"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Friday, February 27, 2009

Carried to the Table

This week I chose Leeland's Carried To The Table. It is absolutely georgous. The video I picked isn't the best quality but I wanted you guys to be able to see him singing it. I am so blown away by the depth of his passion and understanding, especially since he is so young (not that that matters).

I spent a lot of time listening to this song last week, and then we sang it in church Sunday, so I feel that it has a message that God really wants to get out. The image of God carrying me to his table, even though I have never been and will never be, good enough to go there, to belong there...how great is our God to WANT us there?

I hope this song truly blesses you as you enter into your weekend, and beyond.






For more great songs, click the link in my right hand column!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Romance

I don't know what is going on that God would choose to immerse me in such confirmation of his love.

But oh YES, I will take it.

it truly is a romance. I get so excited when I hear from him. He pursues me with passion and joy. Just hearing from him makes everything seem OK. He keeps popping up, just to tell me he loves me. He has sung to me, written me letters, and turned up in the strangest places. He is in songs, books, magazines, movies, TV shows, the people I meet, and in the very quiet of my heart.

If I could make you truly believe and accept one thing, it would be this. It doesn't matter how long you have known God, a day or a lifetime; God wants a passionate and intimate relationship with YOU, yes, YOU! From the first second, to the last breath, he will be pursuing your love.

You can walk away, run away, become indifferent or enraged. You can tell him no, tell him you hate him, tell him he no longer is allowed in your life. You can do all those things and he will still be there, pursuing with love, compassion and patience.

You see, God loves who we are underneath even what we know of ourselves. We see the now, but God sees what was, what is, what will be. Most importantly, he sees what HE intends. We each have a Divine and unique purpose and plan. His passion for us, placed inside of us, to fulfill his plan for our life. You see, WE are part of his plan.

And God's plan is perfect.

No matter how far away you think you are, or what you've done that you think is too bad, or too much; it's never too late.

You see, God's pursuit of you will never end. Not until the day that we see him face to face, and spend our eternity right where he wants us to be. With Him.

THAT is the most Divine of romances.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday ~ Dollie

I have a great friend. She has been there for me with wisdom and reality when I was lost in my own world with no answers in sight. She is a friend that will always have a minute, even when she really doesn't have a minute.

Dollie is actually the first "sister" I met after I was saved. I walked out of the office door and there she was, with a big smile and a congrats.

I think the best word to descibe Dollie is real. She is just as willing to admit to her own faults and struggles as she is to call you out or lift you up in yours.

She has, not taught, but demonstrated, the importance of being real in your friendships. I know I can trust her to be truthful with me in our conversations and that is the most important thing to me when building a friendship.

It is not always comfortable or easy to admit to the real you, but she does it. She uses her life to help lead and guide many of the women in our church, and I count myself richly blessed to have her in my life.

She is the administrator of our church, and so I am generally confident where to find her. I try not to visit too often, but sometimes the only thing that I know to do is go spend some time in the chair in front of her desk. I have laughed, cried and learned so much from that chair.

I love my friend Dollie and I wouldn't trade our friendship for anything!



Quit Stats

You most likely don't know that I used to be a smoker.

I was a pretty heavy one at that. When I quit I was smoking about 2 packs a day...down from the 3 a day I had gotten to while my Mom was ill.

I joined an on-line support group called QuitNet. When I joined I had to put all my stats in, such as how many cigarettes a day I smoked, how much I paid for a pack and so on.

It would update my stats automatically.

I haven't been on the site for about a year so I thought I would just check it out. This is what my new figures are:

QuitDate: October 8, 2004

Time Smoke-Free: 1598 days, 4 hours, 48 minutes and 8 seconds

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 55,937

Lifetime Saved: 14 months, 7 days, 7 hours

Money Saved: $13,459.58

WOOOO HOOOO!

I actually have nightmares now where I dream I am smoking and wake up crying because I think I have to quit again. I can pretty safely guarentee that I will NEVER pick up that gross little habit again.

And by the way...no, I don't know where all that money is. I wish I had saved it. I could have bought a new car! And just think, that was the cost four years ago, they have gone waaaay up since then, so I have actually saved even more money than that!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Being Prepared

This week, a teen in our youth group was hit by a car while crossing the street on foot. He is in extremely critical condition, his future very uncertain. We all are in shock. There was no way to foresee this. There are alot of should haves, would haves and wish Id's going around.

This terrible and tragic event has really brought to light something for me.

