Saturday, December 15, 2012

Celebrating Scripture Memory Verse 24!!

Celebrate good times!  Come on!  It's a celebration!!

What a year!!  The Lord has been so gracious to me.  It's overwhelming at times, truly.  He and I have had some moments this 2012.  Looking back now, I can clearly see why His Spirit urged me to memorize Psalm 139 this year.  It has gotten me through some of the hardest days I've seen in a while.

But even more than that, it has been an amazing learning experience to realize how God feels about me.  That passage, Psalm 139, is a beautiful description written by David that vividly depicts God's knowledge of me, His love for me, and how overwhelmingly important I am to Him.  So many times, throughout the year, I have needed this reminder as insecurities, heartbreaks, close calls, and betrayals have plagued my life.  This may sound a bit dramatic, but really, my hard times haven't been much different than anybody else's.  Life is hard.  And in this world, there will be trouble.  All of us know that.  Some of us more than others.

If you were able to learn some Scripture this year, I know you've been able to see how God uses it when we most need it.  I would love to hear how that's worked for you this year.  Please consider sharing your testimony with me if you're comfortable.  If not, would you consider sending me an email letting me know how God has worked in your 2012 life?  Especially, I would love to hear how God's Word has gotten you through this year.

Instead of leaving you with my last verse for the year, I'd like to close out this Scripture Memory Challenge for 2012 with the entire Psalm 139 passage.  I'm writing it from memory.  My Lord God gets all the glory for that.  My punctuation will not be exact, but the words are what I take with me. 

Thank you for taking this challenge with me.  Merry Christmas to you all and by all means, don't stop memorizing now.  Take this habit with you throughout the rest of your days.  God's Word never returns void.  I'm a living testament to that!!

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise.  You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down.  You are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there.  If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me.  Your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you.  The night will shine like the day.  For darkness is as light to you.  For you created my inmost being.  You knit me together in my mother's womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Your works are wonderful.  I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth..  Your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them!  If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with you.  If only you, God, would slay the wicked.  Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!  They speak of you with evil intent.  Your adversaries misuse your name.  Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord?  And abhor those who are in rebellion against you?  I have nothing but hatred for them.  I count them my enemies.  Search me,God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. -Psalm 139 (NIV)

Your friend - a work in progress,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

See? Here's the trouble...

I wish I knew the number of times I've updated a status on Facebook just to only go back a few minutes later or maybe a couple of hours later and delete it.  Has anyone else done that?  At first, I'll type it out and pat myself on the back for sounding so clever or funny.  And then after I've come down from my narcissistic high, reality will set in and suddenly I feel exposed as if I've been caught with toilet paper stuck to my shoe.

Remember when Facebook felt a little more innocent? Like when it first came you could go to your Facebook wall and collect those witty pins that said I Love My Husband and I Wear Flip-Flops Year-Round?  Remember when someone would write on your wall?!  It felt as good as receiving a hand-written letter in the mail.  You felt chosen.  You felt thought-of.  Dang it!  You felt special!  Am I right?! 

Now, being on Facebook brings on more emotions than I'd like to admit.  For the record, I'm not bashing Facebook what-so-ever.  For the most part, I love it.  By nature, I'm a very social person.  Being a stay-at-home mom, sometimes interacting on Facebook is the only adult communication I'll have on a regular basis.  I could list a ton of great things about Facebook.  Lately, I have found myself being hyper-sensitive to the things I've posted and the things I've seen come through my News Feed.  I think the point I'm struggling to get to with this blog post is this...

We live in a world with more negativity than we can handle.  And as women, our heads are slapped full with critical words and thoughts.  If I'm not careful, I can let social media dictate how I feel about myself, my life, my parenting, and my physique.  The list could go on and on.  I wonder what would happen if we really saw our Facebook friends as just that...friends.  Instead of using our Facebook status as a way to push our own agendas, we started using our words to encourage and uplift.  Wouldn't it be neat to see our News Feeds full of positive and encouraging words instead of sarcastic and critical comments?

Too Utopian you might say?  And maybe you're right.  Maybe the Christmas Spirit is speaking here or maybe I've had too much coffee this morning.  Either way, it's where I am today...knowing that a Greater Good does exist in each of our lives and being hopeful that we all find it and use it towards something that counts.  So, perhaps if you're feeling down today and the voices of this world seem to be screaming at your heart, take a minute to find the One Voice that truly matters and ask Him to show you how you can be a Light in this dark world.

Even if it is on Facebook.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 23

Well, friends, can you believe it is December?! 

Today, I will post my next to last verse for the year.  A blog post would not be suffice in telling you how learning this particular passage, Psalm 139, has impacted my life this year.  Truly, the Lord has used it in more ways than one.  If you have taken this journey with me, I'd love to hear any personal testimony you may have on how the Lord strategically used the verses you learned for 2012.  Several of our friends agreed to this challenge through this blog, but also through Facebook.  Feel free to share with me through either avenue.  Looking forward to hearing how God has worked in your life.  Here is my verse for December 1st...

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Psalm 139:23 (NIV)

Praise be to the One whose words breathe life into our souls,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Lesson Mid-Journey

Sometimes, it isn't until you come to the end of your journey that you see and can finally benefit from the lessons learned.  It is very rare, at least in my own personal experience, that the "A-HA" moment happens in the middle of the journey.  This morning, though, I was blessed by such a revelation of God, I couldn't wait to write about it here.

Lately, some very unusual trials have come my way.  These trials have been somewhat of a "straw that broke the camel's back" kind of ending to a much traumatic 2012.  I would have never imagined at the beginning of this year the heartache that would brush our lives over the course of this year.  But as you'll read shortly, that's when Jesus does His best work...through our trials and heartache.  Each morning, I read a daily devotional from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  It is written in first person as if Jesus is writing directly to the reader.  After reading it several times this morning, it occurred to me how the entire devotional just for today, November 29, describes my life for the entire past year.

I share it with you here hoping that the words will work like a healing balm to your heart and soul...just as they did for me.  Please know you are loved.  You are cherished.  I believe that when you choose to follow Christ with your life...your past, your present, your future, along with the joy and pain that accompany each year of your life...are ALL rooted in Jesus.  And because of that, He can use it ALL for His glory and your eternal benefit.

"In this age of independence, people find it hard to acknowledge their neediness. However, I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths were irrelevant and your weaknesses were glaringly evident. Through the aridity of those desert marches, I have drawn you closer and closer to Myself. You have discovered flowers of Peace blossoming in the most desolate places. You have learned to thank Me for hard times and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work. You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts."  -Sarah Young from Jesus Calling

Good stuff, my friends.  Really good stuff.  I pray that today you will realize your need for Jesus and that by simply acknowledging your need for Him will lead you to know Him more intimately.  A true and priceless gift, indeed.

Have a great day,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 22

Wow!  I can't believe 2012 will be over in just a month and a half.  Only three more verses to go before I complete my goal for the year. 

