Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning To Be The Light

A few months ago, I read a book that revolutionized the way I viewed Christianity.  The author suggested that if I wanted to see God do some radical things in my spiritual journey, all I needed to do was pray a prayer that consisted of one request.  It was, "Lord, give me a holy passion."  I had no idea what that prayer would mean for me at the time.  But as each day is coming to pass, I am learning more and more about what that is starting to look like for me.

I have always grown up in the church.  I've been saved for as long as I can remember.  I've attended Vacation Bible School in the Baptist church and have been confirmed in the Methodist church.  I've also been baptized twice just to be safe and have probably sung every hymn written in the church pew hymnal.  Church has been a way of life for me since conception so you can imagine my horror when I started having feelings that left me wondering if going to church really mattered as much as I have always thought it to matter.  It became downright frightening when the more I involved myself at church, the more empty I felt.  I tried to overcompensate by teaching Sunday School and helping with Women's Ministry.  But that only caused me to get sick of the sound of my own voice.  The more involved I got, the more frustrated I became.  And the empty feeling became like a ghost haunting my heart and my mind week in and week out. 

I went straight to the Lord with these issues.  And little by little, I started realizing that most of my time was spent blessing the blessed.  No wonder I felt empty.  I think it's ok to involve yourself in church.  I think it's wonderful to invest into the lives of other believers.  But for me, I was spending my energy and most of my time investing in that one area.  It just felt like there had to be more.  In the Bible, Jesus asked Peter repeatedly Peter, do you love me?  Peter, over and over, said Yes, Lord, of course I love You.  Jesus, each time, told Peter Then, feed my sheep.  I thought I knew what Jesus' sheep looked like.  But I'm learning more each day, my impression was wrong.  God is leading me to His flock.  And with each step of the journey, He's teaching me how to feed them.  You'd be amazed at what His lambs look like.

Jesus says in Matthew, Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.  It's funny how God reveals His Son to me.  The other day Jesus looked a lot like Mr. Brown, an elderly homeless man suffering from Alzheimer's walking the street every day and every night with no where to lay his head.  Did you know Jesus also looks like a single mother of 5 trying to get a fresh start in life?  She came by the local homeless ministry the other day looking for warm clothes for all 5 of her children.  Jesus also resembles the face of a dear seven-year-old girl who needed shoes that fit.  She chose a pair with a princess on each shoe.  I told her she was as pretty to me as a princess.  Her eyes lit up with the light of God.  And in that moment, I realized my holy passion.  To be the Light.  That's it.  That's all He wants from me. 

So, instead of giving those around me a list of what to do and what not to do, instead of trying to melt their icy hearts with my human advice, instead of inviting them to church when I know they probably aren't going to come anyway, instead, I am going to them.  I'm gonna build my city on a hill, place my light in the window sill, and just love on' em.  I am going to just love on 'em.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Daddy's Lap

When I was a girl the safest place in the entire world was in my daddy's lap.  I knew that while in his lap, nothing could get me, nothing could hurt me, nothing could touch me.  I cried a lot of tears in my daddy's lap, but I also laughed a lot of laughs.  My daddy loved me, and I knew that because he made me feel cherished.  Life happens to people, ya know?  And when life gets tainted by the works of the enemy, those sweet moments of being in daddy's lap become distant memories.  Distant enough where I almost question if they ever even happened in the first place.

As an adult, I became keenly aware of the importance of God's presence in my life.  When I became a mother, my level of need and dependency deepened to a depth I never knew existed.  I was so grateful for that realization, because I came to love Jesus so much and started to learn how to receive the love He had for me.  My earthly father is no longer a part of my life.  But my Heavenly Daddy, Jesus, has become my life.  And as mystical as this sounds, my most favorite moments in my journey with the Lord have been the times when Abba God has allowed me to climb in His lap.  It is in His lap where I am reminded of the love, the safety, and the security that comes with abiding in Him.  Not only is in His lap the safest place for me, His daughter, to be.  It is my most favorite place to be.

Dear Jesus,
I sure love this life you've given me.  And I'm sure not in a hurry to see it end.  But oh, how I long for the day when I see you face-to-face.  How I can't wait for you to motion over to me to come and climb in your lap.  This girl of yours is going to run to you.  I'm going to run and jump up in your lap, Father.  And it will be in that moment, the moment where I feel your heartbeat, the moment where I get to lay back and breathe against your chest.  It will be in that moment when I know that you had this divine appointment scheduled for the two of us all along.  I love you, Jesus.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I am wishing for a different personality today.  A personality where life is always good, everyone likes me, I love everybody, I am always energetic, I am always in a good mood, I see the good in every situation, I make time to play with my children, I bake cookies for my family, and I have perfect hair, perfect skin, and a perfect body.  Not too much to ask, right?  Life's been interesting lately, and I'm tired of fighting.  The weekend is almost here, and I just want to take my family and go climb under a rock until Monday (maybe later).  I have the personality to easily get distracted by the bad things that are happening around me rather than focusing on the good things.  The good things almost always outweigh the bad.  So today, I'm going to work real hard at noticing my blessings.  Here are just a few...

1.  My husband is so handsome and loves me more than I deserve.  He brings me presents for no reason and he is the bestest friend anyone could have.
2.  My children are precious and always keep me laughing.  They are healthy and smart and know how to love.  What more could I want?
3.  I have more than I need to make life, food, warm bed, etc.
4.  I am surrounded my family and friends almost everywhere I go.
5.  I live where I can practice my faith without fear. 
6.  Jesus loves me so much He died for me so that I could spend eternity with Him.
And finally...
7.  I am getting my hair cut and highlighted today along with a fresh eyebrow wax.

See?  Blessed, indeed!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bad Christianity. There is such a thing.

Some days I wake up and think to myself, "Wow, Christians have really messed up this thing called Christianity."  Recently I was struck with how bizarre it must sound to others, especially non-believers, when we believers sit around in church services singing songs about sitting on a cloud with Jesus.  It must sound crazy to them when they hear us tell our children "Bible" stories that insinuate Heaven to be in the sky and Hell to be under the ground.  It must be awful and terribly confusing to non-Christians when we Christians justify our hate crimes, our ridicule, our condemnation of others with talk of God's will and God's purpose for this world.  It has got to look ridiculous, laughable almost, when we put a pretty smile on our faces on Sundays, praise the Lord with both hands raised in worship, and shout "amen" and "praise the Lord' when our pastor says something we agree with, just to show up to work on Monday morning taking our Lord's name in vain, gossipping about our co-worker, and bragging about how we told "so and so" off last night for letting his dog come in our yard and poop in our flower bed.  It is no wonder we've become a joke to the non-Christian world.  I have found myself so incredibly embarrassed at how I and others have represented Christ to this world.  In fact, I'm downright disgusted and offended at people who claim to be followers of Christ yet continue to live their lives in ways that only spit in God's face.

And then I'm reminded I am no better.  No different.  It wasn't all that long ago that my life reflected everything and anything but God.  Jesus extended His grace to me.  I took it after fighting Him on it for a long time.  I let Him reveal His love for me and I never was the same after that.  I was reminded just yesterday that we as Christians are called to extend the same amount of grace to others that has been given to us.  That can be challenging for someone like me who struggles with receiving grace from anyone.  But everything good in my life...every single blessing I have received and will receive...all of it...are examples of God's grace in my life.  It is true.  Christians are to blame for their role in the misrepresentation of Christianity.  But with God's grace we can fix that.  It is my prayer and my hope that God will reveal to us just how He wants us to be to others.  I have a feeling it doesn't look like what we've thought it to look like all of this time.  Let's be willing to listen.  Let's be willing to change.  Let's be willing to accept the call before it's too late.

Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of the varied grace of God.  Whoever speaks, let it be with God's words.  Whoever serves, do so with the strength that God supplies, so that in everything God will be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever.  Amen.  1 Peter 4:10-11 (NET)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 28 - 31 Goal Met...Sort Of

Well, I ventured out on a limb hoping to take a few moments each day during the month of October and write on my blog.  It didn't work out exactly like that, but I sure was able to write more than I have before.  And I really enjoyed it.  For my final post of the month, I have a ton I could write about.  So much has happened over the last few days of this month, but I think I will camp out on this...

Human nature is a funny thing.  You think ya know someone until they do something that absolutely throws you into a tailspin.  Human emotions are another funny thing.  We as humans experience such a wide range of emotions.  And anything can trigger one or more of these emotions.  And while I like to blame others for hurting me and blame circumstances for bringing negative emotions into my mind and heart, it's really all the work of the devil himself.  He manipulates and micro-manages every aspect of our life in hopes of bringing us down for one very specific defame and taint the glorious name of Jesus.  He does everything he can to keep us from giving honor and credit to God.  He would also like to see us have nothing to do with God in our own lives so when we start to get closer to Jesus, he kicks it up a notch or two.