Things happen all around us and sometimes we miss just what it was that could have made it seem...bearable.


It seems that there are times when everything is great, and you don't have any problem answering the questions you come across or experiencing life the way God wants you to.

Then there are times that are quiet, where you aren't exactly growing, but it is also not a time of testing. Maybe we'll call it a time of resting and refreshing.

Sometimes we go through a time that I call "little things". Nothing major has happened, no big time of testing, but all those little things just seem to keep piling up, until you feel like you just might break under the load.

Then there are times of active distress and uncertainty. An event so unforeseen, so incomprehensible happens that you are just left stunned and unmoving, questioning where to go and how to begin again from here.

It is so human to look at those last two categories and just wish them away.

"Oh, if only it never had to be!"

In our desire to live a life that glorifies God, we focus so much on finding ways to praise and worship, that we forget to get down in the dirt and strengthen our foundations.

When life is good, who wants to think about growing our trust in God to carry us through the death of a loved one, material loss, betrayal by friends, disappointment in our family? When we are in a period of quiet, we never seem to hurry to get that one little thing under control. We like to think that we will get to it "later". After all, it's just a little thing.


A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

~ Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)


It's great to spend time in celebration of the wonderful things that God has done, and is doing in your life, but more importantly, we should be strengthening our spiritual foundation for those days when our world gets turned upside down.

If you are like me, too often instead of spending dedicated time with God, searching His word for guidance and instruction, you jump in with a quick five minute devotion sometime after coffee and getting the kids to school and starting the laundry, and scheduling a dentist appointment and, well, you get the idea! You really do plan to ponder what you read for the remainder of the day, but you quickly lose focus the first time something distracts you. Sure, we got our Bible time in, but what did we REALLY get out of it?

Instead of scrambling to understand and cope when the "little things" break us, or when the unimaginable deals us a blow to the heart, what if we spent our time building up trust and understanding of God's sovereignty every day? If we study the Bible to learn the character of God on the days that everything seems good, then on the days when we just don't have it in us to search, we will have that knowledge tucked away in our hearts and minds.

Below are some verses that might help you get started on planning for those days that strike with the unexpected.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.

Isaiah 14:26-27
I have a plan for the whole earth, for my mighty power reaches throughout the world. The Lord Almighty has spoken - who can change his plans? When his hand moves, who can stop him?

Romans 8:28
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Ephesians 1:9-10
God's secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. And this is his plan: at the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ - everything in heaven and on earth.


I have added a video to this posting. It is Kari Jobe singing The More I Seek You. I pray that we all find a little more of God this week.

The Climb

I love the lyrics to this song. We always focus on the end of our journey, but as this song so richly points out...it's about the climb.








I can almost see it
the dream I’m dreamin’
But Theres a voice
Inside my head sayin’
You’ll never reach it
Every step I’m taking
Every move I made feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

Chorus:
Theres always gonna
Be another mountain
I’m always gonna
Wanna make it move
Always gonna be
A up-hill battle
Sometimes i'm gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about whats waiting
On the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no I’m not breaking
I may not know it
But this are the moments
that i'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin’
And I, I got to be strong
Just keep pushing, on
Chorus:
Cause There’s always gonna
Be another mountain
I’m always gonna
Wanna make it move
Always gonna be
A up-hill battle
Sometimes i'm gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about whats waiting
On the other side
It’s the climb,

Yeah
There’s always gonna
Be another mountain
I’m always gonna
Wanna make it move
Always gonna be
A up-hill battle
Sometimes you're gonna have to lose
Ain’t about ho fast I get there
Ain’t about whats waiting
On the other side
It’s the climb

Keep on movin’
Keep climbin’
Keep the faith
Baby
Its all about
Its all about
The climb

Keep the faith
Keep your faith
woah



For more great songs, visit the Then Sings My Soul Saturday blog (link button located in my right hand column).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New memory verse for the month~ becoming a servant

Well, I have found my new memory verse for the month. It is really short, but really sweet.

"He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30, NIV).

If you are wondering, no, I don't have my last two verses memorized word for word. I think I got a little ambitious, they were kinda long. At least for me. But that doesn't mean I am giving up on learning them. I am just staying on my schedule, which is a new verse on the 1st and 15th of each month. My verse this month is short, so I hope to make a little more headway on the other two.

Now, will I feel like a failure if I can never get them memorized word for word? No, because I will know what they mean and know exactly where to find them, the word for word recall would just be a bonus.