My verse for the second half of November still sounds and seems so out of context compared to the rest of the chapter.  In Psalm 139, since verse 19, I can really get a sense of David's frustration toward the people of his day who dishonored the Lord with their words and actions.  Through his venting, I have been comforted in knowing that it's perfectly alright and even understandable to become hurt (and maybe even offended) by those who haven't experienced the Lord's presence in their lives.  We live in a hurting world, and based on what I can tell from Psalms, the world was not much different during biblical times either. 

My verse...

I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.  Psalm 139:22 (NIV)

Persevere, my friends.  We are almost at the finish line.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 21

I am barely getting this in on time.  But better late than never.  Here is my verse for November 1st... (Can y'all believe it's already November?!)

Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?  Psalm 139:21 (NIV)

This verse sounds so harsh.  You must read it in its entire context in Psalm 139.  In this particular verse, David, the author, seems angry and frustrated.  It's just one of the many emotions he articulates in this passage.  (Just felt like it needed a disclaimer.)  :)

Hope God is changing your life through His Word...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Some Thoughts

Sometimes, I want to gather all of my loved ones and climb under a rock.  Tucked away safe and sound from the world.  Gathered around the ones I love the most.  This is how I get sometimes.  I've learned to correlate these feelings with those times my insecurities are at their strongest capacity.

I wonder if anyone else does this...

When critical words come my way, I shut people out.  Even people who have done no wrong.  When an unkind word is spoken, I retaliate.  This has brought much pain in my life as I've lost relationships over this.  When I sense a spirit of rejection, I'll quickly push the other person out of my life before he or she has the chance to hurt me.  This hasn't helped my friendships, as you can imagine.  Sometimes my sense of rejection is completely imaginary.

Recently, I've learned that most of these "feelings" are just that...feelings.  Almost always, these "feelings" are deeply rooted in personal insecurities I've been carrying around since childhood.

And then I am reminded of the One who made me.  The One who says I belong to Him.  Here's the truth...Jesus loves me this I know.  For the Bible tells me so.  And since I believe this to be true.  And since I have chosen to follow Christ with my life.  I have to wonder...

What if Jesus would have done what I tend to want to do when this world gets a little too loud?  What if He would have climbed under a rock with His loved ones until the storm passed?  What if He would have pushed relationships out of His life before they had the chance to hurt Him?  What if He would have retaliated when others were so brutally unkind to Him?

Thankfully, He didn't and the entire world owes Him a great deal of gratitude for that.  But that's not what He requires of us.  He doesn't need our thanks although He deserves it.  I believe He wants us to simply...

Seek justice.  Despite the risks.

Love mercy.  Despite the risks.

Walk with Him each day.  Despite the risks.

I think I'll try that.  After all, He risked everything for me. 

No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NLT)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 20

Verse day! 

They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Psalm 139:20 (NIV)

Keep memorizing,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 19

Just 3 months left in the year, 6 more verses to learn until we meet our goal.  It's all going by so fast.  For those of you hanging with us, don't quit now.  You're almost there.  :)  Here is my verse for October 1st...

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!  Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!  Psalm 139:19

Based on the strong words used in this verse, David is obviously venting some frustration here.  I can't tell you enough how the entire Psalm 139 passage has spoken to my life throughout the year.  Stay in the Word, friends.  Sometimes, it's all we've got.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 18

Goodness!  This month is flying by. I'm posting a day early here since the Bulldogs play tomorrow.  I will be completely and utterly distracted by that.  So, here is my verse for mid-September...

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake, I am still with you.  Psalm 139:18 (NIV)

In case you're just now reading this blog, a group of friends and I have committed to memorizing Scripture twice a month for the entire 2012.  I am memorizing Psalm 139.  It's perfect because it has exactly 24 verses which will provide for me for the entire year.  Please feel free to join us even though we are already to September.  This isn't a competition or about following any rules.  We just want to encourage one another in our walk with the Lord. 

If you're interested, simply comment to this blog post with the verse you are memorizing, its address and the translation you're memorizing from.  You definitely don't have to comment, but I always love reading the verses you have chosen. 

Enjoy your weekend.  And GO DAWGS!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What A Song And A Near-Death Experience Have In Common

Recently, I heard a song on the radio where the lyrics matched my life so closely, it actually scared me.  I quickly downloaded the song when I got home and have been listening to it ever since.  But before I share anymore with you about the song, you must know a little something extra beforehand.

After my dear mother-in-law passed away, I found myself in my very first Faith Crisis.  For my entire life, I've been able to list facts about Christ and Heaven and Creation and so on.  But it wasn't until I became a young adult where the facts about Christ made a connection with my heart.  In fact, I hadn't been a wife or a mother very long until I realized how much the Lord loved me and what and why the sacrifice He made on the Cross was so significant.

But when my mother-in-law died, I found myself gripped with fear about eternity and what happens to us when we pass from this life.  I started questioning everything I knew about God.  Facts I had learned when I was a small child suddenly seemed like facts one would read in a fairy tale.  I started wondering if all of this "stuff" I had banked on for my entire life was really legitimately true.  Nothing will make you question (and perhaps even fear) death more than losing a loved one.  Truly, my feelings were a beautiful demonic mix of fear, humiliation and frustration.

Since coming to know the Lord authentically as a young adult, my husband and I have been called to serve in various forms of ministry.  I remember telling the Lord one day, "How can I be an effective witness for Christ when I'm not even sure if I believe all of this, myself."  These new-found feelings had me questioning my very own experiences with the Lord.  I was questioning whether He really did, in fact, bring me out of a sinful life, whether He had really mended my broken heart, whether His Son really loved me enough to die for me.  Really?  Did He really do that?  I thought, how am I going to be able to continue in ministry when I wasn't even convinced myself. 

And then my husband and I took a trip to Canada in July.  Many of you know of our traumatic experience there.  If not, you can read about it here.  But just to quickly recap, my husband and I decided to go white water rafting with some friends.  Of course, we knew the risks, but still thought it would be worth the trouble and the fun.  We found ourselves facing death square in the face when our raft turned upside down and we were both caught in the frightening rapids of the Kicking Horse River.  I met my biggest fear as I was trapped underneath the overturned raft for what we later learned was over a half mile of the river.  Minutes felt like hours as I was given only two opportunities to gasp for air.  After breathing in a few breaths from my last air bubble, I was back underwater for a significant amount of time. 

My mind was racing during that moment.  My brain was all over the place.  I was telling myself to not panic while having flashes of my three children's faces.  I asked the Lord to please not take both my husband and me. I couldn't bare the thought of my children being orphans.  But as I was having this inner dialogue with myself and the Lord, I found myself surprisingly at peace about my next destination.  I was freakishly calm about the fact that IF the Lord chose to end my life at that very moment, I knew EXACTLY where I was headed.  I was waiting to lose consciousness as I felt my lungs filling with water and I even remember thinking to myself, "When you wake up, you will be looking in the eyes of Jesus."  It was alarmingly comfortable.

