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Monday, September 29, 2008

The Very Long Week

Scratchy throats and annoying coughs
Body aches and high fevers
Sleepless nights and restless days

Trailer hitches and fender benders
Muted televisions and broken stuff
Over committing and under planning

Soccer practices and football marathons
Surprise rehearsals and understanding teachers
Gymnastics carpool and accidental naps

Intimate friends and deep conversation
Good coffee and old friends
Birthday parties and girlfriend gatherings

Early mornings and late nights
Messy bedrooms and fast food
Loving family and God encounters

All you who fear God, how blessed you are! how happily you walk on his smooth straight road! You worked hard and deserve all you've got coming. Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness! Psalm 28:1-2

Monday, September 22, 2008

Leaving Home

This post is second in my Prodigal Series. Click the link to get caught up.

Why leave home in the first place?

This parable shouts of the father's amazing character. He even treats his slaves with respect meeting their needs in a dignified manner. (Luke 15:17)

The family appears to be well off financially. The sons both have work at their father's house. The father meets both sons' complaints with gentleness, patience, forgiveness, acceptance and love. So, the big question is, "Why leave at all?"

Did the father have unreasonable rules? Did he require the sons to do too much work? Was his business stressful? Did the sons not have the freedom to pursue their own interests? Was the father too controlling?

Obviously the prodigal wanted to experience an indulgent lifestyle he wasn't going to experience at home. He wanted to live lavishly spending money he wasn't earning on things he didn't need. He wanted to answer only to himself.

Maybe the prodigal left for all these reasons. But, maybe he also left because he felt he could never meet all the expectation placed on him. Maybe the plans his father had for him seemed overwhelmingly hard and like something to which he could never live up, a potential he could never meet.

So he left. Feeling sure he could never show the promise the father felt he possessed, he quit listening. Feeling sure he would never be as serious, hardworking, responsible or successful as his older brother, he quit trying. Left to indulge his own desires. He knew how to do that. At that, he would be successful.

And he was. For awhile. And he enjoyed it. For awhile. Then the money ran out, his needs went unmet, and his father's name was left out of the picture. After all, he had already burned that bridge. He had already taken much more than he deserved. So he worked and eked by barely existing. Stooping to the lowest of levels to do the yuckiest of jobs, he worked. Until hope ignited and he remembered who his father is. A man of character, of love. Hope.

We know the end of the story. We know the prodigal returns home, remembers who his father is and all is forgiven. Relationship restored. Status restored.

I have noticed how the enemy of my heart can do this same thing to me. Taunting voices tell me who I'm not, who I'll never be and how I should just quit trying. The enemy takes a truth, twists it until it becomes a lie and speaks it to our hearts over and over again. He speaks it so much and in such a way that we actually start believing it as the truth.

There is truth in the lie, just not in all of it. Take the prodigal son, for instance. The truth is that the plans the father had for the son were lofty and probably difficult to attain. There was no way the son could attain them...On his own. He needed the father's help. He needed to trust the father and believe the father's way was right before he would ever live up to his full potential of managing his father's estate.

Just like me. I can never live out God's promises in my life...On my own. I must trust that his way is the best and wholeheartedly commit to it.

On our own, our callings in Christ will never be successfully carried into our lives.

But, the truth is this:
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)
"The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

So if you're far from home or just next door, open your ears and hear his call. If you're scared of failure, embrace Him. He's all we have.

And that's the Truth.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Follow the Leader

***Update: It may take a few clicks but it will so be worth it because it will quickly get me over to your blog. I am so far behind on blog reading. And, then when I read from my iphone I feel guilty because I don't comment. So, take the time to follow so I can comment!!!***

Before reading, look to your right. So, have you all seen this new follower gadget/widget (somebody who's techy tell me what it's called)? All you have to do is click twice and your pretty face is added here and I can read your blogs with total ease. So, come on follow me, if you are here and intend to come back make it easy on yourself. We all know Who's leading, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tic Tac Toe


Three in a row. Three good hair days. In row. In College Station. No humidity. Fifty-eight degrees at night. Eighty-two in the afternoon. Good hair.

I was tempted today to become furious or just simply frustrated at long, long, looong gas lines, empty, crowded and guarded grocery stores and crazy, bumper to bumper traffic all over town. When that crazy lady in that minivan made me back out of the super skinny parking lot into said traffic in my big ole' Suburban, I was able to quickly change my attitude to one of praise as I looked into my rearview mirror. Good hair.

It may be vain. It may be shallow. But a southern gal knows how to praise God for good hair!
Ahhh, the joys of blowing hair dry and actually getting it dry and having it silky and shiny and smooth with no creams, irons or potions.

So even with sketchy cell service, delayed texts, voice and email messages and many other small inconveniences, I am praising God for the little things like lukewarm pizza due to lines of evacuees (who we are ever so thankful to house), availability of gas slowly pumped into lots and lots of cars and low, very low humidity.