This year long practice isn't so much so that I can say that I have memorized 24 verses, it is to know that I have 24 more examples of God's love and guidence not only at my fingertips, but in my heart and memory as well. We can't use scripture as a sword (Ephesians 6:17) if we don't know what it says and how God wants us to apply it.

So, why did I choose this one for my new memory verse? Well, because I tend to forget that I am not the most important person in the room. Not all of the time, but a lot of the time. I tend to focus more on what outcome I want, what would make me happy, who I want to spend time with.

For me to truly reach people with the love and forgiveness of Christ, I have to look at the world as HE does, not as I do. I have to allow Him to become the greatest thing in my life and start to see myself as more a servant, then someone to be served.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
~ Phillipians 2:5-8

Stomach flu is so fun

I haven't been around the last few days. I have been mostly in the bathroom. Good thing I just redecorated it this fall.

Why is it that the stomach flu hits so suddenly? If you get a cold you get a hint it's coming. Some sniffling. Some sneezing. You can start to be proactive!

Stomach flu is pretty rude. It just shoves right on in and takes over your whole life, not allowing time to plan. To, say, get someone to watch your 16 month old for the day while you spend quality time with the porcalin throne. It was so much fun yesterday...

Today...I am not feeling the need to sprint, but I do have this most amazing fever going on. I'm cold. No, wait, I'm hot. No, that's chills. Wait, I'm sweating. I also have this slightly dizzy feeling. I like that part.

Today Abby is with her regular Wednesday babysitter, Stephanie. She is my peachy keen jelly bean favorite person right now. Just the thought of not having to change a diaper for a few hours while I work through this is soooo wonderful.

Now my only problem is, should I try to eat something? I am hungry and I don't FEEL like trying to get rid of the rest of my stomach lining, but you never know.

I guess we will see.

Thanks for spending time with me and my stomach flu this morning.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How disappointing...but not really

I have not dropped three dress sizes and have a flat stomach.

I worked out 5 times this week, what else can I do?

Nah... I'm ok. I didn't get to get the bathroom scales this week but I have done my five workouts (ok, technically 4, but that 5th one will be completed before bed so I am counting it). I have no idea if I lost any weight, or inches, but I feel better. I have slept better and have really cut down on the sweets. I just don't want to be doing all this work for nothing, so I am trying to keep from putting as much junk in my body.

Portion control is much harder than you would think. I mean, seriously! Have you ever actually stuck to portions? I am a taste eater, if it tastes good, I WANT it! So this has been a difficult week for me. I am sticking it out for the most part though.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
~ Matthew 6:25


I am so very happy that my friends are helping me. We met twice this week to workout together and it is a great motivator to know that you are going through the same things together. Of course, they are both pretty fit anyway, but I am concentrating on the fact that I will one day be that way too.

I do wish I had some scales though. It would be nice to have either that reward, or kick in the butt, but either way it is a great motivator. Hopefully this week I can get one!

My Jesus

My choice for this week is My Jesus by Todd Agnew. The video is scenes from The Passion of the Christ.

I can't think of a better love story for Valentine's Day.




For more songs follow the link in my right hand column to Then Sings My Soul Saturday.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday

It's 3:21 am so technically it's Friday morning...but I am still posting this as my thankful Thursday post.

1. I am so thankful that I have all that I do. I tend to look over the fence and long for what the Jones' have, but today, I am thankful for my home that needs cleaned, my car that needs work done on it but still runs, my job that stresses me out but that fullfills me and pays me, my husband who I love in a more meaningful way than ever before, and it's because of what we have gone, my son, who I just can't seem to connect to anymore but who I love and I know still loves me and who is worth whatever it takes to fix this; and I am thankful for all those medical bills that we are struggling to pay, because they mark the arrival of the sweetest gift from Heaven, my precious Abby.

2. As weird as it seems, I am thankful that God is laying my heart open. He is showing me that the only way I can get closer to Him is to be obedient. The steps that it takes to get there are what define me and He is developing that character in me every day.

3. That God allows me to hurt for others. It gives me the tiniest glimpse of His heart for me.

4. That my friends are the kind that stick. No matter how moody I am, or how many times I stick my foot in my mouth, how forgetful or insensitive I am or how scattered, they stick.

5. That there is music that can says the words that I can not. Sometimes there is nothing else that will do to praise my God.

For more things to be thankful for, follow the link in my right hand column.

Monday, February 9, 2009

For Flabby Sake! Get a grip girl!