The Lord gives and takes away.  He chose to allow me to live.  Of course, I realize I was given the gift of life and I bless His name for that.  But I was also given a gift to share with you.  The enemy preys on our thoughts.  He knows that if he can't get us with addiction or materialism or things of the sort...he knows he can at least get us to question our faith and our salvation.  I feel certain God allowed me to almost drown in that river just so He could bring me out with a story to tell. 

Friends, my story today is this...

Don't let the enemy deceive you.  If you have chosen to live your life for the Lord, then go and do just that while believing that you belong to Him.  Nothing can take that away from you.    Once you get that, receive it and then share it with others. 

This brings me back to the original reason for this post.  The song I mentioned earlier speaks of this struggle that we sometimes have when we start to question our beliefs, our faith.  I pray the lyrics will speak to you like they have to me.  You'll see just in the few lines of the song why it got my attention. 

(I'm just not sure if I'll ever be able to look at a natural body of water the same.)

   You Lead
   By: Jamie Grace

I've got waves that are tossin' me,
Crashin' all over my beliefs,
And in all sincerity, Lord,
I wanna be yours,
So pull me out of this mess I'm in,
Cause I know I'm wanderin'
Lead my soul back home again,
I've always been yours,

And this world may push, may pull,
But your love it never fails,

You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on,

As a child I heard your voice,
But as a girl I made my choice,
There is no other way for me,
I'm devoted to you,
You're my peace on the heavy days,
You're the warmth of an autumn blaze,
Your love carries me away,
And it's never too soon, no...

And this world may push, may pull,
But your mercy never fails,

You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly, yeah,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on,

Sometimes when I wake up, I don't wanna rise up, Out of my bed, too many thoughts in my head,
Don't wanna be who I used to be,
Gonna take the back seat and let you lead,
And I...
Need to stop, need to stop,
Cause I'm going too fast,
And I...
Know my God is still God, And you got my back,

You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly, yeah,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more then I can see,
So lead me on...
Lead me on...

And I...
Need to stop, need to stop,
Cause I'm going too fast,
And I...
Know my God is still God, And you got my back,
You got my back,
I know ya got me, I know ya got me,
I know ya got me, Lead me on...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Trust, Faith, Blah, Blah, Blah

So here's the deal...

God spoke.  I argued.  God spoke again.  I said, "We'll see."  God felt the need to speak a little louder through some unusual events.  I said, "Yes Sir.  All clear, Sir."


When God speaks and you listen and you even decide to obey, it doesn't necessarily mean that trusting Him becomes easier.  In fact, the opposite can be true.  The closer and closer it gets to the pivotal moment in which He has called you to trust Him, the harder it is to trust.  And to do that other thing.  What's it called?  Oh yea.  Have faith.

And then I'm reminded of what faith is...

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Oh, is that all?

So, I'm there.  So sure.  So hopeful.  Yet, I see nothing.

But then I realize...

When there's nothing in the way of my view, there He is.

"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 seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Eternal.  That's a small word that holds a big punch.  Since everything about this world is temporary, then what am I doing about the eternal side of it all?    And then I'm reminded of that thing I mentioned earlier.  That thing I first argued with God about and then said, "We'll see," only to get the message again loud and clear. 

"The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." -Jesus 

It's not complex but it's not easy to do.  The question still remains...

Since He's called me to be a worker, will I do it?  Will I trust Him?  Or perhaps the real question is...

What will happen if I don't?

I'm not sure if I want to wait around and find out.  So, hello trust.  Nice to see you again, faith. Good thing we've become so acquainted with one another. 

Following Christ, trusting Him, and having faith in His it easy?  Not always.  But He never promised it would. 

Following Christ, trusting Him, and having faith in His it worth it?  I'll let you decide. 

But before you make your decision, were worth Him dying for.

And that really should be enough.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 17

It's Verse Day!!

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:17 (NIV)

Keep memorizing!  His Word is what gives us LIFE!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 16

My verse for the 2nd part of August plain and simply overwhelms me at times.  I believe every word of it is true, but it is hard for me to wrap my human brain around the actuality of it at times.  Have I mentioned how much I am loving Psalm 139?!  Here is my verse...

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Psalm 139:16 (NIV)

Keep hiding His Word in your heart.  It is life changing...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Life Lately

My thoughts on life lately...

1.  Summer is nearly over.  My oldest starts 2nd grade on Friday.  My middle child starts Kindergarten in a week.  My baby is nearly 14 months old.  I. Am. Depressed.

2.  I've been surfing some serious waves of emotion.  Some high.  Some low.  Some exhilarating.  Some frightening.  One thing is certain - I am still alive and have gleaned so much.

3.  Football season is quickly upon us.  And in the Crawford household, we are breathing in and out a collective sigh of relief.  Life can begin again.  Errbody, get yo' Dawgs UP!

4.  God is teaching me a serious lesson in being thankful.  I'm reading a book that is really helping with this.  I hope to write more on it later.  In the meantime, Jesus continues to be my BFF although I'll never deserve His friendship. 

5.  The Olympics are over.  The Olympics were awesome.  The Opening Ceremony was weird.  The Closing Ceremony was better.  Now, we get to look forward to all of the presidential campaign television material.  (Insert eye roll here.)

I wish I had more riveting reading material than this.  But I'm doing good these days to roll out of bed and take care of these people who keep calling me 'mom.' I can't even promise that I remember to brush my teeth.  My husband loves this about me right now.

Just keepin' it real, folks!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 15

Hey Friends!  Here is my verse for August 1st...

"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth."  -Psalm 139:15 (NIV)

Keep on keeping on!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Last Week, I Almost Died. True Story.

For those who know me best know I often have a flare for the dramatic.  But sometimes, something so monumental happens to you, that when you re-tell your story to others, the facts alone are dramatic enough.  Not everyone gets to say they've had a near-death experience.  I've never been in want of such an experience, myself, but I now get to join this elite group of folks.  In fact, both my husband and I can now look at each other and say with tears in our eyes, "Remember the day we both nearly died!"

For the past two years, my husband and I have been planning and preparing for a trip to the Canadian Rockies.  Last week, we headed that way and were awe-struck at the beauty of Lake Louise with its turquoise green color and picturesque panoramic view of the mountains.  It is indeed the most beautiful place on this planet.  Throughout the week, we enjoyed canoe-ing on Lake Louise and hiking up and down the surrounding mountains.  We took in the glacier cool air, laughed at the favorites were the chipmunks...and simply enjoyed one another's presence.  It's not that often that we get to be away from our children, and although we missed them terribly, it was so good for us to be able to focus on just one another for once. 

While we were there, we made plans to white water raft down the Kicking Horse River.  Just like with any white water rafting excursion, the guide gave his usual safety speech, and while I was quite nervous about rafting I was as equally excited and knew it would be a great time.  The hubs and I have rafted before in Colorado Springs.  So, I knew what I was getting into.  The water on the river was very high due to lots of rain in the area, and we were told there would be a section of category 4+ rapids (5 is the highest).  We rafted about an hour and a half enjoying the level 1,2 and 3 rapids while taking in the glorious scenery staying ever-mindful that our section of 4+ rapids was coming up quickly.  Our guide stopped a couple of times allowing us to stretch our legs on the shoreline.  At our last stop, the guide got us out of our boat and showed us the set of 4+ rapids we were about to set out to accomplish.  I have to admit, they looked terrifying but exciting at the same time.  We all knew the risks, but were anxious to get it behind us so that we could officially say we conquered the Kicking Horse River rapids.  So, back in the boat we went with our adventure awaiting us just around the bend.