I couldn't have been reminded of this more over the course of this past weekend.  There were times I was staring the enemy straight in the face.  And there was a situation that occurred where it seemed he, the enemy, won the battle.  Life is a story.  And just like with all stories, there is an ending.  And as a follower of Christ, I already know the ending.  My God wins.  The enemy will be destroyed forever and I'll get to spend eternity in the presence of God.  Just THAT in and of itself is worth the fight.  In the meantime, I will strive to keep my mind on things above, not on earthly things.  For this life is temporary.  And all hurt and sadness is momentary.  Each moment that brings us hurt and pain is actually achieving for us a goal of eternal glory that makes every hardship worth the challenge.  So, today, I will fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is unseen is eternal.  And that, my friends, is what I want...eternity with my Jesus.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 26 & 27 Hallelujah Anyhow!

It is crazy busy around here, but we have some great things going on.  I love music, and I know I just posted a song.  But this one is great, too.  It explains where my heart is these days.  Plus, I am so excited about the Women's Walk to Emmaus that is happening this weekend.  This song explains perfectly what God did for me as a result of my Walk.  This video, too, was recorded in my home state of Louisiana at Angola Prison.  Go God.  Enjoy...

Hallelujah Anyhow

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 25 Friend Of A Wounded Heart

This post is dedicated to those who would rather hide behind their fake "fines," their shallow "hellos," and their "on the surface" conversations.  Sometimes it's just easier to keep our lives to ourselves because it's just too exhausting to tell someone else our problems.  It's even harder if we have trust issues.  For all of you who'd rather crawl under a rock than expose the "real you," this post is for you.  When you get tired of smiling as to convince others that you are really happy, when you get tired of saying you're fine when you're not, when you get tired of trying to fill the empty longing in your soul...listen to this and be reminded.  No one is a friend like Jesus, the One True Friend Of A Wounded Heart.  Enjoy...

Friend Of A Wounded Heart

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 24 Things To Remember

Being a mom of 3 is C.R.A.Z.Y.  Life is so busy.  I have to remind myself to stop and go to the bathroom.  If my head was attached to my body, I would lose it several times a day.  And most of the time, life gets so hectic, I don't know if I should scratch my watch or wind my butt.  Crude, I know.  But who doesn't love the movie Steele Magnolias?!  In the craziness of life, this is what I hope I will forever keep in mind.

1.  To set my mind on things above, not on earthly things.
2.  To let the peace of Christ rule in my heart.
3.  To let the word of Christ dwell in me richly.

Colossians 3:2-3, 15-16

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 23 He Hears Me

One thing is for certain in my mind today...God hears our prayers.  He really does.  He may not answer in the amount of time we'd like Him to and He may not give us the answer we want.  But He hears us and He answers us according to His perfect timing and His perfect will for our lives in this world.  He is so good, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude today as I thank Him for answering my cries.  Oh, how He loves us so!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This Is Truly Riveting

Because I have some time and since I'm feeling rather spunky, I thought I'd share a bit of life with you just for kicks and giggles.  This burst of writer's enthusiasm comes on the heels of reading a rather fun(ny) blog where the author actually used the phrase kicks and giggles, and I just knew I HAD to use that phrase too.  And the word riveted.  Don't ya just love that word?  So, be excited.  The use of that word could come at any moment.  Be looking for it.

Anyhoo, back to life sharing with ya.  I've been on hiatus from the blog since this past week has been one of those weeks.  So, just so you'll know what those actually means, here is what's been goin' on 'round hea'.  Monday, I cleaned the house.  This was monumental since a strange lookin' forest was growing in our toilets, and I'm pretty sure my husband was writing obscenities with his finger in the thick dust on our furniture.  Tuesday, I had a Bible study/Book Club at my house.  This was truly a highlight of the week.  One of my friends stayed after to give me my very first sewing lesson.  I've never been more excited to make cloth napkins seeing how my family won't even know what to do with them once they're made.  They've only seen the white disposable ones 'round hea'.  Wednesday was a ball o' fun as I tackled the laundry and balanced the checkbook.  (I know so far you find this all so...well...quite riveting.  Whoop, there it is!)  Thursday, hang on to your seats, yaw, but I spent the day with the cable guy.  This was truly the highlight of my week since every time he bent down to work on our TV, I had an overwhelming urge to yell at the top of my lungs, SAY NO TO CRACK!  (Let me pause here for those who need a few extra moments to let that last sentence soak in.)  Stay with me, people.  This is real life stuff, here.  Seriously, I can't even make this stuff up if I wanted to.  Friday was a half-day for my first-born.  He got to witness me go off on a Walgreen's employee only to have to witness me have to apologize to her later for my rude-ness.  Nothing like a big ol' piece of Humble Pie.  And the highlight of all highlights happened Friday evening.  I was enjoying a lovely evening outside with the fam when lo and behold!  A Britney Spears song came on the radio.  To say I got my groove on is really puttin' it lightly, people.  I mean...I was shakin' my tail feather.  My 4-year-old was riding his bike and he pulled up right next to me and said, "Mom, I don't like what you're doing.  It weirds me out."

And that's all I got, friends.  I'm sure you all feel lots of smartness after reading all dat.  So, feel free to go and change the world now that you've been inspired.  I hope this clears up any concerns you might have had for my absence last week.  I hope to be back in the game this week.  (And the whole world just had a collective sigh of relief.)


Day 17-22 The Slacker

Well, it has been one of those weeks.  I could give you a long detailed excuse as to why I've been absent for the entire week.  But who cares, right?  The truth's been busy, it's been good, but writing on this blog has been one of the last things I've been able to get to this week.  Who knew being a mom of three could be so busy?  Grin.

I truly don't have much to say today.  I'm thankful for a weekend with my family.  Today we celebrate my baby sister's birthday.  And I'm looking forward to watching college football with my hubs all afternoon and evening.  The biggest lesson the Lord is teaching me these days is that He does not work like a checklist.  I often think that if I do this, this and this, then He'll finally send His grace and love.  But that's just not how He works.  His grace and love come as a continuous supply.  I never once deserve it.  And thank goodness He doesn't wait until I do.  Each day is a gift and everything good in my life is a grace gift from Him.  Have a great weekend, friends.  Maybe I can be a better dedicated blogger this week.  :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 16 The Well

This morning my pastor asked the following question...

Why is it that the very thing we need the most is the very thing we are most afraid of receiving?

The world has deceived us.  The American Dream has deceived us.  The enemy has deceived us.  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life."  Some of us spend our lives running.  Some of us spend our lives miserable.  Some of us spend our lives feeling empty.  We overcompensate by taking our buckets to a dry well, dropping them down into the hole, only to have the bucket scrape the bottom of the well and come up without a single drop of water.  We continue throughout our lives in a constant state of thirst traveling from one dry well to the other.  Jesus said, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters."

News flash, friend.  You need Him.  He loves you.  Don't be afraid.  Come to the well of the Living Water.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 15 Lessons

Well, it's Saturday and around here, it's been a Saturday full of lessons. Lessons being taught.  Lessons being learned. 

I nearly went into a full blown depression the week my first-born started kindergarten.  It was hard for me to accept how fast he was growing, but my biggest challenge was letting him go.  I knew how his heart would be corrupted.  I was very aware at how quickly he would learn about cruelty and teasing.  I feared the pressure he would feel to fit in and make good grades.  My little perfectionist boy, I knew, would be heartbroken the first time he didn't make a 100 % on a test.  And every fear I had has come true.  Today served up a big reminder of how corruptable the world really is.  After a minor blow up in an outlet store and a "I'm gonna spank you in front of God and everyone if you don't get over here" threat in another store, I could easily fall into a lump of defeat on my living room floor.

How sweet is our Father's voice! I'm thankful for His gentle reminders of grace, forgiveness and love. I'm reminded that I wouldn't have a good understanding of God's peace, His convictions, His forgiveness, and most importantly, His love, if it weren't for all the times in my own life where I failed miserably time and time again. We enter this world lost, and I pray my sweet child will very soon understand that although he lives in a lost world as a lost soul, there is One who came to save and has overcome the world. I pray that as his mom, I can help my boy see his real need for Jesus. And the lessons taught and learned today, hopefully, pointed straight to Him.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 14 Remember to Rely

It is Friday.  I am thankful.  I am tired.  God is stronger.  I was reminded this morning to rely on God always.  As mothers, we get so busy and overwhelmed with life.  We often forget our God is a prayer away.  Actually, He's there without us asking for Him.  He offers His help without us having to ask.  But how often we fail to recognize His provisions!  And I'm bad about remembering how important it is to rely on Him especially when the goin' gets tough.  I hope this weekend you will find rest, relaxation, laughter, and love.  Remember all things good come from above.  And our God is Ever Present.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 13 Reality Bites

Remember that movie from the 90s called Reality Bites?  I never really watched the entire movie but I sure loved the soundtrack.  There is so much truth to that short statement.  Reality DOES bite...sometimes like a mean ol' pit bull.  I've been reminded lately that life isn't always perfect.  In fact, it rarely is.  My life is really good.  I have absolutely no reason to complain but every now and then, reality bites and the storm clouds come rollin' in.  The truth is not everyone is going to like me.  I'm going to disappoint and hurt the people I love.  I'm going to be gossiped about and I'm going to gossip about someone else (although I really HATE when I do that).  My kids are going to get in trouble at school.  I'm going to say a curse word once-in-a-while.  Money will be tight.  The weight will have a hard time coming off.  And I'll burn dinner badly enough we'll all have to eat pb&j sandwiches.  But God never promised that life would be easy.  He warns us in Scripture that "in this life you will have trouble."  I believe the lessons in life come down to one thing.  The issue is when reality DOES bite, what do I do with the dog?  It's tempting to kick the dog and lock it away in the dog house.  But that never eliminates the problem.  Life will bring problems.  Life will have its share of storms.  But what do YOU do when it starts to rain?  Do you complain about getting wet OR do you praise Him in the storm? 