I guess I am going to start journalling about my exercise and diet. I use the term diet loosely. Maybe slight dietary modification effort would be more accurate.

I HATE diets. I think they are un-natural, but since me being overweight is also un-natural, I need to figure this thing out.

For awhile I was eating pretty healthfully. I just wasn't exercising. Now, I have started exercising and want to eat anything and everything in sight. And a lot of it.

So, since I seem to work out most other areas of my life here, I figure I might as well throw this into the mix too.

I refuse to fixate on my weight or eating habits but I do want to get to where I am healthy and making healthy decisions.

Ok, bare-bones truth? I make really derogitory comments about myself and it needs to stop. Now. Before my daughter walks in talking about how unhappy she is with her body.

This week I have made a deal with myself to do my workout video every day for the five week days. Two of those days I have roped some friends into joining me so they won't be hard. It will be the others that I have to stick to. I did workout last night and slept well.

I have started with Biggest Loser's Cardio Max workout. I LOVE the show and Bob and Jillian so I thought it would make the workout more appealing. I do like it, but it is challenging. I will definately need the accountability to keep me at it.

I am going to get a new bathroom scale on Wednesday so I can track my progress better. I have taken my "before" shots. (Ugh!) Now I have written this down and posted it so that I can't pretend I didn't say it. My first month's goal is somewhere between 5-9 lbs. I know I can do that easily, but I just wanted a goal I could reach to boost my confidence. When I hit the first 10 lb goal I will be purchasing a Biggest Loser "Team Jillian' teeshirt as a reward!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Changing insecurity for strength

Have you ever wondered about something, something that is part of what makes you, you? Have you ever wondered why you were that way or asked God to help you understand or change...and then you never did?

I have been like that over a certain insecurity for a number of years.

Yesterday, as I was getting out of the bath, it was like God decided to just give me a little bit of enlightenment, out of nowhere.

I am not quite sure why He has decided to give me this information now, or exactly where to go from here. I am not even sure what to think about it.

I do know that it is definitely a way for me to grow closer to Him, to prune some of the dead branches so that I can bear more fruit.

I think this might be the result of my increased trust in Him. I have felt like my walk with Him has grown over the last month or so, and this may be a natural progression of that. Or, there may be a time of testing in my close future, and I need to resolve this issue to be able to make it through.

"Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance"
James 1:3
The great thing about leading small groups with the teens on Sunday mornings is that I am getting deeper into the Old Testament. Today we talked about Job. All during his time of testing, Job was learning about the character of God. Some of my favorite scriptures are of God leading Job through the creation of the heavens and the earth.
I am not saying that I want to go through suffering on the same scale as Job, or that I would be able to remain faithful to God during that time, even though I hope that I would; I am saying that I truly believe that our greatest times of growth occur when there is absolutely nothing left but to turn to God and admit that, from my point of few, there is no way that this situation can ever be fixed.
I think this theory holds true in our day to day struggles as well. Each little decision, each little conflict resolved, every weak point in our character or emotions addressed, these little trials knit us to God in a strong fabric of faith.
By giving me a starting point on this insecurity, I know that God intends to heal this weak spot in my faith. Even if it takes a little pain, or discomfort to prune this branch, I know that I will be stronger for it, able to bear more fruit.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Happy Day!!

OH HAPPY DAY, HAPPY DAY!

This song gets my blood pumping and makes me want to jump for joy and just dance with Jesus!

I am in a great place today and this is a perfect reflection of where I am...

" and oh, what a glorious day...what a glorious way...that you have saved me
and ohhhhh, what a glorious day...what a glorious NAME....YAY!"


ENJOY!




For more great songs just follow the link for Then Sings My Soul Saturday in my right hand column!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

1. I'm thankful for the few minutes that I had alone in the car. I turned the music up really loud and just praised for a few minutes at the top of my lungs. Those times are very few and far between these days, so when I can get them, I charish them.

2. I'm thankful for hot baths. I started working out again and my muscles are really telling me about it.

3. I'm thankful for my sister-in-law. She is supplying me with all the books in the Twilight series, (which I am reading in thost hot baths).

4. I'm thankful for Wednesday night services. Each week I have really gotten a message from God that is applicable to where I am, right now. I mean, if I didn't know how great God was, I wouldn't believe it. As it is, I am in awe of how He speaks.

5. I am thankful for the opportunity to dip my toes into the speaking arena. It may have only been for five minutes, but maybe that five minutes will prepare me for the next time I am asked to speak (I have a feeling that it will happen again someday).