We made it through the first set of rapids successfully, and as we approached the second set, instantly I found myself underwater.  It took me a few moments to realize what was happening, but as I did I found myself in the middle of my worst nightmare.  Our boat had flipped upside down and I was trapped underneath it in 32 degrees of water.  I frantically recalled what the safety instructor had told us to do..."Find an air pocket!"  As I stretched my head up and found my first one, I quickly took in as much air as I could before I was forced back under water.  Soon after, I found a second air pocket.  As I was taking in as much air as I could I saw the other side of the raft and used my feet to try to push myself out from underneath it.  I was unsuccessful and found myself back underwater.

Here is where my life flashed before my eyes.

I have no idea how long I was under water.  Later, we determined I was trapped under the raft and underwater for about a half of a mile.  Physically, I felt very strange things happening to my body.  I figured my lungs were filling with water, and as I was waiting to lose consciousness I found myself talking to the Lord.  I pleaded with him to not take both my husband and me at the same time.  We have three small children and I couldn't imagine them growing up as orphans.  Those are the obvious thoughts you have as your mind is racing.  Yet strangely, I was so confident with where my next destination was going to be after losing consciousness.  I knew I was heading to my eternal home, my original home, but I told the Lord it just couldn't quite be my time.  I am only 34-years-old, and I knew the Lord couldn't be done with me yet, I thought.  Just as my body was preparing to lose consciousness, I felt sunlight and knew I must be out from underneath the raft.  I floated on my back for a few moments and took in as much air as I physically could.  Suddenly I heard my husband's voice yell, "Grab the rope!"  He was alive!!  And I did just as I was told, thank you very much.  I reached out my hand and grabbed the rope of our upside-down raft.

Here is where my memory gets fuzzy.

My husband later told me this is where he and I swam over to the rescue boat.  He helped push me into the rescue boat, but there was no room for my husband.  Already they had rescued one other woman and my dear husband had no where to go except back in the rapids.  He swam to another raft that had stayed afloat where others pulled him into safety.  He was in the water the longest and took in a lot of water while being battered and bruised by the rocks underneath.  He ended up further down the river on the shore with a group of people who had helped save the 9 of us who were fighting in the rapids.  For a moment, I didn't know if my husband was alive or not.  One may think drowning is the worst thing in the world, and it just might be.  But not knowing if the love of my life was still alive was as equally bad.

Later, I found out that he was ok and was finally reunited with him.  We hugged and cried and hugged and cried and cried.  And cried.  And that's it, folks.  This is where the story ends.  Or does it?

Yes, I am a survivor.  Yes, I almost drowned to death.  So did my husband.  Some may say it was the moving rapids in the river that finally moved the raft off of being on top of me.  Some may say we lived because we had a ton of help from others and the excellent effort of the rescue boat driver.  But ultimately for me, it came down to this.  I lived because the Author of life and death allowed me to.  Plain and simple.  Some may say it was because of good luck.  I say it's because of a Good God.  Some may say I survived because of my super human spirit and strength.  I say it's because of Jesus' supernatural Spirit that lives within me.

Who knows really why the Lord allowed this to happen?  We may never know completely, but because of it my husband and I were able to give all the glory to God for saving our lives.  We were able to share our faith countless times as we re-told our survival story to others while on our trip.  I realized just how much I love my husband and my children and my God.  Beauty truly comes from ashes.  Our God is alive and is as powerful as ever.  And He can use anything that happens in your life for the good of others and to make His name famous.

And that, my friends, is what I plan to do.  Yes, I am a survivor, but not from surviving a near-drowning experience.  I survived death when I chose to follow Christ with my life, when I realized how much He loved me by dying for me and overcoming the grave for the entire world.  When I made the choice to believe that, to love Him, and to ultimately follow Him with my life, that's the day I died.  And a new creation was born.  One that will ultimately conquer death just as He did and live in Glory with Him forever and ever.

Until then, I will continue fulfilling the purpose He has called me to fulfill.  To live for the One who gave it all just for me and for YOU.  To make His name famous by encouraging others to turn their lives over to the One and Only who has the power to ultimately save us all from death.  The beautiful thing is you don't have to have a near drowning experience to come to that realization.  Praise God for that.  You can make that choice right where you are in the glorious mundane of life.  Don't wait another moment.  It is so true what they say.  Life can end at any moment. 

Are you prepared for that moment?

Giving God All the Glory Forever and Ever!


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 14

It's Verse Day, friends.  Here is mine for the second part of July...

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14 (NIV)


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 13

Yes!  It's that time again.  My verse is...

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

May we come to depend on God's Word like we depend on our next breath.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Remember When Making Friends Wasn't So Difficult?

Here's the deal.  For my entire life, I've never really had trouble making friends.  And most of my life, except for a couple of miserable years in junior high, I always had friends.  It wasn't difficult for me to find someone who would be willing to stand in my corner.  Ya know, someone who would say, "I've got your back."  From almost every decade of my life, I could list at least one significant person who I considered a BFF.  (I want you to know who you are because I think most of you listed below actually read this blog.)

0-10             Jenny
11-20           Laura C.
21-30           Kara, Shannon, Laura O., Stephanie (College was a good time for me.)
31-Present   Erin

But can I just be honest with y'all?  Making friends as an adult in a town where you did not grow up isn't as easy as one may think.  Make that town a small town in the south and you've got a double whammy.  Yes, indeed, the Lord has blessed me with some amazing acquaintances around here and at church.  And I've been so embraced by my husband's childhood friends.  I would consider them my own friends, as well.  But it's just not quite the same.

And so here I am in a very difficult and unfamiliar space.  When I worked, I had my work friends, ya know?  But then when I decided to stay home my social network looked and sounded a lot like episodes of Barney the purple dinosaur.  I have almost completed my fifth year of being a stay-at-home mom.  Nothing has made me happier and nothing has been more fulfilling.  I wouldn't trade this gift for the world.  But every now and then, I long for female camaraderie. 

This longing a lot of us stay-at-home moms share is kept under wraps.  I think we worry about sounding needy.  To express our issue in a public setting could potentially scare people away.  Or at least that's what we worry about.  I hope this post will expose the need for friendship in a way that will encourage us to step out of our comfort zone, to walk out from underneath the shadow of fear and insecurity, and just be willing to be someone's friend. 

Adulthood and mommyhood can be a very lonely place.  No one is a friend like Jesus, that's true.  And it's quite easy to place expectation and the need for validation on one specific individual.  The problem with that is almost always we end up disappointed, because no one human being can validate us, love us, and give us a sense of worth and security better than Jesus, Himself.  But I do believe He calls us to be friends to one another.  I believe He takes great pleasure in seeing His children love Him by loving others.

