Pray with an open Bible." We took Psalm 27 one evening and slightly reworded it into us speaking to God… I was a dribbly mess by the end of it cause it was so moving and powerful!

And my favorite is something my friends on Facebook or my blog followers might recognize… but for the sake of repetition helping us to remember:

"The antidote for spiritual lethargy or heaviness is to put on a garment of praise."

As I recently struggled back out of a deep, cavernous pit of apathy towards God, I can assuredly say that making a concerted effort to praise God in the morning before anyone else was up (including the sun) and then to praise Him all day long and then to praise Him at the end of the day… well, that is what put me back on track. In my prayers of praise, I was reminding myself of who God was and is and is to come.

Again, some of this (or all of this) might be so elementary to you guys… if so, then do what you can to bring the rest of us along! Start a prayer group in your home! Interrupt the long chain of prayer requests by offering to pray for one at a time! Walk up and pray for a sister struggling in the grocery store!

And for those women like me that have been indifferent and possibly unbelieving in the power of prayer, test drive a few of the things above, and you, too, will probably discover a life filled with a newfound passion for prayer!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Patterns and Stitches

As most of you may know, I am a relatively new blogger for Stitches.  I am both honored and humbled to be asked to join all of these other ladies who are regular contributors.  I think what most intrigued me about this blog was the name, "Stitches - Watching how God stitches our lives together".  What a great thing and it so perfectly aligns with what I am passionate about - stitches, or more correctly, knitting.  If you know me at all, you know that I am a knitaholic.  I always have a project with me, and have multiple projects in progress.  I have a stash of yarn which is embarrassingly large - just so I can grab a new ball of yarn and start a project at a moment's notice.  Going to the movies - great, grab a hat.  Carpool - maybe a chance to work on at least a row or two of an afghan.  Cartrip - yeehaw, but don't ask me to drive because that is perfect knitting time.  The greatest thing about my passion for knitting is that, over the years, God has used this passion to bless others through Yarns of Hope, a charity knitting/crochet group that makes hats, scarves, blankets, etc. for cancer and pediatric patients. 

This fall, our Yarns of Hope group has started a bible study called "Knit Together: Finding God's Pattern for Your Life" by Debbie Macomber.  What a great truth that God has a pattern for our lives!  How much uncertainty this fact alleviates!  And, of course, this goes perfectly with the whole idea behind the Stitches blog as well - isn't that amazing how God knits (pun intended) all of this together?!?  Let's think about that for a minute.

When you first begin any project, whether it be knitting, crochet, sewing, painting, home improvement, literally anything, to be successful you need a pattern or plan.  Now, it can be elaborate or simple, grand or small in scale, detailed or just general guidelines, but to insure your success in the project, you must have an idea of where to begin and what the steps are along the way.  I love to make chemo hats and most often use a very simple rolled brim pattern.  I have used it so often that I don't have to refer back to the pattern now but there most definitely is a pattern that I use every single time.  If not, the hats would be too large or too small, too loosely knit, too long, too pointy - something wouldn't be right and the project would be a failure.  If I am starting on a sweater pattern (something I love to knit for my niece), I may spend hours picking out just the right yarn and pattern for her.  Then I will read through the whole pattern very carefully, making sure I have all of the supplies and that I know all of the stitches.  I may even knit a test swatch to make sure my tension is right and that I am using the right needles.  When I finally start, hours of preparation have gone into it beforehand and it is such a relief just to cast on those first stitches and begin the first few rows.  As I progress, I will have to pay close attention to the pattern and change my stitches according to it's direction.  I may even have to rip out a row or two if I don't like how it's looking or I missed a step in the pattern.  When it's finally complete, I have an immense sense of satisfaction.  Everyone else will see the finished project and how it looks on my niece.  Only I will know the planning, concentration, ripping out and all of the hours it took to complete.

By now, you may be wondering where I am going with this?  To me, in my very visual way of learning and thinking, this is a perfect example of how God creates a pattern for our lives.  He tells us in Psalm 139 how he has known each of us intimately before we were born.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 tells us that God has a plan for us:

11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

So, God has a plan for us, a grand pattern for our lives.  He has known what it is before we were born.  Now, we can still deviate from this pattern or go off track - that's when the pattern has to ripped out or has a flaw in it.  But what a great comfort to know that God loves us so much and won't leave us alone to our own human frailties and faults.  And, just like my sweater for my niece, when our patterns for our lives have been completed, nobody will see all of the snags, loose threads, mistakes or wrong stitches that we made along the way,  All anyone will see is the magnificent creature that God created to glorify Him.

My prayer for each of you is that you will find God's pattern for your life and experience the thrill of following it!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mothers and Brothers

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.  For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”--Matthew 12:48-50 NIV

It used to be that generations of families lived in the same town--or at least in a neighboring town.  As the years went by, people went away to college and then settled down in a different city than they'd grown up in.  Continue down the years and jobs moved people across country.  Now, with technology the way it is, we talk to people across the world on a regular basis, and we don't think twice about it.  Families oftentimes live far from one another, and it's considered completely normal.