Lord, I want to learn to praise You in the storm.  I want to learn to be grateful for when times are good and grateful for when times are bad.  And when this life brings me trouble, help me to keep my eyes on what is eternal.  Remind me what your Scripture says.  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is unseen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 12 Choosing Thankfulness

Recently, I saw a movie where a father lost his daughter in a car crash.  It was tough watching this man agonize over the death of his daughter.  Especially since I've recently had a daughter of my own.  The father of this little girl reached a breaking point and needed the counseling of his pastor.  The father asked his pastor how he could get past all of the hurt and anger over losing his only 9-year-old daughter.  The pastor said, "Well, you have a choice.  You can either be grateful for the time you had with your daughter.  Or you can be angry about the time you don't."  That statement, I'm sure, is quite easier to say than do.  But there is so much truth in it.  It was just a handful of years ago that I lost my own father.  He didn't die.  But he chose to walk away from our family.  He and my mother divorced after 33 years of marriage and since then, he's had next to nothing to do with me, my husband or my children - his very own grandchildren.  Although he hasn't died, in a lot of ways, it has felt like a death.  Having him in our lives one minute only for him to be gone forever in the next.  I've spent a lot of time during these past few years being quite angry over time lost.  It's been very sad for me to realize all of those dreams I had of my dad being around during holidays and family birthdays...the dreams I had as a little girl of my children crawling all over his lap the way I did in my own grandfather's lap...may never come to be true.  It's easy to be selfish and to wallow around in the anger that comes from not having things go the way I planned them.  But today I choose to be thankful.  Today, I choose to praise God for all of the wonderful memories I have of my father.  He was a good dad to me when he was around, and I sure miss him. 

Thank you, Father, for giving me all of those years as a daddy's girl.  And although I've always been Your little girl, too, I couldn't be more grateful, Jesus, that today I can sit in Your lap and experience a love I never knew until recently from my Heavenly Daddy.

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  AND BE THANKFUL." -Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 11 - Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - It's 5:00 Somewhere

It is 4:55 p.m. at my house which only means one thing.  I. Am. Exhausted.  We just finished two rounds of homework (1 round/kid).  We still have a football game to attend.  And I have no idea what I'm going to do about supper.  So, whatta ya do?!  Does anybody else have a hard time with this time of the day?  I pray I'm not the only one who seriously considers eating my young as 5:00 approaches.  It's something about this time of day that seems to bring out the worst in me and my kids.  Patience is gone.  Kids are hungry.  Baby is crying.  Cooking dinner seems like an inconceivable task.  Blah blah blah, right?  And then I remember what HE says.  "My grace is sufficient for you.  For my power is made perfect in weakness."  It is upon that realization that I can let go of the rope, loosen my jaw, put a smile on my face, and take things one moment at a time.  God's grace truly does amaze me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 9&10 - Sunday, October 9 & Monday, October 10, 2011 - A False Sense of Security

Yesterday was Sunday.  It was wonderful to be back with my church family.  Since having our 3rd baby, it's been hit and miss on Sunday mornings.  I finally feel like our family is in more of a routine and it makes me feel happy.  Another thing that makes me feel happy is my brand new planner.  Recently I ordered a month-at-a-glance calendar that can also be used as a notebook and doodle pad.  The best part about it is that it came with...y'all aren't going to believe this....seriously, so cool....ya ready to know?  Wait for it...STICKERS!  There are stickers for hair appointments, dentist and doctor appointments, manis and pedis, birthday parties, and so many more.  I special ordered this planner so that the cover would include our family name.  You have no idea how my heart filled with joy when I saw our family's last name printed on the cover with the cutest design you've ever seen.  Having this planner made me feel happy, organized, secure.

Stay with me, here, and walk with me through this crazy train of thought.  Having a brand new planner (and an organized pantry) make me feel secure.  If my life feels in order then I feel secure.  I know in my head that it is a false sense of security, but that doesn't really matter to me.  My heart almost skips a beat each time I lay my eyes on that new (and most adorable) planner.  Can you imagine what I would do if I had a label gun?!  Oh Lord Almighty!  Don't give me a label gun!!!  I thought recently that if a brand new planner gives me a silly false sense of security, then what else do I let give me false senses of security or false anything... just fill in the blank.  We do this so often as humans.  We place our security, our sense of worthiness, our dependency on an object, person, and/or relationship.  I've done this so many times in my life.  And I want so desperately to put all of my trust, all of my dependency in the One who is the only Source of Strength and Dignity.  Jesus.  Jesus is IT.  He is where to go for validation, self-worth, security, and most importantly... love.

What about you?  Anybody else out there love the feeling that comes with being organized?  Don't even get me started on brand new school supplies.  Oh my!  The smell of new pencils, the smell of the markers, the sound of flipping through a brand new notebook.  Hallelujah, y'all.  This is living!  ;)  Lord, help me!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 8 - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - S.A.T.U.R.D.A.Y.

It's Saturday and my brain is officially on vaca.  As I struggled this morning with what to write about, the Lord reminded me that it is totally okay to take a day to simply...chill. the. heck. out.  And that's what I'm choosing to do today.  Hallelujah and bless God for setting me free to enjoy spending a little extra time in my pj's, to letting me be okay with the kids fixing their own pop tart breakfast, to enjoy an extra cup of coffee, and to soak up the sweetness that comes with spending a Saturday morning surrounded by my family.  As women, we feel guilty sometimes when we don't feel up every second with something that involves, cleaning, wiping, or cooking.  I believe the enemy loves to see us fill up our time with "stuff" just so that we don't spend time with our family, don't invest into the life of a dear friend, and his personal favorite, we don't pray or read God's Word.  Today, I'm going to enjoy my family.  And if the kitchen gets messy or the laundry piles up, it won't matter.  Thank you, Father, for my family.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 6&7 - Thursday, October 6 & Friday, October 7 - RESET

I am a child of the 80s.  And while I have fond memories of playing with my Cabbage Patch dolls and finding new charms to add to my totally rad plastic charm necklace collection, nothing makes me feel more connected to my childhood than thinking back on all the times I played Atari.  Nothing beats it, right?  Not even a pair of brand new hightops with velcro straps.  I loved playing Atari.  Pac Man, Miss Pac Man, Pole Position, Centipede, you name it, we probably had it.  And I would play until my eyes bulged out of my head with my mother screaming, "If you don't turn that thing off, I'm gonna ..."  Ahhh, sweet memories.

Yesterday, when I couldn't get online because the Internet was down...all day.  And the night before, I was so tired after making dinner that all I wanted to do was sit down in the kitchen floor and just cry or scream or both.  And after putting my children to bed on that same night, I felt like such an epic failure as a mother since I didn't spend enough time with my kids that day, didn't read to them enough, didn't smile enough, wasn't patient enough, didn't express my love enough, and the list could just keep going...I was reminded of the Atari.

Not that I'm psychotically competitive or anything, but when I would play Atari and the game was not heading in the direction I would like, what did this honest, hard working girl do?  Did I keep playing and accept defeat?  No no no no!  I would simply reach out my sweet little index finger, gently place it on the Atari console, and slap the heck out of that reset button.  YES!  THE RESET BUTTON!  What a brilliant idea!!  Anytime things weren't going my way, I could just hit the reset button and all my insecurities of failure would be wiped away.  Such sweet relief. 

Sometimes I wish life would be that simple, ya know?  When things aren't going the way you want them to, wouldn't it be nice to just hit the reset button?  Act like nothing happened and start all over from scratch? 

At the end of the day, a day where maybe we've just completely blown it, Jesus is our reset button.  When I put my head down on the pillow at night, and all I feel like doing is melting into a puddle of defeat and guilt, He's there.  He looks at me and simply points to the reset button.  On the days you've set your expectations a little too high for yourself, remember there is only One who mastered the stress of life.  Is He your Master?  Don't let defeat keep you from Him.  Re-set.  And reset.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 5 - Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - The Stinky Stomp

When I was a little girl, something awful started stinkin' up my bedroom.  At first, it started out as an unusual odor.  Then, with each passing day, the smell got stronger and stronger.  It didn't take my parents long to realize something, like an animal, must have died outside near my part of the house.  My dad ventured outside to claim the smelly prize and came back empty handed.  Since our house was raised off of the ground, he came quickly to the conclusion that the dead animal must be under the house.  My instructions were simple.  My dad told me to go to the spot in my room where the stinky smell was the strongest.  And then I was to stomp my foot as loud as I could at that very spot.  He would then follow the sound of my stomp and hopefully find the smelly culprit.  It worked!  After stomping VERY loudly (you can imagine how a 6-year-old would love this daddy-given task), he found it...a cat.  You would think a deceased kitten would upset me, but I was thrilled.  Not because the cat was dead, but because the smell was finally gone.  I felt like I had been given a gift.  My room quickly smelled again of my mom's favorite cinnamon potpourri.  It smelled like home again.

