Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Where Rest Is...

I guess I didn't know I was exhausted. I guess when I said "wake me up in 30" I thought that would be just enough to save me from myself. I guess when I fell face first into the bed, pulled the covers up over my head and shut the world out I had no idea how tired I was. But an hour and a half later I woke up startled in a house way too quiet. What time was it?

That was me....yesterday. I couldn't function. I needed sleep like a baby needs a bottle. Whatever the reason was, I got what I needed. Sleep....rest....refreshment.

Rest is different from sleep. Sure it is. We've all slept before and awakened only to find out we didn't really rest. We tossed and turned and dozed and slobbered but we woke feeling as if we'd had a fight with a professional boxer.

Sweet rest is when your mind isn't cluttered or worried, when you've given things over to the Lord, where your conscience is clean. Rest is when you wake up feeling good...rested...alert. Your productivity is up and your drowsiness is down. It's a feeling of "I can tackle the world". Energy, a clear head, relaxed muscles and a rested body. It's a good feeling.

Last Sunday I was reminded how often I take for granted those opportunities that God gives me to rest. He's given a whole commandment to us in His word regarding the importance of taking some time to rejuvenate this body. Why do I fight against it so hard? Why do I think my way is better? I'm striving harder now to obey. His way is perfect. His way is best....His way brings perfect rest!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Cards....

....Before we begin....this is not a post about baseball. So if you came here looking for some inspirational talk about the Rangers and the Cardinals...well I'm afraid your google search did you wrong.

Anyway...someone recently asked me if I was "happy with the cards life had dealt me thus far." It was out of the blue...and I quickly, without thinking, said..."absolutely" and then afterward I thought maybe I should have given it more thought.

You see...here are some of the cards life has thrown me....

- loss of father at a young age
- paying my own way thru college
- fertility issues
- near loss of life in child birth
- near loss of life of firstborn
- financial difficulties
- small church ministry pitfalls
- taking a loss on selling a house
- 3 months of bed rest
- hurricanes


- Christian parents
- Bible College
- A godly husband
- Opportunity to serve in full-time Christian service
- 2 wonderful kids
- fulfillment in employment
-A beautiful home
- steady paycheck
- sweet friends
- Freedom to homeschool
- Peace of mind
- Support
- Good health

And there's more...much more. God's allowed so many things to happen in these short years and each one of them has had its purpose. I haven't always liked it when I went through it...and even now the twinge of pain I might feel about some of these things is tough, but I know these things are just the beginning of the good things he has planned for me. He allows these things to mature me.  In our ladies Bible study at church we've been studying James and how to walk a more spiritually aware life. It's difficult, but possible. I'm finding each and every day a struggle between my flesh and my spirit, but when I learn to trust Him completely....100%, then I can accept these comfortable and uncomfortable situations and all these moments in between as time designed to get focused on His goodness and His character...and to walk in HIM...under His control. There's no better place to be!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fear Factor

There is a girl who is scared. She doesn't know just what to do in this great big world yet. She's too young to really worry about it...all she knows is it scares her. Loud sounds, quick movements, unfamiliar territory...all things that can shake her up in two seconds flat. Today she faced a fear. With a trembling body she boarded a bus to go on a field trip. She beat her fear. She conquered the bus. At the end of the day when the trip was over and she climbed down still trembling...it really didn't matter how scared she was now....she beat the bus. She won!

I was so excited for her. I was thrilled that she took this huge step in a positive direction. I wanted to jump up and down for joy because I knew this was huge for her. Mom and I exchanged knowing looks and mom said..."We do a lot of praying". And I thought to myself...."so do I."

It hasn't been too many years that an awkward 14 year old girl trembled as she sat at a piano to play in church....not for a special occasion...but as the church pianist. I remember feeling like I could throw up...in fact I might have a time or two. Our music director didn't realize how terrified I was and had no idea that when he threw out anything in more than 2 flats or sharps I hyperventilated.

FEAR...it has such power over us. It paralyses, handicaps, freezes, manipulates, and transforms us. But it doesn't have to win. I was wondering today as I watched the girl face her fear, if in anyway my reaction was similar to Christ's? Does He stand there with His arms held out helping and encouraging us to take the first step? Does He cheer for us even though we were shaking the entire time we faced the fear. Is Jesus standing there interceding on our behalf when we take that step of faith....is He saying "We do a lot of praying"? I imagine so....because on our own we are unable to face fear and win. He's the cheering squad, excited and prepared for us to take His had for that very next step.

He can beat your fear.

Monday, October 10, 2011

When You Don't Know Why

Sometimes you don't know why God allows things to happen. Sometimes it's your fault. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it hurts immediately. Sometimes it hurts later. Sometimes it never hurts. Sometimes it's unbearable.

So, I'm going to be very transparent...I may lose some "friends". When we left the last church we worked in, I was grieving. Grieving the loss of friends...sweet people who I had grown to love. I was grieving the loss of ministry. Wondering why God called us to work at a church...to begin a task and then to be incapable of finishing it (in our eyes). I wondered if we would ever be ready to really serve, worship, love again. 

But God heals hearts and wounds and fixes broken things. He mends the heart strings. He binds the brokenhearted and gives grace...forgiveness...all the things that I needed. 

So...through social media I've kept up with many of our friends from past ministries. And today...there was a video...one posted by the current pastor of the church we left. They recently had a baptism service with MANY baptized. As I watched the video there were the faces of many who we had the opportunity to love on while we were there. They were getting baptized or their children were...some entire families where immersed in the water that day. And it touched me. In a stirring way...the kind where tears fall unashamed down your face. 

I was so excited and humbled and blessed and reminded. Reminded that sometimes we won't always understand why things happen the way they do. Sometimes we will never know why God allows things...even hurts or disappointments or sickness or death. BUT He does have a purpose a plan. We just have to do our part. 

While I'm still unclear what "our part" always is....I do know this 'Some plant, Some water....but God gets the increase". You never know what part you might play in someone embracing grace. God does all the REAL work. We just plant and water....I'm thankful for the chance to get to see that today. I'm thankful for the work of ministry that continues there...leading others to Jesus....teaching and preaching His word and encouraging the saints. What a beautiful body.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ooey Gooey Goodness

I needed to make a dessert for an event this weekend. I searched through a couple of cookbooks...then went to Pinterest and found this bit of heaven....I made one batch up to give away...and then made another batch for my own family to enjoy this weekend. Super Yummy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Easy Bread Recipe

I made this bread with my preschool class today...and if I can do it with 11, 4 year olds....you can make it in your kitchen....I assure you...super easy...super yummy! Click on the picture for the recipe.

Late Night Talks

I was at the church late tonight working when Bruce texted me and asked how much longer...he wanted to talk. There's been some stuff weighing on his mind and he needed a listener and a sounding board. So, within 15 minutes I was sitting in our front room...he in his cozy chair and I in mine...sharing the ottoman and conversation. He spilled and I took it all in. His joys, his concerns, his worries, his laughter. We shared words of hope and even frustrations. We talked about the kids...Steve Jobs passing....church...school. We caught up. It's been a crazy couple of weeks. It felt good. Familiar. Comfortable. Easy.

These talks...all too infrequent...but so needed and loved...reminded me of how much the Father must enjoy it when His children send up their late night talks to Him. Does He sit and nod with understanding, share in our frustrations our sorrows and our cares? Does He wonder why we don't trust Him more...trust ourselves less or even at all?

How easy it is to exist in our relationships ...both earthly and spiritually....without really sharing these moments that make our days and weeks. The Lord is teaching me to be more attentive and to really take in these minutes that make up our hours and to enjoy, embrace and live them to the fullest.