I know that you may be wondering what the verse I referenced at the top of this post has to do with the first paragraph, but stick with me.  Knowing the context of what Jesus was saying, I want to apply it to the situation so many of us now face.  For many of us, our mother and our brothers (our father and our sisters) very well may do the will of God and belong to the family of God.  However, they may live 1,000 miles away and therefore cannot be present on a daily basis for us.  I think the Lord is reminding us, our family isn't just those who share our blood line.  Our family is those who love the Lord and do His will.

I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but I have met people (on more than one occasion) to whom I have immediately felt connected.  Though our life stories may be incredibly different, our ages may vary greatly, our culture may not be the same, I knew immediately they were family.  I remember this happening when I went off to college; I remember it again at a Christian summer camp where I worked; it has happened on each trip I've taken to Africa; it happens in church and in Bible studies.  And each time it happens, I am blown away by how the Lord loves me (us) and cares for me (us).  He knows we need and desire community, and He is so good to provide it for us.

The Lord created us for relationship--with Him and with others.  He showed us this in the Garden of Eden as He walked with Adam and as He also provided an earthly companion for Adam in Eve.  He loves to bestow His favor on us, and brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers of the faith are a beautiful part of that favor.

Though the Matthew passage is in no way speaking of families moving across the world from one another, the Lord knew it would happen.  And He knew we would still need one another to love and care for each other.  His Word tells us how important community is for Believers.

If your parents live nearby, be grateful.  It's becoming more rare.  If your parents are hours (or days) away, take heart.  The Lord has provided for that, too.  He has given us one another....

So, who can you care for today?  Who is in your family of faith that you need to reach out to this week?  What young mom or overworked dad needs an encouraging word from you?....Or maybe it's you who longs for someone to reach out to you.  Ask the Lord.  He is faithful.  He is good.  And He will provide in His perfect timing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Grateful and Humbled

Last night, I was honored and blessed to participate in a service at church to ordain my husband as a deacon.  I have always regarded deacons as leaders in the church and the pastor was very kind to remind us of that last night.  It is an honor that my husband and our family does not take lightly.

While preparing for this, we tried to convey the importance of this to our boys, ages 13 and 11.  At this age, you never quite know what penetrates into their brains and what just flies right over.  :)  We have been very purposeful their whole lives to try to communicate with them about the importance of spiritual events.  It is not always easy and sometimes that meant I did not get anything out of a service because I wanted them to "experience" it and not distract others.  I am often reminded in these times, that this is a journey, not an overnight transformation.

There have been several things lately that have come to my attention, through others, that my boys are actually doing the things that we have taught them.  But one of the most humbling things happened last night, during the ordination service.  The men of the church came forward and prayed over all of the new deacons - individually.  It was an amazing time, as those we knew and those we do not know yet, prayed over us and our family.  Our boys came forward at one point and our 13 year old prayed over his dad!!!  What a powerful scene - this little boy (not so little anymore), understood what what going on, and lifted his dad to the throne room of the King!  I was humbled and overwhelmed at the beauty of his prayer and his willingness to pray for his dad during this time.

I say all of this to tell you to "take heart"!  Keep on, keeping on!  Stay the course!  While taking your kids into certain services may be difficult for you, you are training them on important things.  Have those spiritual conversations with your kids.  Do those devotions that you don't think they are listening to.  Help them learn to develop habits they will carry into adulthood.  Bring them to church and be consistent.  God will honor your sacrifices and return them to you!

Proverbs 22: 6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Shout out to Sisters!

I want to say thank you, God for Sisters. I have been so blessed and moved by seeing the power of these women relationships. Whether a sister by family or by life, God sure has given me some amazing gifts.

So, Thank You, Father for ...

... my little sister Erin. She knows me and loves me. She is my confidant, my sounding board, my counselor, my heart. My memories start when she was born. I cannot imagine life without her.

... my Mom and Aunt Sue. Even now, as Mom goes to care for Sue, not hesitating to go immediately when called, they show the precious bond they share as sisters. They are a example of love, of sisterhood.

... my Mother-in-Law and her sister. The joy that they share in being together is so evident. The strength and comfort they give to each other through all things is a beautiful demonstration of why God made sisters.

... my many Sisters in Christ. I would not survive life without these amazing, strong, beautiful women you have placed in my life. I am so privileged to be surrounded by women that love you, Lord and love their families and love me for who I am, warts & all.

Thank you, Father, for all these beautiful gifts, these priceless treasures, these sisters that help make me who you want me to be. Amen.

Proverbs 27:17

New International Version (NIV)
17 As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

Family of God

I'm so glad I'm a part of the Family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood!
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I'm part of the family,
The Family of God.

You will notice we say "brother and sister" 'round here,
It's because we're a family and these are so near;
When one has a heartache, we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each victory in this family so dear.

- Bill Gaither