And then it occurred to me.  Every bad decision I have made, every example of defiance, every act of disobedience has created an unbearable odor in my heart.  At first, when the path to destruction is slow and gradual, the consequences of our decisions don't seem as bad.  In fact, some of them are quite bearable.  But overtime, just like the stench of a dead animal under a house, the consequences become too much.  For some of us, we get in over our head.  We start to drown in a sea of destruction and despair.  And because our God loves us beyond comprehension, He does just like I did for my dad.  He stands over us, stomping His foot.  In our hearts, He goes to the worst spot He can find and stomps VERY loudly until we hear Him.  That's how He reveals Himself.  But do we actually hear Him?  Do you hear His stomping in your life?  Or have you put your fingers in your ears like a child and refused to listen to His voice?  His stomping foot, His voice is not there to reprimand you.  He just wants you back.  Just like a child playing a silly game of hide-and-seek with dad, He's waiting for you to jump out of your hiding place and run to Him with arms open.  Go, friend.  It's time.  Get your fingers out of your ears, come out of your hiding place, and run.  Run to Him.  He's there.  Waiting and wanting you. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 4 - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - God's Red Rover Team

I remember sitting in a small group Bible study one summer being suddenly struck with inspiration.  It was almost overwhelming.  The urgency was so strong I didn't really know what to do with it.  It was in that moment where I realized my calling in life was much bigger than anything I could do on my own.  I became so excited realizing that God had something very special for me to do.  I felt selected, chosen, like when the really cool kid at school selects YOU to be on his Red Rover team...but it felt even better than that.  Can you imagine?!  I remember thinking things were about to get interesting.  I remember even telling some of my friends, with tears in my eyes and my heart pounding as I spoke, how I felt the calling of God on my life.  And then?  That was it.  It was like reaching the top of the highest peak on a roller coaster ride and just staying there.  And there is where I have stayed for most of the time since.  But now I am beginning to think that is just where God wants me.  I think sometimes we equate a special calling of God on our lives to something major, monumental, or life-altering.  We think in terms of selling all of our possessions and moving across the world to live in grass huts and share Christ with the natives day in and day out.  And YES, praise God for those who do just THAT.  But for most of us, that is not in the cards for us.  Each day, I realize God's calling has everything to do with just where I am.  It includes telling my boys about how much Jesus loves them and encouraging them to show the love of Christ by simply taking a batch of cookies to a neighbor.  Or it must be honoring to the Lord when I rock my baby girl and tell her how much she is loved by her King while singing a song about it in her ear while she sleeps.  Or what about the people that surround me everywhere I go everyday?  Anywhere you look there are hurting people around us that just need a smile or someone to make them feel valued.  Isn't that sharing the Gospel, too?  Little by little the Lord is showing me that I can fulfill my calling...the very calling He gave me in that small group Bible study on that hot summer day...right where I am.  And honestly, as I realize that more and more each day, I get pretty excited about it.

Did you know you have a calling of God on your life?  Ask the Father to reveal it to you.  He will and you might be surprised in learning He's had this calling on you for a while now.  He's just waiting for us to figure it out.  Let's not wait any longer.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 3 - Monday, October 3, 2011 - The Decisions I Make

When she was a little girl, all she cared about was climbing magnolia trees and watching fireworks at the 4th of July picnic.  Her world was filled with baby dolls, Mars Bars, and swimming with her friends each and every summer.  She never knew of hate crimes, human monsters or betrayal.  Until that night.  The night where she learned of her father's unfaithfulness.  It was in that moment where every ounce of innocence was shattered and everything she knew about trust and commitment was forever altered.  I wonder if we parents really know the significance behind each choice we make.  Even as a "big girl," my life is still impacted by choices my parents make.  So, if that is true for me, then I know it is true for my own children.  As a mother, I pray the Lord will help me teach my children more than just who He is.  He is so much more than a Biblical figure we celebrate at Christmas and Easter.  He is the Redeemer.  The Restorer.  The Healer.  And He wants all of His children.  All of them.  He doesn't want even one to be left behind.  He wants everyone of them with Him for eternity.  I know I will fail just as my own parents failed me a time or two.  But I have the power to teach my children about Jesus' forgiveness and the restoration that takes place within the relationship I have with Him.  And He wants that with each of them, as well.  There's no greater lesson than that.  "Our very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at them.  Christ, Himself, wrote it.  Not with ink but with God's Living Spirit.  Not chiseled into stone but carved into human lives.  And we publish it."  -2 Corinthians 3:3 (The MSG)

Day 2 - Sunday, October 2, 2011 - Fame

The American Dream is deceptive.  For those of us born into this country, we've forever been encouraged to pursue the American Dream.  That if you want it bad enough, you can have it.  But for those of us who have spent a large portion of our lives pursuing that dream, we still come out feeling empty.  The Dream deceives us each time.  It never delivers what it promises.  I've realized only recently that I've been chasing after the wrong dream.  We were created for something greater.  And each one of us, at conception, was given a very specific task, a purpose.  We are to spend our lives fulfilling that purpose and the purpose does not include gaining wealth or notoriety.  It does include fame, though.  Not fame for ourselves but fame for the One who created us and gave us our individual objective.  My purpose is to make Jesus' name famous.  I don't have a business plan that outlines how to do that step by step.  Each day, I surrender my soul to Him and ask Him to show me the way to fame.  His fame.  Making His name known.  "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." -Mark 16:15

31 Days To Strength & Dignity

For the next 31 days, I am going to write.  I am simply going to take a few minutes each day to just...write.  I'm not sure what I will say.  My only hope is that my words on the screen will reflect the transformation I am asking the Lord to do in my heart.  Since today is October 3, I will backtrack to Saturday, October 1st, in an effort to align my writings with each day of October.  Proverbs 31 says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity."  That is my hope.  By the end of this month, Father please, help me to find my strength and dignity, the kind that only You can give.  And by the way, I stole this idea from another blogger I like to read on a regular basis.  She is such an amazing writer.  You can check her out at

Day 1 - Saturday, October 1, 2011- A True Friend
Rejection is a big gun.  If someone significant in your life has rejected you, that heartache never goes away.  No matter how far you have to go back, if someone you loved and trusted dearly walks out of your life, you never forget that pain.  It always stays fresh.  And when someone else comes along and rejects you again, it's like ripping the scab right off an old wound.  Those feelings of betrayal, sadness, and fear come flooding in like a rushing river.  But when this happened to me recently, I was reminded that people often fail you, but God never does.  And that was all I needed in that moment.  Assurance that Jesus is my friend.  Jesus will always be my friend.  And even after all of the times I have rejected Him in my life, He kept on pursuing me, never giving up, and always wanting me.  No one is a friend like Jesus.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mean Girls Stink

I wonder what it would take for us women to stop hurting each other so much.  I wonder what would happen if we all just decided we'd had enough and instead of looking for ways to harm one another, we'd start looking for ways to lift one another up.  I don't know about you, but whenever I participate in gossip even with my own husband, I always feel terrible afterwards.  I hate how being mean makes me feel about myself.  And I hate even more how much I disappoint my God.  Next time when you're tempted to...

1.  walk past someone you know without speaking, make eye contact and offer a smile at the very least even and ESPECIALLY if you don't feel like it.  (CAN WE PLEASE STOP LETTING OUR "FEELINGS" DICTATE OUR ACTIONS?!)

2.  gossip, just stop and just don't.  It's wrong.  It's sinful.  It hurts.

3.  retaliate, pray first.  This isn't God's style.  And if you are a child of God, then it shouldn't be your style either.

4.  give someone a piece of your mind, think before you speak.  Our words are our biggest weapon.  We have the power to build up or cut down in just a matter of seconds.

5.  show your tail, stop and remind yourself about the example you are setting.  Do you really think today's junior high girls invented gossip?!  They learned from someone...YOU and ME.

Today's lesson...mean girls stink!!  Don't be a mean girl!!  Let's be who Jesus created us to be.  If you don't know what that looks like, just ask Him.  He'll show you.  Join me, please.  I want to make my Father proud.  If you need a friend because all of yours are just plain mean, let me know.  I would be honored to call you friend.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Need a good read?

Every now and then I come across a book that is so good I want the whole world to know about it.  And I want everyone I know to read it.  Then, I have fantasies on us all getting together in true Book Club fashion spending hours talking about "this" book that has totally rocked our worlds.  Because it's just THAT good.  Well, friends, I am reading one of "those" books...again.  It's called "Grace for the Good Girl" by Emily P. Freeman.  If you are a reader and/or are intrigued by the title, please stop by this author's website and view the promo on her new book.  There is also a place for you to sign up to win a free copy.  Go to her website by clicking...