For more great Thankful Thursday blogs, follow the link in my right hand column.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Time to get ugly

I am the happy, cheerful, encouraging, go-with-the-flow, do-anything-for-ya friend that doesn't stay down for long!

On the outside.

Inside I feel pretty insignificant. I feel like a failure in a couple areas of my life, and in others I feel like I am just coasting along.

I know what the Bible has to say about these things. I know what God's thoughts are about me, as much as I can anyway.

In my head.

My heart is a different matter.

I let people hurt me, I tear myself down, and most of all, I listen to the little voice in my heart that says I don't really have anything worthwhile to offer, and why would anyone really care?

Natalie Witcher over at Stiletto Army seems to be mounting an attack against this way of thinking, and feeling. It's called Living With Me.

I plan on joining in.

I am tired of the same old song and dance and mask that we all seem to feel the need to wear. That perfect mask that keeps us from letting others see the ugliness in our lives. That mask that keeps us from seeking God's healing.

Would you care to join me?

I think it's time to get a little ugly.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Titus 2 Tuesday ~ Beth

Today I want to share my friend Beth.



This may not be a big thing to you but it just made me feel so blessed that I have my friend.



I was speaking for the first time Saturday night. It was very short, only five minutes, but I had been very nervous for about a month.



My friend Beth, who I could write a book on and will share more about in a future post, was going to be there, not only to be with the girls, but to be some spiritual support for me.



I got a call about two hours before time to leave. It was Beth. She was appologizing to me because she was ill and had a terrible headache and couldn't attend. She wanted me to know that she was thinking of me and that she was supporting me.



How cool is that?



My dear bloggy friends, THAT is the kind of support we should all show each of our girlfriends. Even though she needed the encouragement and comfort, she called to give those things to me instead.



For more great Titus 2 Tuesday women, please follow the link in my right hand column.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wearing Too Tight Shoes


Bob and I were married 12 years ago. While we were married in a church by a pastor, we were, at best, visitors to a relationship with God. We had come in and out over the years but never made our permanent home with Him.

As the years passed our marriage deteriorated until we were little more than roommates sharing a house and a son. I had completely distanced myself from God and I had absolutely no clue as to what Bob's beliefs or feelings were. During that time my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. During her fight God and I had a big struggle going on as well. My Mom lost her fight with cancer but about a month before she died, about four years ago, I gave my life to Christ in a no-holds-barred, I can't make it without you way. Shortly after my husband re-dedicated his life to Christ and has passionately lived out that committement since.

Trying to live a marriage based on God's desires and not ours is probably one of the biggest struggles that we have faced since committing our lives to Christ. It was such a surprise to find out that the things that God calls us to as husband and wife are much harder to meet than what we desire for ourselves. They sound simple enough, but the day to day application takes constant work and sacrifice.

"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
~Ephesian 5:22-33



The problem is, when you live in a marriage that is all about yourself, you aren't following God's design for marriage. To truly follow God's design it becomes a case of completely giving up to self and starting to live for someone else, all in an attempt to glorify God for what He has done, is doing, and will do.

Over the past three years we have been working at redefining our roles in our marriage. I, ever the head-strong, opinionated, and overbearing woman, has had to learn to submit to the leadership of my husband, even when it goes against every desire I have to take charge. I have had to learn to trust that his decisions will be for the best in our marriage, our family and our spiritual walk. He on the other hand, is very easy-going, quiet and agreeable. He has had to learn to step up and speak out, take control and leadership, and start making decisions that, before, he would just leave to me. He also is learning to look at things from a perspective that is completely different than his in an effort to understand me more and strengthen our marriage.

I won't lie and say that we have easily stepped into the roles set forth in the Bible. It is work on the best days, and a struggle on the really difficult ones. It is like trying to wear shoes that are too tight. But we have found that the more we try to put the other person first, those shoes will stretch just a little more. The distance and discord in our marriage didn't happen overnight, and it wasn't something that we had to work at. We just quit caring and quit trying. The healing won't happen overnight either, but we are determined and dedicated to each other, and to trusting God to continue to heal our relationship. It is a lot of work and a lot of struggle, but where we are now is good. We love each other and are determined to make it work; these days the happiness and love outweigh the other stuff more and more.

We just keep reminding ourselves that the destination is worth the time it takes to break in a pair of too tight shoes.
For more things about marriage that are surprising, follow the link to Marriage Mondays in my right hand column.