So today, if you know someone who could use a friend or maybe just a phone call, won't you be willing?  Don't just send a text OR facebook.  I believe technology is stealing our friendships and we are slowly getting accustomed to interacting with a screen rather than a live human being.  Actually pick up the phone OR stop by someone's house and let them know you've been thinking about them.  You never know how your sacrifice of time and convenience can be the biggest gift of joy and love to someone else. 

Just sayin'...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 12

... even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. -Psalm 139:12 (NIV)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Benadryl, My New Love

I think I mentioned in yesterday's post about my (not-so) little sleeping problem.  This has become a pretty big deal to me, because anyone who knows me knows that sleeping, to me, is a hobby.  I love sleeping.  Truly and verily.  

So to remedy the problem, I've tried...well...all sorts of things.

First, I took Tylenol PM.  This worked but I had to take it every night and since I don't have a headache every night, I thought the idea of taking Tylenol that often was not smart.  Second, I moved to Unisom.  This definitely worked, but unfortunately Unisom doesn't know when it's the start of a new day and momma has to function and be nice to 3 kids and what not. Third and finally, I took (take) Benadryl.  This has been the best fit so far, because I sleep well, am alert the next day, and it has helped with my minor allergy issues.  Bonus!

Yet!  I must say every good thing has a dark side (unless it's Jesus).  Taking Benadryl works but lemme just tell dreams have been WHACK, yaw.  Like the other night, I kept having this reoccurring dream where I needed to fill out paperwork for my bank, but they kept giving me the wrong paperwork and when I finally got the correct paperwork, I didn't understand how to properly fill it out.  OK, maybe this actually happened.

But last night, I made a colossal mistake.  As the hubs and I were casually watching television before it was time to turn off the lights for bed, he "just so happened" to turn the station to the movie Titanic.  Oh yes he did!  And could I turn away with Leonardo DiCaprio staring me in the face wanting to draw pictures of me while I'm only wearing a blue diamond necklace?  I think not.

(I mean who thinks of this stuff?!  It's sick, truly.)

So, after watching one of the most depressing events in history and bawling my eyes out to Celine singing The Heart Can Go On, I finally turned everything off and climbed into bed.  And since I so smartly set the stage for a great night of sweet dreams after a viewing of the Titanic, you can imagine how unnerved I was only to be woken up by what I thought was the 2nd coming of Christ.  We had a storm blow into our neck of the woods that produced such vicious lightening, that each time it thundered I waited for the trumpets to sound and the angels to shout Behold He Comes Riding On The Clouds!  It was something, folks.

Needless to say, I've had more restful nights than the last which is why I'm writing this completely pointless blog post today.  I'm hoping this will keep me awake long enough to avoid the urge to catnap while the house is finally quiet.  To nap would only mess up the little bit of sleep I'll actually get tonight thanks to Benadryl. 

Whew!  If you made it this far, you won't need Benadryl or Unisom or anything for that matter.  You can just read this again later and it'll do the trick.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, friends.  Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Wife, Happy Life, Happy Home

I am totally stealing this idea from Pinterest.  I read another woman's blog who did the same thing I'm about to do, and I found it inspiring.  So here it is...

I've been blessed to have several key women invest into my life and give me some of the best advice around.  I thought I'd share with you, because I believe the following five tidbits lead to a happy wife, happy life, happy home.  Enjoy...

1.  If you're like me, clean laundry is impossible to keep.  If you'll take the time to wash, dry, fold and put away one entire load of laundry a day, the task seems bearable.  Doing it this way has helped me stay on top of this necessary evil.

2.  When picking your children up from school in the car line, do your best to be off of your cell phone when they get into your vehicle.  I find this a great time to tell them how much you've missed them and find out about their day.  You trying to do that while talking on your phone just doesn't quite deliver the message you want them to have.

3.  I have also found it quite helpful to have a light snack for my kids in the car once I pick them up in car line at school.  You remember what it was like to come home from school starving.  This will minimize the harassment for food prior to dinnertime.

4.  I always seem to rest better when I know everything has been put away in its place before bedtime.  It's helpful for all the dishes to be put away out of the sink and for any clutter of the day to be put away in its place.  I even have the kids put their toys away before bed.

5.  I'm only 34 and I already have trouble sleeping at night.  I have found it quite helpful to keep the same bedtime and wake up time everyday.  What's even more helpful is when I get up early enough to exercise and spend some quality, uninterrupted time with the Lord.

These are all things other women have suggested to me, and I have found them quite helpful.  The thing is I NEVER have a week where I do each thing exactly the way I explained it everyday.  I'm not Superwoman, ya know?!  But with my OCD and constant need for structure, this creature of habit enjoys the order and sense of accomplishment these five pieces of advice bring.

What about you?  Any words of wisdom you've got to share with the rest of us?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Needing Your Input

I'm curious...

If you'd be willing and are comfortable, please comment to this post ANONYMOUSLY by answering the following question.

**Disclaimer:  You do NOT have to be attending a church at this current time to answer this question.  Without mentioning names or even specific examples, answer the following question as honestly as you can.

How could we make church more appealing for those who currently attend AND for those who would like to attend but just haven't done so?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Digging Myself Out. Almost There!

Dear Bloggy Friends,
I know my posts around this here ol' blog have been less than light-hearted.  I realize this.  In fact, if you've been in your own state of funk, reading this here ol' blog has prolly been a real drag for ya.  And for that, I apologize.

The truth is I have been ransacking my brain for something funny, for something positive, for something encouraging and inspiring to share with you.  And for whatever reason, I find myself at a loss.  This means only one of two things...
1.  I have wallowed around so deeply in my own bed of despair that to come up with any hopeful words to share is impossible OR
2.  It's just not the appropriate time to write with humor or sarcasm.

And by appropriate time, I mean the Lord just hasn't given me the words these days.  I sure hope my writer's block can be attributed to the second rather than the first.

My purpose in writing this post is to let you know that I do not plan to stay in this sad place very long.  In fact, if that happens, I'm quite sure it will be the death of me.  For now, I'm allowing grief to do its thing, and I'm fighting through some of the surprising elements it has brought  along the way.

I am certain the Lord has lined up our circumstances in this precise order for a reason.  As we journey through the grieving process, I have found myself less than thrilled with my bouts of insecurity, loneliness, sadness, and new-found fears and frustrations.  But to focus on those is to focus on myself, and I've spent too many years of my life doing that already.

Please be patient with me as I'm slowly digging myself out.  I'm almost there!

"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

Bless the Lord,

Monday, June 4, 2012

The War Raging Inside My Mind: First Person vs. Second Person

I have found myself in a state of transition.  What I used to let define me no longer does.  Always feeling like there was more to this life but never quite knowing how to obtain it.  Realizing at how compartmentalized I have allowed my life to become.  Finding myself so engulfed in my own little world forgetting about other places and more importantly, other people around me.  Coming to the acceptance of my divine appointment and getting a clearer picture of what that looks like.

It's hard to say what hurts more...