Like I said, good hair.

My in-laws called it a miracle straight from Heaven sent by the arms of God. I can only imagine how wonderful it was to wake up cold with no air conditioning in Houston in September. I can also imagine being cold in Houston in September with no hot shower to warm by bones. So, we southern ladies thank God for remembering us.

No humidity.

Good hair.

Gift from God.

Divine intervention in the midst of natural crisis.

We live in the south where the importance of good and poofy hair is passed from mother to daughter. Heck, it oughtta be a subject taught in junior high school. Southern girls are just like that. Tough times don't seem as hard on a good hair day.

We have our priorities straight down here in the south, ya'll. Yes ma'am, we do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Currently

Ike's gone. My mom's back.

We really had no damage at all. We have power. My in-laws don't have power. They were here all day doing laundry, checking emails, buying gas, using hot water and eating hot meals. All things we take for granted on a daily basis. Pray for their area and others suffering right now.

My mom made it home from Africa. Check her blog for details.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Update: Ike


We are now here. At home. Settled. Tied down. Secured for the storm.

Ike is coming. We've, all six of us, been glued to the computer watching footage of waves crashing over the seawall in Galveston. We might give Galveston a hard time because it has trash on the beach, seaweed everywhere you walk on the sand and not as much to do as South Padre, but we love our beloved quick vacation getaway spot. We are praying it is still there after Ike touches.

We've been to Sam's twice and Walmart once. Ironically, it was much easier to find water than beer. Yes, we live in a college town, the beer cases were empty.

We have bread, peanut butter and ice. We filled two ice chests with ice and then bought more because some other lady bought fifteen bags and two seemed rather pitiful in comparison.

We secured our many outdoor things. Half of our picnic tables and chairs fell apart as we tried to move them. Now we just have lots of wood pieces tied up in a pile.

Everything is cancelled from Saturday night church to Sunday night church. Our church is being used as a shelter. I should have known it was serious when they cancelled football...Two practices, pictures and a game. The soccer coach just called. If it's clear Sunday afternoon we're gonna try and squeeze a meeting in so we don't waste precious practice time on Tuesday.

I'm hoping it's clear. We just might be stir crazy by then.

Did I mention the hurricane party we're having?

Day at the Museum



The kids and I recently took a trip to Austin to visit my dad and the Army National Guard Museum at Camp Mabry.

My dad is a retired Colonel from the Army National Guard. I have really wanted to take this trip for a long time. Somehow the thought of my kids staying quietly together at a museum after riding in the car for a couple of hours deterred me from my goal...

Anyway, I think it's so important to teach them their heritage. They have grandfathers and great grandfathers who fought and made sacrifices for their freedom. I want my children to understand the cost of freedom. It doesn't come cheaply or easily.







We had a great day and I hope they learned a little. The museum was so interesting. My favorite was a display of President George W. Bush's military career.


All in all, a little heat and craziness was a small price to pay for the valuable heritage lesson of our family and our nation.

In the wake of September 11, let us remember and never forget the cost of living in the United States.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Take a Hike, Ike!

**Please join us in praying for all those affected by evacuations and for those having to leave their homes behind without knowing if they will be able to return. Please pray for God to lessen this storm and for it not to do the damage that is forecasted.**

The hurricane is coming!
The hurricane is coming!

Those are the shouts my children were making as I picked them up from school. My phone had been ringing with people asking about us all afternoon already.

We really don't live near the coast but we do live close enough that our schools, churches and buses are being used to help evacuees.

All morning Andrew and I talked about the "overreaction" of everyone to this forecasted hurricane.

We were supposed to go to Houston for an event tonight and I have plans with my friend Sunny and her daughter tomorrow afternoon, for goodness sakes!

So, this afternoon when school was cancelled, our event was postponed and volunteers were called to work at our church which is being used as a shelter, I started thinking.

If our country had been this prepared for Katrina lives would have been saved. When we are warned by authorities and do not listen, the effects can be serious. I am confessing my nonchalent reaction to cries of officials to prepare for hurricane season. I am sure this means I live like this in other areas of my own life! Yuck! So, we are now committed to taking this seriously.
Even if not one single person takes refuge in our city's shelters, we are ready to help. We will stay off the roads and secure our loose outdoor items. We will serve those displaced. We will wait and we will pray. We are going to be prepared for a huge disaster even if Ike changes course or dies out because "better safe than sorry."

So, in case you're wondering, we are all fine. We get a day off school to help others who may need us. It is sunny, clear and veeeery humid. The calm before the storm is here.

I think our life is similar. Are we prepared for Jesus to come back for us? Have we tied up loose ends? Have we forgiven our brothers? Have we called on His name for salvation?

So, even if the storm never hits or even if it isn't severe, we will be found ready if it does hit. Whether or not my Savior returns today, I will be prepared!