Happy Reading, y'all!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Case of the Crazies

Here's a nugget of real life that I'm embarrassed to admit but realize somebody, somewhere out there might relate.  It's a classic case of absurdity meets truth, and it also will give all who read this an accurate viewpoint of just how insane I really am.  I still believe, though, that much is to be learned by us all sharing life with one another.  And who knows?  Perhaps through my case of the crazies, I might be in some way saving someone else from themselves.  Here it is...

Recently, one of my children achieved a huge milestone in his/her life.  When this happened everyone in our household celebrated and thanked the Almighty God for this HUGE accomplishment.  I wanted to shout it from the mountaintops.  I wanted all to know what my perfect and brilliant child had achieved.  Being the humble person that I am, I only shared the news with about 50 people and thought that was okay since I could've posted the news on facebook and even have sent a press release to the local newspaper.  See, people, humility. 

Well, last night, this prodigy child of mine relapsed.  You can imagine my shock.  I was sure this was something we had overcome, but I was sadly mistaken.  We were right back where we had been for so many weeks.  As I was sitting with my kid during this difficult moment of falling off the wagon, I heard the voice.  (Oh, come on!!  You have voices in your head, too.  Admit it!!)  The voice that told me if I would've just kept my mouth shut about my child's success this never would've happened.  This voice had the nerve to tell me that this was God's way of punishing me since pride cometh before a fall.  And if I would've kept this information to myself God would've allowed me to have continued success.  But since I didn't, our Heavenly Father (still the voice talking) decided having this much good luck was just not in the cards for me. 

Then, and just as quickly as I heard those ridiculous words uttered to me, God Almighty's voice rang like a bell in my ears.  He made it clear that that is NOT how He operates.  In fact, think about this for a moment with me.  If our God operated that way, then all that love and stuff He obsessively mentions in His Word would mean nothing.  And let's not forget that no where in Scripture does it say, "Thou, Oh Lord, is a Cause and Effect Kind Of God." 

The truth is all the good in my life has come from God.  And of course, I deserve none of it.  But He loves pouring out His love on His children.  The most important reminder I got from all of this was that if I think I have to prove myself to Him just to get Him to allow good things to happen in my life, then my thinking goes against everything in regards to the Cross.  I mean...isn't that why God sent Jesus and allowed Him to die on the cross?  So that through His resurrection I would be forgiven and set free from all of my sins and failures?  Jesus loves showing out in our lives.  And when He does we should be quick to give Him all of the credit...even when it comes to the achievements of our children.  But when people fail us (yes, even our kiddos), it's not because we have failed God.  That's just not how He works.  In my life, when times get tough, it is almost always because the Lord is trying to teach me something about Him and/or help someone else learn a lesson or two about His sovereignty.

So, there you go.  Welcome to Crazy Town where I am officially the Mayor.  My mind is full of all kind of weird things.  Seriously, if I shared just a few of them, you would be afraid.  Very afraid.  But praise God.  Because in this moment, my absurdity met the Truth.  And the Truth set me free. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Big Like a Hurricane. Small Like a Gnat.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." -1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV)

Life is full of trials.  This we all know.  Our trials come in many shapes and sizes and come like waves in and out through the many seasons of life.  It's funny to me how we find our strength.  When a trial of epic proportion hits our lives, we muster up strength we didn't know we had, and although the pain is deep, we somehow make it through the hurricane and look back and realize that wasn't as hard as we thought it would be.  Then, little trials hit our lives.  Little and obnoxious trials that feel and sound like a gnat flying around in our ear.  Sometimes it's the little trials that really get under our skin.  Sometimes the little trials cause us to throw ourselves on the floor and throw a temper tantrum that makes a three year old's tantrum look like a cute gesture compared to ours.  Either way, a trial is a trial and God's Word guarantees us that life is full of them.  But the Lord is clear on how we should handle them.  We are to rejoice and know that each trial increases our faith which is worth more than gold.

Dear Father,
As a mother of three, I am always tired.  My exhaustion is nothing in comparison to what you felt and faced on the cross.  In this phase of life, my trials are in the form of sleep deprivation and frustration as a result of adjusting to life with three kids.  Help me to remember today that when I'm tempted to throw myself on the floor kicking and screaming to instead throw myself upon You.  Give me the strength to rejoice when times get hard and to be ever mindful of my ever growing and ever changing faith.  Just like my faith, You, Father, are worth more than gold.  And I want more of you.  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A New Adventure

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4

Dear Father,
Tomorrow our lives will be forever changed...again.  Tomorrow, we will welcome and embrace our 3rd child, a precious little girl that you have entrusted us to love and raise.  As I go into tomorrow, my emotions are all over the place.  There is a bittersweet feeling that comes with the ending of this phase of our lives and the beginning of a new path you have already predetermined for our family.  I place every feeling I am having now and will have between now and tomorrow at your feet.  I ask you to take over and do what you do best.  It is such a relief AND a huge fear to know that I am not in control, that you and you alone, will determine what tomorrow holds for us.  So, as we begin this journey with our 3rd child, our very 1st daughter, I give it all to you and ask you to have your way. 

This world has so many views and expectations of women.  I ask that our little girl will find her identity and value in you, Jesus, her Savior.  I pray that as she grows up in this home, that she will experience you everyday and that her daddy and me would reflect you in our lives everyday.  And when we mess up, because we know that we will, that you will be quick to convict so that as her parents we can show her the miraculous and healing power of your forgiveness.  May she always know that you want a relationship with her, that you are the only one who can fill the voided areas of her life.  That she will realize early on what you did for her on that cross and that she will want to spend her days loving you, serving you, honoring you, and telling others about what you've done for her and them.  Protect her from the ways of the world.  Help her to overcome temptation.  And when she fails, Father, come out of Heaven for her, scoop her up, dust her off, and embrace her so that she knows you will always love her and that there is nothing she can do that is unforgivable.  Help her to know that every step she takes in this life is part of the plan you have for her life and that her history and destiny are rooted in the same...Jesus Christ.  May we as her parents teach her and show her that there is so much more to you than rules, than church, than Sunday School, than VBS, than youth camps, than mission trips.  Yes, all of those things are important and will give her fundamental facts and information that she will need in her walk with you.  But what really matters is the interaction between her heart and yours.

I pray that as her mother, I can teach her what it means to be a woman of noble character.  I pray that the love I have for you and your word will be contagious to her and that she will catch it and it will spread like wild fire in her heart.  I pray that she will see early the importance of knowing your word and hiding it in her heart.  And as I take pride in taking care of our home and my children, that she will see the tremendous value in being the caretaker and caregiver of her future home. 

I pray that she becomes a daddy's girl from the moment she enters this world.  That she will know right away how much her daddy loves her and how much he wants her.  I pray that you would help her daddy to teach her how to be loved by a man.  That he will be able to instill in her a sense of value and worthiness.  That she will learn from him how to be loved by a husband and what to expect from her husband.  I pray that he can teach her to be strong and to make smart decisions.  And when the time is appropriate, help him to help her understand that it is good and ok to be a butt-kicking woman as long as her actions reflect you.  I pray that from me she will learn how to be a lady full of class and grace.  I pray that she will honor you by taking care of and covering up her body.  And as her parents, shield us from putting too high of expectations on her and never once allow us to live vicariously through her and her two brothers.  You have a plan for her life.  Use us to only guide her to and through that plan.

For her future husband, Father, protect him wherever he is.  I realize he may not even be born yet, but you know who he is.  Raise him up to be a man of God, one who loves you, seeks you, and honors you with every ounce of his being.  Lord, protect our girl from those who want to cause her harm.  I know you've already assigned a guardian angel to her side for I have felt that throughout this pregnancy.  Please allow that angel to always be by her side and to shield her from any danger that comes her way.  Ultimately, Father, she is yours.  She belonged to you, first.  You created her.  She is merely on loan to her daddy and me.  Help us to take our role as her parents very seriously.  Lead, guide and direct us every step of the way.

Thank you for our grace gift, our precious baby girl.  We love you and are ready to take this adventure with you, Jesus.  It's in your name I ask all these things, Amen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hey! You're sitting in my pew!!

I can't seem to get past a statement I heard a pastor say last week.  He said, "It's all fun and games until it costs me something."  He, being a pastor, was of course directing this statement to the people of his church.  And after hearing it, I started asking myself what that exactly meant to me and how did it apply to my church.  Our Sunday School class was discussing it NOT in great detail but just kind of tossing the idea around, and I, without hesitation, got on my soap box.  (I hate when I do that.)  But I have to admit that the thoughts I had swirling around in my head pertaining to this particularly statement were not new thoughts to me.  In fact, I had been thinking about this...not knowing really what I was thinking about...for a while now.

In regards to church and in regards to Christianity, in general, don't we do this ALL of the time?  I mean...aren't we okay with something until it starts costing us something?  Like our time and/or our money?  For example, we'll keep attending the same church week in and week out UNTIL we show up one Sunday and someone's sitting in our pew.  Or God forbid, someone has parked in our parking spot.  Or what about the Sundays when your pastor presents a challenge to you?  Like for example, would you be willing to seek out one person this week and share Christ with him or her?  Wait!  What?!  You mean I actually have to talk to someone about my faith?