Watching a loved one battle an illness that eventually takes her life OR watching her husband ache over her indefinite absence.

Longing for community OR realizing the community around you has missed the mark entirely.

Remembering the path you once walked and the growth spurts along the way OR realizing the journey you are now on may involve steps of faith, many of which may involve you walking alone.

It's hard to say what's more challenging...

Being careful to not criticize others while remembering you once made similarly poor decisions.

Wanting more from this journey knowing you were created for such a time as this while needing support from others in your endeavors.

Becoming disappointed when others don't share the same enthusiasm or vision while being grateful for the ones God has put in your life to hold your hand along the way.

Allowing yourself to not become upset with others for seeming not to care or simply forgetting while remembering the world doesn't revolve around you.

Yes, these unsettling feelings, this unique transition, I know is entirely authored by God.  I know because if it were left up to me, I would choose apathy and complacency.  The decision is not up to me.  I forfeited that right when I asked the Lord to lead my life.  So for now, I wait with expectancy, urgency and a little bit of frustration.  But, I remember how Psalm 139 soothes.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know.  You know when I sit and when I rise.  You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down.  You are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, You Lord, know it completely.  You hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me.

What relief there is in knowing your Creator knows you!  Without that, it'd just be you alone with your thoughts.  And although that is often how it feels - lonely - remember you are NOT.  Your time is coming.  It's time to fulfill your mission.  Come, Lord!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 11

I'm posting this a day early.  Hope y'all are doing well.  Keep on memorizing.  Don't give up now.  You are almost half way there.  Whoo hoo!!  Here is my verse for June 1st...

"If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," -Psalm 139:11 (NIV)

What about you?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rays of Sunshine Even In The Darkness

A dark storm cloud moved in and parked itself right over our lives at the beginning of May.  We all watched as my dear mother-in-law suffered with a neurological disease, and there was not one single thing any of us could do to stop it or fix it.  On May 15th, we found ourselves in the eye of the storm as Mrs. Judy passed away.  We were relieved she was no longer suffering, but were heartbroken at how quickly her life ended.  She was 66-years-old when the Lord healed her body and welcomed her into His holy presence.  For comfort we remind ourselves she is now home, pain free, healed by the mighty hand of God, and has seen the face of Christ.  I tremble as I type that sentence as I can't begin to imagine what that must've been like.  A privilege that He allowed her to experience first before any of us. 

These are all thoughts that should offer comfort and do at times, but I can't help but miss her.  Deeply.  Tremendously.  My darling firstborn said it best.  With tears rolling down his face after receiving the news of his beloved grandmother's death, he said, "I just wish I could see grandma one last time.  Just one last time, mom.  That would really lift my spirits."

It's true what they say about grief.  It comes in waves.  One minute life feels almost normal again.  And in the next minute the sting of her indefinite absence jabs your heart with such force, it almost takes your breath away.  I find it so interesting, though, that even in Mrs. Judy's death, she is still teaching us so much.  The Lord never wastes a hurt.  And although I could write on and on about the many things her passing has taught us about life, about death, about our God, I want to honor her and what the Lord has done through her by focusing on this one thing.

Everything we experience here on earth - every hardship, every blessing, every trial, every joy, ALL of it - has an eternal purpose. 

"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 seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." -2 Corinthians 4:17-18  

What a tragedy it would be to suffer on this earth only to die at the end of our suffering.  What a tremendous loss that would be if our suffering was for nothing!  If our pain meant nothing, if our tragedy served no purpose.  I used to say I didn't understand why God allows suffering.  I used to say I didn't understand why He would choose to heal some and allow others to die.  The truth is I'm not entitled to that information.  Only the Creator of Life is privy to that and I should be thankful.  We should ALL be thankful that's how He has it set up.  But when it's your loved one, it's only natural to question God, to wonder if He truly exists, to ask why.

Even in the middle of a dark storm cloud, the sun can peak through.  As the rays of sunshine jolt down from Heaven onto the ground, so does God's love, peace and comfort.  With each glimmer of light that He allows to break through the darkness of the storm cloud, I'm reminded of how His own Son suffered for my sake, of how each trial on this earth does indeed have an eternal goal, of how He has gone before us to prepare a place for us and had that not been true He would have told us.

I have to trust and believe all of these things, because if I didn't what else would I have to hang onto?  Without Christ and His promises, I'd have nothing.  And though I know not everyone believes as I do, and as tempting as it sometimes is to disregard the promises of God because of all the pain and suffering the world has provided, I choose to believe and trust Him anyway.  For me, it's worth being wrong about Him.  I figure I have everything to gain if I'm right and nothing to lose if I'm wrong.   Plus, I take Hebrews 11:6 pretty seriously, "And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." 

I can almost hear Mrs. Judy's voice now.  She's saying, "Believe, Lindsey, believe.  It is so worth it."

Father God,
Through my tears and heartbreak, please hear my cry.  Strengthen my faith.  Give me eyes that see and a heart that believes.  Help me to keep my eyes on You so that I can set my heart on You.  A Mighty Fortress is our God.  A Sacred Refuge is Your Name.  Your kingdom is unshakable.  With You forever we will reign.  Through my anguish, I say HALLELUJAH ANYHOW!  Send forth your Spirit, my Comforter.  In Jesus' Name - Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 10

My beloved mother-in-law passed away yesterday.  So, I am a day late on getting my memory verse up.  I hope to post soon about her passing, but for now here is my verse for May 15...

"even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." -Psalm 139:10 (NIV)

Eager to hear from you who are still memorizing.  Haven't heard from many of you in a while.  Don't give up.  Keep staying in His Word.  It is what gives us hope.


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Faith Crisis

  Faith - a word that we throw around often in our day-to-day conversations.  Yet, it is a word that is hard to define, hard to even explain.  A couple of months ago my oldest child asked me, Mom what is faith.  I thought for a moment and put a couple of thoughts together in my mind.  I have no memory of what I actually told him.  Then a few weeks after that conversation with my child, our Sunday School teacher came in on Sunday morning and asked us all to justify our faith in Jesus Christ.  Faith - there was that word again.  And once again, I had trouble putting words together.

You would think at this point I would have gotten the message, but no.  Not quite yet.  An opportunity presented itself where I was asked to teach a group of ladies on - you're never going to believe this - faith!  So, to the Word of God I went.  I found some great passages on the topic mostly in the New Testament.  I was even able to put my thoughts into 3 clear points so as to not confuse this group of women.  ( I didn't want a repeat of the conversation with my 7-year-old.)  I felt pretty good about the information I had collected on this interesting subject - faith. 

It never occurred to me that the Lord was lining all these circumstances up to prepare my heart for what would be one of the biggest tests of my faith ever in my life.

We all hear about others around us who are struggling.  Their struggles all look different.  They all come in different packages - relationship struggles, financial, health, job struggles.  But there is one common denominator - they are all struggles.  When you're looking at others' struggles from afar, it is easy to assume what you'd do if you were in their situation.  It's easy to point the finger.  It's easy to judge.  It's easy to criticize.  Some of us are even bold enough to offer our unsolicited advice to those who are struggling assuming that our advice is exactly what they need to hear and will, with no doubt, fix their problem(s).

