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)