I found a lesson in this calm. Did you?

Matthew 25:1-13
Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Exchanged


I saw a post here that got me thinking.

Jeremiah 2:11-13
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, O heavens,
and shudder with great horror," declares the LORD.
13 "My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

This has always been one of my favorite passages so I decided to spend some time here meditating, pondering, thinking, seeking.

We have exchanged our glory for worthless idols.

Exchanged. Traded. Given in return for.

Glory. Wealth. God's character.

In us. Traded. For trash.

It's like having a beautiful diamond wedding ring and trading it for one from a gumball machine because we believe it looks prettier, sparkles more or that the person who gave it to us actually loves us more than one who would spend a huge savings purchasing a valuable ring for us.

Many times I have exchanged glory for belonging or acceptance by someone other than God.

I know me. Given half a chance, there are many days I'd trade my glory for a pair of shoes.

Glory for a fit of anger.

Glory for "my rights."

In an instant, a poor choice and all my glory is gone. God is not glorified and I wonder why I feel so empty and dry.

In an instant I am no different than the prodigal who got together all he had and squandered it in a foreign land. Only I am so much worse. I do it minute by minute without even realizing what I am doing. We all do.

This is not a new revelation. Romans 1:25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. "

We have the glory of God in us. God. in. us. Yet, we trade it for so much less.

We give it away only to find ourselves standing, thirsty, at empty wells trying desperately to draw water from dust. Empty. Dirty. Exhausted. Fleshly and unglorified. We search for Living Water in the desert and try to drink from cracked pitchers.
Thankfully, his word says all we need to do is repent and draw near to him and his fullness will be revealed in our lives.

Instead of popularity and anger and shoes, I want to see him. When I seek him, I will find him.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

Monday, September 08, 2008

I AM


Give me a revelation
Please show me what to do
When I feel all lost and broken
I always turn to you

When I seek your hand
Please show me your sweet face
As I fall down on my knees
Lift my hands, receive your grace

I wander so far from home
When all I want is you
How do I get so sidetracked
From your all consuming truth

You've been here all along
Revelation before my eyes
Blind to you, I patiently wait
To hear your voice speak from the skies

I think I need direction
I must be walking not quite right
When all I really need is you
Fresh Revelation in my life

Friday, September 05, 2008

For Jenn

Attn. Fellow Coffee Lovers: This is my new favorite reason to get up in the morning. It's also my favorite reason to go to Super Walmart. That's the only place they have it. Andrew begs me to shop there to save money. If it were up to me, I'd go to Kroger and never wait in line and breeze through the aisles. But, if I go to Super Walmart I get to drink chocolate mudslide flavored coffee during my devotion time. My kids even jump out of bed to take a taste of this! ummmmm

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

The First Day--Last Week






Last Christmas--9 months ago last week.





Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Righteously Drained



The first week of school left me feeling snot-filled, scratchy-throated and bone-weary. I was drained. Not the bad spiritually, emotionally and mentally empty drained. Just a good physically exhausted drained.

Due to a quiet Friday night, an overnight stay at Lake Conroe and coffee, Claritin, Advil and the occasional Red Bull, I got rested up and am currently facing the giant called "Week 2." After a late night round of Spanish spelling, broken DVDs and girl drama, I find myself feeling very...well, drained, for lack of a better word.

During last week's drain game, the Lord led me to this verse, "The righteous shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

A short little sentence that seemed to hit me in the stomach and slap me in the face with its power. Living by faith seems a little "Sunday schoolish" to me. Do I live by the evidence of things not seen?

I began to think about what this means. My thoughts immediately went to Hebrews 11. "The Hall of Faith" features such men as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses.

Noah obeyed God. Abraham believed God's promise. Isaac was the fulfillment of that promise. Jacob wrestled with God for a blessing.

And, Moses. He talked to God face to face, as a friend.

I pondered the power that the faith of the great men and women who went before me produced. I looked at my own life. My own faith. Sadly, I would say that my own faith leaks out as I live life. Living by faith takes effort. While I go about my daily routine, I get run down, stressed out and beat up. Even the faith that fills my heart and mind each morning as I meet with the Lord leaks out as I live. If I don't refill myself each morning, I get empty and die emotionally.

I often wonder if any of those mentioned as warriors of faith got beat down by life on a fallen planet.

Maybe. Just maybe they were a little like me.

When Moses felt overwhelmed by his purpose, God told him, "Tell them I am sent you." (Exodus 3:14)

When my faith is drained and it all seems like too much, I just need a fresh revelation of who God is to carry me forward.

When the house is a mess, the phone is ringing, it's time for football, gymnastics and soccer, there's homework to be done and dinner to be cooked, diapers to be changed, children to be loved and houses to be sold and I am saying (or screaming or sobbing), "I can't!"

God is here saying, "I am. I am already. I still am."

I tell them, "I am sent me."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Game Day