But when it's YOU that's actually the one in the midst of the struggle, things become different entirely.  Our family is in the middle of a health crisis at the moment.  We have a dear sweet loved one who can't get well.  We've tried everything.  She's been to all types of doctors, had every possible test run on her ailing body, and still - nothing.  No improvement.  No better.  There are some days where her pain gets so intense, it's just unbearable to witness.  Nothing feels more helpless and hopeless than when your loved one hurts and suffers and there is not one thing you can do about it to make it go away.  So, you do what you know to do - pray.  A lot.  In fact, there are moments where the prayers often involve pleading than petitioning.  But it's all you know to do.  So you keep on doing it.  Over and over and over.

(Enter faith crisis.)

What do you do when your prayers aren't being answered?  When your loved one continues to get worse day after day and the pain becomes intensified and the doctors become even more stumped over her medical condition?  Then what?  Then what do you do?

I think...

You return to the One who created you. You continue believing.  You ask for your faith to be strengthened.  After all, you need only a little (the size of a mustard seed is what the Bible says).  You face that mountain head on and you command it in Jesus' name to MOVE!  (Matthew 17:20-21)
Then finally, you ask God to help you keep an eternal perspective.  You remember that your time on this earth is just a blip on the timeline of eternity.  That our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal goal that far outweighs them all.  You try each day to fix your eyes upon what is forever, what is eternal.  You remind yourself that everything else is just temporary.  And you hope and you pray.  You don't want to give up trusting and believing.  Because you know that giving up on the One who has the power to save you from death would be foolish.  You beg for a miracle and try hard to not get mad when that miracle doesn't happen.  You remind yourself that eternity with the One who gave it all just so you could have eternal life should be and is a miracle in and of itself.   And you pray that fact, alone, would be enough.  You know what else you do?

You have faith.  You have faith that God will not forsake His children.  You believe that one day this will all make sense.  You believe that in the middle of this faith crisis it is all about Who you know rather than what you know.  Because what you know is too hard to accept.
And that's where I am today.  It's a choice I have to make each day and sometimes I have to make that choice every minute of each day.  It doesn't come easy, but it's what I believe.  Thank you for letting me share my life with you.  It's risky but it's worth it.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful." -Hebrews 10:23


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Song That Reminds

When I know the Lord has called me to serve Him with my life, but I can't seem to make sense of what that looks like at times.  When the mighty task of which I've been called doesn't seem mighty and doesn't feel mighty, He uses a song to remind me.  Friends, our season is coming.  For now, we are to stay rooted in Him.  For now, let's spend our time growing the branch that will one day bear the fruit.  Through the storms of life, we'll stand.  While the world wants us to be concerned with what we look like on the outside, we'll let the Lord perfect our strength and beauty - all for His splendor.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 9

Well it's May 1st, and that means only one thing today - Scripture Memory Verse 9!  If this is the first you've heard of Scripture Memory on this blog, please know it is NOT too late to join us.  We have committed to memorizing two verses a month for the entire year.  Some of us have been doing it since January.  Others have just recently joined in.  And you may think you shouldn't since it's already May.  Please know we'd love to have you join us now no matter if you've ever memorized a verse in your life.  Here's how it works.  Simply comment on this post with...
1.  Your name.
2.  Your verse - please type it out in case one of us would like to memorize it too.
3.  Your verse's address.
4.  The translation in which you're memorizing from.

Here is mine...
Linds is memorizing Psalm 139:9 (NIV).  "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea..."

My verse seems choppy this time around, but just so you'll know, I've committed to memorizing the entire Psalm 139.  The chapter has exactly 24 verses making it easy to learn the whole chapter in one year.  I can't tell you how many times this passage has brought joy and peace to my heart.  You never waste one second in God's Word.  Time spent in Scripture never returns void.  Won't you join us in making investments in our Spiritual Banks?!  Lord knows we need it!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Nightmare, An Epiphany, And Some Typos

Dreams are fascinating.  How something completely made up from somewhere in our psyche can feel so real as if it actually happened to us!  Have you ever woken from a dream completely startled that it actually took you a day or two to convince yourself that what you dreamed didn't really happen?  This happened to my 5-year-old just last night.

This morning he came running out of his room crying.  It startled me so that I actually met him as he was coming out of his room.  After nearly jumping into my arms and after he calmed down a bit, he told me about his bad dream.  My sweet boy had dreamed we had all died.  In his mind, he had lost his entire family including his own life.  Now, before you start judging me, please know how careful my husband and I try to be when it comes to such sensitive subjects as death.  We answer questions as our children bring them up, but I couldn't remember anything that would possibly lead to him having this nightmare.

You know, I've learned with our first child that there does come a moment when a person realizes what it actually means to pass away.  Death becomes real.  The fact that we are not invincible sinks in a bit.  And of course, reality always gives plenty of examples for us to learn from.  I realized, just like with my other child, my dear boy was coming to this realization as well.  Perhaps he doesn't fear death, but he's thought about it enough for it to impact his mind...enough to impact what he dreams.

After talking to my son about his dream and assuring him that's all it was - just a dream - we were able to have a sweet time praying together and singing songs to the Lord.  It was a wonderful opportunity for me to teach him about not giving into fear and asking the Lord to restore his joy, grant him peace, and strengthen his heart. 

But friends, I got to thinking.

There is an enemy out there.  And he preys on the weak.  And if you think your children are exempt from his tactics, you are horribly mistaken.  Just as my son learned a lesson on fear, so too, did I.  There's only so much I can prevent from happening to my kids.  There's only so much control I have over them and their lives and their decisions.  But just as my boy found relief in surrendering his fear of death to the Lord (in his precious 5-year-old way), I too surrendered (once again) my fear of not being able to control everything. 


Do we honestly know how good we've got it?  As much as we THINK we would like to be able to control everything, that's really not a task that our human hearts are built to withstand.  It's interesting...just as difficult as it is to relinquish control to the Lord, it is equally comforting to relinquish control to the Lord.  And by equal, I mean the same amount of emotional strength and relief is involved.  What relief there is in knowing I'm not the one in charge here!  I am not made for that.  You are not made for that.

You don't have to be a parent to be a control freak.  If you have a pulse, you qualify.  Where are you these days?  What part of you do you need to relinquish to the Lord?  What are you holding onto?  Or better yet, what's holding onto you?  The Lord is waiting to carry that for you.  He IS made for it.  He was created for it.  And He's the only one who can.

(Wow!  How did I get all of that from a 5-year-old's dream?!  The Lord will use anything to teach us a lesson or two.  The question you know Him well enough to be able to recognize His voice?  I bet He's got something to teach you, too.  He's into that, ya know?)