Please excuse my sarcasm and please know that I, more than anyone, have experienced all of these feelings and emotions when I've been asked to step out of my comfort zone as a Christian.  Haven't we all?  But something the Lord is really showing me lately is that we are ALL called to step out of our comfort zone.  If we call ourselves Christians...if we claim to be a follower of Christ....then it is our duty, our responsibility to "go and preach the Gospel to every creature."  (The Great Commission...Mark 16:15)  So many of us excuse ourselves from this responsibility by simply saying,

"Oh, that is not MY calling.  That's just not me.  I wouldn't know what to say.  Someone else can do that....share Christ with others.  Now, who do I make my check out to?"

See, it's quite easy to write a check or stick cash in an envelope.  And there are definitely times when God calls us to do just that.  There's nothing wrong with supporting missions or another person's ministry.  But if that's all we choose to do, then we really are missing the mark.  And I would be even bold to say that if that is all we choose to do, then we really aren't doing what Christ has called us to do.  You have a mission field right where you are...your home, your neighborhood, your job, your circle of friends.  Everywhere you go is an opportunity to be Christ and share Christ with someone else.  And it doesn't have to start with you hitting them upside their head with your Bible or putting a Gospel track in their hands.  It simply starts with a conversation, a friendship, a connection, a relationship.  Just remind yourself how Jesus first revealed Himself to you.  For me, He became my friend.  And slowly, overtime, He started filling voids in my life.  He became my Heavenly Daddy.  He became my Secret Keeper.  He became my Savior.  He became my Redeemer.

I don't know if any of this is making sense.  Heck, I'm still trying to make sense of it for myself.  I just know the Lord has a special calling on my life.  I have purpose.  SO DO YOU!  And that purpose is centered around telling the world about who He is and what He's done in my life so that He, too, can do the same in others.  Right now, my mission field is my home.  Tomorrow, the Lord may grow my mission field.  Until then, I will make Him proud with what He's given me.  Or I will try my hardest.  I may not ever go across the world to tell others about Christ, but then again, the Lord may call me to do just that one day.  You see?  I don't have to wait until He gives me specific orders.  He's already done that.  He did that on the day I surrendered my life to Him.  It became my duty, my responsibility, my calling to tell others about Him.  AND THE SAME IS TRUE FOR YOU!  As a follower of Christ, I am not my own.  And neither are you if that is what you call yourself and really mean it.

You've been commissioned.  What are you waiting for? 

"Your very lives are a letter that ANYONE can read by just LOOKING at you.  Christ himself wrote it - not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives - AND WE PUBLISH IT." -2 Corinthians 3:3 (The Message)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Rainbow After the Storm

Life was clicking on along.  Things seemed to be running pretty smooth.  Then, crisis struck.  In an instant, my world was rocked.  My fear was staring me dead in the face.  And my God never left my side.

In a nutshell, that is what the last couple of weeks have looked like in my life.  A couple of Saturdays ago, I tried to call my mother's cell phone and her dearest friend answered it letting me know my mother was in the ER at the local hospital.  My mother had a kidney stone that was too large to pass and had become infected.  Over the next 24 hours, my sister and I stood by my mother's side in the ICU and had to endure words like low blood pressure, sepsis, life support, and possible death.  My mother desperately needed a procedure where a stint would be put in in order to drain her infected kidney, but her blood pressure was entirely too low for her to undergo anesthesia.  Her body had also become septic.  The longer the sepsis stayed in her body, the higher the risk of her losing her life became.  As the anesthesiologist described it, "We were stuck between a rock and a hard place."  Mom's urologist delivered the difficult news.  After explaining to us what was going on in her body, I asked him, "What does this mean as far as putting her life in jeopardy?".  He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Either way, her life is in jeopardy."

There it was.  Out there for my sister and I to take in.  True life in the rawest of form.  As my sister and I went back into our mother's room in the ICU, Hannah, my sister, asked me to pray.  And I couldn't do it.  I was able to throw some words up.  I don't remember what they were.  And I'm pretty sure they didn't make it past the ceiling.  But in my heart, I didn't know what to say.  I couldn't put an intelligent sentence together.  All I knew was that I needed my mom.  At 61, I knew it was too soon for her life to end.  With that in mind, over and over in my heart, I begged the Lord, "Please, God, not now.  Please, Lord, this is too much.  Keep her alive, Father.  We need her."

And sometimes, friends, that's all it takes.  Just a few words.  And when life is too difficult to even muster up words, Jesus knows our hearts.  Romans 8:26 says, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."  And that is just what Jesus did for me.  He interceded to His Father, my God, on my mother's behalf.  Bless God.  The Lord heard our cries.  And my mother is now home.  Alive.  Recovering.  Healing.

It was a long road.  I tell you the truth.  After an interesting round of ICU psychosis, the physical effects of the big-gun antibiotics, and hearing loss in her left ear as a result of those big-gun antibiotics, my mother still has a ways to go before she's 100 percent.  But she's alive.  And as a result of this difficult time in our lives, we all love each other a little bit more, love our God a whole lot more, and were able to experience the overwhelming doses of the love He has for us.  That, to me, is what makes Him such a miraculous mix of mystery and beauty.  It is true.  There is so much purpose in crisis, as my favorite Bible teacher Beth Moore would say.  He, indeed, makes the rough places smooth.  He, indeed, walks through fire with us.  And He, indeed, never lets go.  We experienced a thunder storm of epic proportion in our lives, but we now know the beauty and miracles that come with the Rainbow at the end of the storm.  I will be forever grateful for that.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." -Lamentations 3:22-23

Thursday, April 28, 2011

E-Nuff Already!

So, if you read my blog post yesterday, I am so very sorry.  I must apologize because it was a moment in time where all the planets were revolving around Lindsey.  And although it felt good to emotionally regurgitate all over you, I am so thankful it is over.  The feelings have passed.  The Lord has moved and done His thing in my heart, and I feel so much better.  So much.

I remembered this morning my friend who has a 5-year-old daughter recovering in the hospital from pneumonia that nearly took her life.  I also recalled my friend who, only 2 months ago, had a brain tumor removed from her head.  As Mother's Day is approaching, I was reminded of my friend who had to bury her unborn child when she was only 6 months pregnant just 2 years ago.  And while I believe it is certainly okay to vent and throw ourselves Pity Parties once-in-a-while, I am struck with the fact that Jesus NEVER once complained about His set of circumstances.  Scripture doesn't offer us a dialogue between Jesus and His disciples where Jesus was emotionally purging all over His closest friends.  The disciples complained plenty but never Jesus.  Not once.

My friends I mentioned above have had to walk down horrible, hurtful paths in life.  Yet, they are some of the most incredibly positive people I know.  And if Jesus NEVER once vented about how mean everyone was treating Him, or how His feet were really hurting Him from all of the walking, or how ministering to others was really getting old, or the BIGGIE, complaining about His incurring death on a cross and the whole crucifixion thing, then can't I suck it up, myself?!  My life is good, y'all.  Real good.  And the Lord had His gentle way of reminding me of that yesterday in a way that only He could.

And today, I am grateful.  I am thankful.  I am joyful.  And I am so over myself. 

Dear Lord,
Your grace really does amaze me.  Your compassions really do not ever fail.  They really are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness.  Thank you for being my portion.  Thank you for being ever-present in my life.  Thank you for putting up with me and not giving up.  Thank you for your lessons.  Thank you for when life is good.  And thank you for when life is hard.  Help me to keep my eyes on what is unseen rather than what is seen.  For what is unseen is eternal, you, my Father.  And what is seen is so very temporary.  And praise you for that.  Today, Lord, set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the doors of my lips.  I ask this for when I speak to others and when I speak to myself.  I have always been my own worst enemy.  And nothing rocks my core more than buying into the lies I tell myself.  I hate that I'm so convincing.  Be the pursuer of my soul.  That way, everyone else is let off of the hook from having to do just that.  I love you so much, Abba.  In Jesus' Name-Amen.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..." -Isaiah 43:2-3a

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Confession of a Serious Drama Queen

Ok, I have a confession, and it's not going to surprise most of you...

I have had a rotten attitude.  Like Weezer in Steele Magnolias, I've been in a very bad mood for 40 years.  And I could go into a hyper-explanation as to why I've had this attitude, but I won't.  So, here are the highlights...

1.  I've been nauseated for 8 solid months, and it's really starting to get on my nerves.
2.  When I sneeze, I feel like my unborn child's elbow is going to pop out.
3.  I'm exhausted a lot....mostly, all of the time...No, all of the time.
4.  I've allowed small trivial things to discourage me and therefore, I feel burned out with most of my extra-curricular activities. 
5.  In the area of ministry, I've become discouraged.  I could go into the specific reasons as to why I feel discouraged, but I don't want to give the enemy any kind of satisfaction right now.  I am certainly NOT entitled to know ANYTHING that is going on in the spiritual realm and especially in the hearts of God's children.  I am certainly not.  These are just feelings and like all other feelings, it will pass. 
6.  I feel so dry...spiritually. 
7.  Personal "stuff" that has to do with relationships and insecurity has wo' me out.  I've let it do that.  I'm getting over it now.  The Lord, seriously, is really working there.  I'm just still reeling from it all.
8.  I need friends!!  Close friends who I can be me around.  Or at least, A friend.  The Lord has been so faithful in putting people in my path....just like I've asked Him.  But I've been too busy to notice because I've been too distracted with figuring out how they are going to benefit me.  It hasn't occurred to me, until now, to ask Him how I could honor Him by loving others.  Duh!!
9.  From a VERY superficial and physical standpoint, I feel like a freak of nature.  Pregnancy weight gain and the fact that my unborn child is measuring 1 to 2 weeks ahead of schedule is starting to stress me out.  Oh yea...and I still have 9 more weeks to go!!
10.  I'm depressed.  I believe, whole-heartedly, it's circumstantial and VERY temporary.  But I am.  I am absolutely certain that 95 percent of it can be attributed to pregnancy and hormones.  And when I feel this way, it spills over into ALL areas of my life....making everything look and feel rotten.  Hence, the rotten attitude.
**Honorable Mention goes to my Daddy Issues and all that encompasses.  Still.  So.  Seriously.  And.  Incredibly.  Jacked.  Up.

There, I feel much better.  I needed to emotionally purge.  You need to know that I have totally and utterly surrendered ALL of this to the Lord.  I want to overcome this.  I really do.  And with the help of the Holy Spirit, I know I can.  The Lord has a lesson or ten He wants to teach me, for once, I'm tuned in.  If you survived this blog post, you deserve a Gold Star.  I am so sorry you had to be a witness to my Pity Party.  But this is me.  And as my dear friend Emily would say, "This is TRUE LIFE, y'all."  Welcome to Crazy Town where I am now officially the mayor.

Just keepin' it real.  Love you ALL!

Monday, April 18, 2011

What My Favorite T-shirt and Easter Have In Common

What a special week!!  After Christmas, Easter is my 2nd most favorite holiday.  I love Spring time...the warmer weather, the always reminds me of the many promises God makes to us in regards to 2nd chances and new beginnings.  Easter represents so many feelings and emotions for me...too many for me to write about, but I believe I can paint you a picture of just how I'm feeling this week as I reflect on what Easter means to me, personally, and to the entire world.

A few years ago, I got involved in our church's Women's Ministry.  With new leadership in place, we decided to design a T-shirt for women to purchase in our church.  It was my favorite color, pink, and had one of my favorite Bible verses on it...Psalm 33:4 (NIV).  "For the word of the Lord is right and true;  He is faithful in all he does." I fell in love with this shirt.  I wore it all of the time.  It was comfortable and went with everything.  It was, indeed, my FAVORITE shirt I owned. 

One day, while doing laundry, I made an awful mistake.  I put my beloved pink T-shirt in the washing machine along with something blue.  When I pulled my shirt out of the washing machine, you can imagine my horror.  All over it were these ugly blue spots.  I was devastated.  Seriously, I cried.  That's how much I LOVED this T-shirt.  So, quickly I began to think during this moment of panic, and I remembered a box at the church having extra T-shirts in it.  So, the very next chance I got, I went to the church, went straight to the box of T-shirts, grabbed me one to replace the blue spotted pink T-shirt I so stupidly ruined in the wash, and threw it in my purse to take home later to proudly wear that week. 

That night at church, I was visiting with a woman who was attending our church for the first time.  As we were visiting, she was telling me how she had noticed several women in our church wearing our Women's Ministry T-shirts.  She told me how much she loved them and asked me if I knew how she could get one.  I asked her what size did she wear and she, of course, told me.  She wore the same size as me, and I remembered how I had just gone into that box of extra T-shirts and taken the VERY last T-shirt in my size.  Well, I was in a dilemma.  It felt for a moment as if time had stopped.  Everything was happening in slow motion, and for ONCE, I was actually thinking before speaking.  The Lord, with His gentle voice, said, "Give her your shirt."  I didn't really argue with the Lord unless you call my VERY long pause of silence arguing.  I was not, though, very quick to obey.  That's for sure.  But I took a few moments to think and listen.  So, I did just what He said.  I gave her the shirt right out of my purse and the look on her face made this "tiny to  most, but BIG to me" sacrifice worth every bit of it.

I went home that night and started my week, as usual.  I chose to wear my blue spotted T-shirt despite its ugliness.  Of course, I wore it only at home and only when cleaning, but I still wore it with a little hint of disappointment.  After cleaning house one day, my favorite T-shirt, of course, got dirty and required washing.  As I was pulling it out of the washing machine, I promise you, the Red Sea parted in my laundry room.  That pink blue spotted T-shirt came out of that machine with NOT ONE single spot on it.  I couldn't believe it.  I was speechless, shocked, and overjoyed.  And just like when I was talking to the women in church, I heard, again, God's sweet and gentle voice.  He said, "That's what I did for you.  I washed your spots away."

And just like that, the Lord reminded me of what He had done for ME.  Just like He washed those blue spots off of my most favorite T-shirt, He did the very same thing when He died for me on that cross.  And that, my friends, is why I celebrate Easter and why it means so much to me.  You see, my past is full of dirty, nasty, awful and humiliating mistakes.  But when I asked the Lord to be the God of my life, He forgave me for those mistakes.  And my slate has been wiped clean.  I am a redeemed Princess of the heir to the VERY throne of God.  I have been promised eternity with my Heavenly Daddy, and until then, I have complete access to the Holy of Holies because Jesus intercedes to Him on my behalf.  I get all of this because of the cross.  I get all of this because I asked him to wash my spots away, and He DID.  Just like those blue spots represented a horrible domestic mistake, the spots on my heart represented many terrible things I had done to myself and to my God.  But after surrendering my life to Christ, He, just like with that pink T-shirt, washed my heart clean.  He washed away my spots like He washed away the spots on my favorite T-shirt.  That's just how He is.

And He wants to do that for you.  Ask Him.  Ask Him NOW.  Ask Him to be the Lord of your life and wash your spots away.  Isn't it time?!  Aren't you ready to be set free from the chains those spots have represented in your life?!  The only way to do that is to face them...face your spots...face your mistakes.  Acknowledge them to the Lord.  Tell Him about your mistakes, ask Him to forgive you for them, and then ask Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life.  He'll do it.  And just like I can walk around with my blue spot FREE pink T-shirt, you can walk around with a spot FREE heart.  He wants you.  Now.  What are you waiting for?

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from all of your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." -Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NIV)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Divine Insomnia

It is 4:51 a.m. and I am wide awake.  As much as I would like to attribute my insomnia to pregnancy, I just know better.  I have learned that when I have trouble sleeping...similar to the trouble I've been having tonight...I have learned that the Lord is trying to get my attention.  I know that sounds silly to some, but tonight's insomnia is different.  It is not related to oversleeping or caffeine.  I'm up because I am suppose to be up.  It has been divinely orchestrated.  I am suffering from Divine Insomnia.  And here's why...

For a while now, there has been a part of my life that I have kept to myself.  A part of my heart, if you will, where I have denied access to anyone who was anybody to have any kind of say-so in this area of my life.  It is nearly 5 a.m. so, if this isn't making much sense so far, you can understand why.  What I'm trying to say is...there has been a part of my life that I have left completely UN-surrendered to God.  He's tried to speak to me about this part of my heart and any instruction He's tried to pass my way, I have either turned a deaf ear to it OR have completely and outright disobeyed any directions He's given me in regards to it...IT being this area in my life.

All night, I've been tossing and turning.  I can't tell you how many trips to the bathroom I've had to take...yes, I am pregnant, but I do believe this was part of His plan for me tonight.  When I did finally doze off, I was awakened with a cough I couldn't seem to get under control which caused me to get out of bed, come into the living room, and get in an upright position so I could catch my breath.  Yeah, that bad.  When I finally went back to sleep (on the couch) after that, my 4-year-old woke me up crying with a random double eye infection.  Once I got him settled down, I tried to settle myself down, but failed...epically.  I dragged myself out of bed.  Again.  Came BACK into the living room and finally got the message.  I realized, finally, why I was up.  After some prayer, some repenting, and some good ol' Bible I am.  Talking to you.

I'm tired of fighting, y'all.  This "area" of my life has had me gripped in anger, hostility, resentment, and bitterness for too many months now.  And I'm just plain tired.  The Lord was tired of fighting me, too.  I'm so thankful He didn't give up on me.  He knew I had wasted too much energy lately, and I believe He was ready to set me free from all of this.  Sometimes, we just have to let things go.  And let me be the first to tell you...this "area," this little situation I've been referring to all this time is NOT even resolved.  Oh no, the people involved are still the same.  The set of circumstances are ALL still the same.  The very awkward environment that surrounds this thing guessed it...the SAME.  But here's the best part...I'm NOT.  No, I am NOT the same person I was about 20 minutes ago.  I am no longer holding onto the negative force that has been bringing me down (and other important loved ones around me too) for all this time.  I am FREE!!

What about you?  What are you still holding onto?  Is there an "area" of your life that you have just refused to let go and let God?  Why?  Why keep fighting it?  What if you're like me?  What if you're situation never changes?  It may never change.  But you can.  Your God is waiting for you to surrender so He can change you into the Beloved Child of God He has always wanted you to become.  And by holding onto to negativity in your life, what good does that do ya?  In the words of Dr. Phil..."How's that working out for ya?"  Sometimes, we just have to let things go.  When we don't, we turn into these things that God never intended us to be.  That was me.  Just 20 minutes ago.  This thing...this thing that I was too exhausted to be anymore. 

I feel better already.  Now, maybe I can get some sleep.  You should, as well.  It's time.  Time for you to rest.  Rest.  Rest in the Lord.  Let Him fight your battle.  You need only to be still.

"I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."  -Ezekiel 36:25-26

Go and rest, sweet friends.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lies. Lies. ALL LIES!!

Lately, I've really been struggling.  Every now and then, I have these moments of insecurity that sneak up on me and before I know it, they have consumed my thoughts and my ability to think clearly.  I thought it might be therapeutic for me to put some of these thoughts down in writing, and then follow them up with what the Word of God says about them, as well.  Below is a list of lies I've recently bought into.  I'm so glad I went to the Word, because it was there that my Lord reminded me of just who I am and what He has to say about ME.  I pray you find some encouragement in the words below.

Lie: People don't really like you.  Actually, you get on everyone's nerves.

Lie: You're too over the top.  You're loud, obnoxious, and not that funny.

Lie: You're fat.  And pregnancy doesn't make you beautiful.  Actually, you're puffier than you've ever been and everyone can see your cellulite through your pants.

Lie: You're dumb.  Any sense you actually have, you've had to work extra hard to acquire.  Please don't ever speak in public.  You just confirm what everyone thinks about have no idea what you're talking about.

Lie: You're ugly.  Your chin jolts out.  Everyone can see your blackheads.  And that hair that keeps growing back on your chin, everyone knows about it.  No one has the nerve to say anything to your face.

Lie: Your husband will leave you any day.  It won't be long before he gets sick of you and will long for another life and another family.  It can happen at any moment.  Yes, you are THAT replaceable.

Lie: You will never have a true female BFF.  They don't exist.  As soon as someone gets to know you, they run for the hills.  No one has the capability to truly accept you as who you are.

Lie: You are a horrible mother.  Save your money so that you can reimburse your children for the money they will spend after years in therapy.  You are doing more damage than you realize.  Every bad habit your parents had with you is manifesting itself in your parenting, as well.  It can't be avoided.

Lie: You will always battle insecurity.  It is not possible to find victory in this area of your life.  You came into this world as a weak, fragile female...and that is how you will spend your life.

Lie: You will never get over what your Dad did to you and your family.  In fact, you will quit loving him and actually start hating him.  As a result of that, you will grow to be an angry and bitter old woman.

Lie: What you believe to be true about God and Jesus is just a myth.  There is no Heaven and there is no Hell.  When you die, you just die.  This is as good as it gets.  Enjoy your life now.  After death, there is nothing.  Jesus never came back to life after His crucifixion.  You and the rest of the Christian world have simply bought into a made-up Utopian-style fantasy world that never has and never will exist.

Lie:  God really doesn't love you like you think.  He is still disgusting with every mistake you ever made.  In fact, you might as well quit trying to earn His love.  You will never be good enough to be accepted or loved by the One who created you.  He has plans for other people...not you.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Healer Of My Heart

Lord, I cry out to you on behalf of those who need Your healing.  For the sick, heal them in Jesus' Name.  For the lost, save them in Jesus' Name.  For the heartbroken, restore them in Jesus' Name.  For the addicted, break them in Jesus' Name.  For the angry, still them in Jesus' Name.  For the worried, calm them in Jesus' Name.  For the fearful, send forth Your peace in Jesus' Name.  For your children, love us in Jesus' Name.

Click on the link below and enjoy.  Stop what you are doing and worship your Heavenly Father, the Healer of our souls.

Healer Of My Heart by Sisters


Friday, March 11, 2011

I Am Just As Much Of a Jailbird As They Are

The other day, I passed several workers repaving a road near my home.  A couple of the workers had on black and white stripped outfits.  After a quick second, I realized who the workers were...prison inmates.  As I passed them by, I gave them a lazy wave.  In my mind, I also passed too many judgments on them to admit.  It didn't take but a few moments for the Lord to remind me that I was no better than they.  I know, in the eyes of society, what they've done makes them a criminal and therefore, having to wear a black and white jailbird outfit, is something they had coming to them.  I mean....they should've thought better before committing whatever crime it was they committed, right?  But in the eyes of the Lord, their sin was no worse than mine.  Whatever mistakes they made in life were no worse than the mistakes I've made in my life.  The only difference is that I didn't get arrested for mine.

You see?  In this world, we give sins some form of value.  We make certain sins worse than others.  And while I agree with anyone who says, "Well, having an affair on your spouse is definitely worse than saying a four-letter word after stumping your toe in the middle of the night," in the eyes of the Lord, truthfully, they are no different.  I bring this up only because not only have we given value to sin, we've allowed ourselves to excuse certain sins while not excusing others.  We say to ourselves, "Well, what he/she did is unforgivable."  What if that was the attitude of the Lord?  What if He chose to forgive only certain sins I had committed while not forgiving others?  Wouldn't that make what happened on the Cross a joke and pointless?

The truth is Christ forgives us for our sin each time we ask Him.  And I believe, He forgives us for sins we are completely oblivious to because He loves us and understands our human flaws.  Not only does He forgive us, but He forgets about them.  The Bible says He tosses them out as far as the east is from the west.  Bless God for that!!  So, my question is...if He can forgive me?  Why can't I forgive others?  We've all royally screwed up in our lives.  Truth be told, some of the things we've done really are unforgivable.  But because of the Cross, we have been forgiven.  I am no better than the inmates working alongside the road.  I am no better than the two criminals who were hanged on crosses opposite sides of Jesus at Calvary.  I am no better than the one person in my life who has hurt me the most.  I am no better than the woman who chooses to not like me because of my personality traits.  I am no better than the person who passes judgment on me each time she sees me based on information that was given to her by a dear loved one.  You see?  I am no better than anyone.  And neither are you.  We've been forgiven...REDEEMED...because of Jesus and the Cross.

Dear Lord,
Forgive me for when I have passed judgement on others.  Forgive me when I've bought into the stereotypes and actually believed I was better than someone else.  I am so ashamed.  Thank You for forgiving me.  Help me to remember the ONLY thing that makes me special is YOU and YOUR HOLY SPIRIT living in me.  Help me to see others the way YOU see them.  Give me Your eyes.  Give me compassion for Your children....the same compassion You've been so generous in giving me.  Help me to be a bold witness for Christ.  I pray that You will allow me to be light in the darkness.  Give me a sense of urgency to tell others what You've done in my life.  And if they find anything attractive in me, may it be only from You and about You.  You really do light up my life, Lord.  I love you, Jesus. -Amen

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." -1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

Don't live your life missing out on the blessings God wants to give you.  He and they are totally worth it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Get Right or Get Slapped

Life has a way of slapping you around.  The following is a list of "rules" my mother taught me as a young girl.  These rules can be AND should be applied well into adulthood.  Recently, I have found the adults in my world, including ME and MY big ol' SELF, are getting a little lackadaisical when it comes to common sense items which IS, in fact, the motivation behind this blog entry.  So without any hesitation, I present to you LA-LA's List of "Get Right or Get Slapped."

10.  When you pass folks on the street or in a room, offer them, at least, a smile.  A kind hello would work best.  This goes for anytime you are out in public EVEN and ESPECIALLY when you are at church.
9.  Always stand for what is Truth.  This especially applies when someone is gossiping or saying anything that would be considered inappropriate.  This always applies when someone is speaking against Truth.  Take a stand, no matter what, even if the other person is a friend and/or relative.
8.  Anytime someone gives you something, always say thank you.  This includes but is not limited to waiters, Sonic carhops, perfect strangers, and family members.
7.  If you need something, ask.  Always say please.
6.  People, especially your spouse, are not mind-readers.  Let go of all expectations.  Do not expect your loved ones to follow a certain script.  Inevitably, you will be disappointed.  And it's just plain UNFAIR to them.
5.  Hold the door for people.  Don't expect others to do the same for you.
4.  Get over yourself.  You may be cute.  You may be sweet.  But life just ain't about you.
3.  Be on time.  People who are habitually late are probably very selfish.  Nothing says, "Look at me, I am the most important person I know," more than when you are late to functions.
2.  When you commit to something, fulfill your obligation.  If people are counting on you, be there and do what you said you would do.  Do this even when it is inconvenient and/or unappealing.
1.  Jesus is everything!  You will never feel fulfilled in this life until you surrender your life to Christ.  Pray all of the time.  Read His Word everyday.  And worship Him without apology.  He is worth it ALL.

**Disclaimer:  Items 5, 7 and 8 are simple and insinuate common sense.  But folks, we have gotten away from doing them in our everyday lives.  Manners, people.  Please...practice your manners.

Now that you have read the list, you have no excuse.  I have no excuse (especially with my mother living right down the road from me).  Truth be told, we either need to get RIGHT or get slapped.  By getting slapped, I don't mean by someone else.  Life just has a way of doing that to us on its own, ya know?  What about you?  Got any words of wisdom you could pass along to us?

Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."