Worn out,

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Love That Never Fades

If the one man in a little girl’s life with whom she is supposed to trust with her life and love leaves her, what is going to make her think other men in her life won’t do the same? Her perception of God is no different. For years, I thought I had to earn God’s love. When I failed Him, I felt like I had to earn back His love with each failure. Years ago, I stumbled upon John 6:37. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” Those last two words – drive away – caught my eye. In the historical context of this verse, I realize Jesus isn’t talking about fathers leaving their families. I understand He was telling others in the passage that if they come to Him, He will never leave them. Yet, the phrase - drive away - stopped me in my tracks. As a young girl, I watched my dad drive away from our home and leave for good. The Lord used this verse to help me realize that Jesus loves me more than anyone will ever love me. I never have to live my life in fear that a day will come when He, my Abba, decides He’s had enough of me. There is NOTHING that I can do that will cause God to leave me. He sent His Son so that I could live with a guarantee that His love never fades.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Getting Your Praise On While You Exercise! Who knew?!

Years back when I first started running, I realized quickly how more effective my workout was when I had something playing in my ears that helped get me moving.  Ya feel me?  I mean...I really needed to rock da beat if I was going to put myself through the misery of muscle aches and sweat.  Holla if ya hear me?  At first, I created a list of jams from my high school and college days.  It was neat to reminisce at first, but I learned fast at how traveling down Memory Lane wasn't as fun as I'd thought it would be.  Then, I started downloading songs from what I heard on the radio.  And while I'll agree with those who think radio jams help in getting you to shake your tailfeather, I found some of the songs a bit much.  We all know a little bit of Britney can go a long way, right?  Plus, for me, some of those songs made my head go to places it just shouldn't be going.  Anybody hear what I'm saying?  So, with that being said, I created a list of songs that first and foremost, get your booty moving, and secondly, they're good for your soul, too.  Bonus!  So, behold my list of Jesus Jog Jams.  It's my go-to every time.  Thought I'd share the love...just in case you're needing to get your praise on while exercising.  It can be done, people.  Enjoy.

Linds' Jesus Jog Jams:
1.Don't Waste Your Life (feat. Cam, Dwayne Tryumf) - Lecrae
2.Live Free (feat. Sho Baraka, Jai) - Lecrae
3.Get Loose (feat. Trip Lee & Lecrae) - 116 Clique
4.Go Buck - Flame Our World
5.Our God - The Cross Movement
6.Ooh Ahh (feat. tobyMac) - Grits
7.He Did That - KJ-52
8.NY2LA - Press Play
9.Pep Rally - Princess With A Purpose
10.Shackles - Mandisa
11.Chase That (Ambition) - Lecrae
12.Get 'em High - Big Al
13.Hold Me (feat. tobyMac) - Jamie Grace
14.Stomp - Kirk Franklin's
15.I Refuse - Josh Wilson
16.Jamaican Praise Medley - NewWorldSon
17.Manifesto - The City Harmonic

P.S.  If you need a song that will bring you to your knees while also keeping you motivated to work out, I highly recommend Mercyseat by Travis Cottrell's praise band.  It will make you worship the Lord in rare form.  Guaranteed!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Life Lately

OK, y'all, let's lighten things up a bit.  Shall we?  I'm so thankful to the World Wide Web for giving us access to create blogs and share our lives with anyone who cares to know, and I love being able to use this blog to share my thoughts, issues and concerns.  But this post is dedicated to just normal everyday mundane life happenings.  Aren't you excited?  I bet you're sitting on pins and needles.  Lately...

1.  Everyone of our family members has been sick.  It started with the 2 older boys two weeks ago.  First my oldest got sick; then his brother.  We had a few days where everyone seemed to be getting better until the hubs came home sick one day after work.  A couple of days later, I got the same thing, and a couple days after that, the baby got sick.  You can imagine how thrilled I was yesterday when my middle child start running fever.  I nearly slit my throat.

2.  We have a chihuahua named Honey.  She's 11-years-old, a whopping 4 pounds, and really keeps to herself.  She's great with the kids.  She's not one of those yappin' kind of chihuahuas and before we had kids, she was the center of our world.  I've felt guilty about how since having kids the attention we give her amounts to a grand total of ZERO.  OK, I really don't feel guilty.  She's cute.  She's sweet.  She's well behaved.  Except for one tiny (NOT tiny) thing - she pees on the carpet in my son's room.  I never can catch her in the act, but there are several spots in his room that I can't get rid of because she sneaks in there when we're not watching and pops a squat.  I'm at my wits end, y'all!  I can't get rid of the stains, the smell.  Someone please help me!!

3.  Baseball season has kicked off 'round here and I couldn't be more excited!  My oldest had his first game last week, and my other sweet boy will start practice in a couple of weeks.  His tee ball schedule will kick off in May.  I knew it was going to be a challenge for me when every time my oldest hit the ball, I would yell at the top of my lungs.  Everyone looked at me because it wasn't an actual game; it was just practice.  Don't you know how proud my husband is to sit beside me at an actual game?!  Just look for the crazy woman in the stands with a baseball jersey that reads Baseball Mom on the back.  Did I mention my amazing collection of baseball jewelry?

Well, that should be enough for now.  Riveting, I know.  Now that you're caught up, life can begin again.  ;)  Thank you to the person who actually reads this blog.  You know who you are; the one who shares my same last name.  Hope life is great with you.  Remember, Jesus is the answer and His Word will change your life.  Holla!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Justifying Faith

If you were asked to justify your faith in Jesus Christ, could you do it?  What would you say?  Would it take you a few minutes to get your words together?  Or would you instantly answer a question WITH a question?  Perhaps your reaction would be, Well, why don't YOU justify your faith in Jesus Christ to ME.  In an effort to avoid the question, you might go into a nervous explanation of Evolution vs. Creation.   Perhaps, you'd start comparing Christianity to other world religions in order to justify your faith.  But if that's what you do, then you've still misunderstood the task at hand.  Remember, you've been asked to justify YOUR faith in JESUS CHRIST.  In other words, what would you say if someone asked you why you chose to believe Jesus IS who you say He IS.  Why do you believe IN Him?  Why do you choose to follow Him?  What makes you believe in all of this Jesus stuff in the first place?

The reality is most of us who grew up in the Bible Belt could spout off a ton of Biblical facts on Jesus.  We could tell you about His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection.  We could recount Bible stories and may even be able to throw out some memory verses.  But if you asked us to tell you how Jesus is involved in our personal lives, we'd quickly start to skirt the issue.  You'd see some of us start to squirm.  Many of us would have blank looks on our faces.  It would be downright hard to tell you how Jesus is part of our personal lives.  And why would that be hard, you may ask?  Well, the answer is easy.  It would be hard to explain to you how Jesus is part of our everyday lives because He just plain isn't.  Of course, we know many facts about Him.  But relationally?  We'd have nothing.  This is the sad truth for many self-proclaiming Christians.

How do I know this?  Because I was one for many years.  It was quite easy for me to tell you Biblical facts on Jesus or any other major Christian theme - Creation, Faith, The Trinity.  But to confirm and explain how Jesus was in my life, controlling my life, and driving my life....I just wouldn't have been able to do it.  Because He wasn't.  He just wasn't.

It wasn't until just a few years ago where I had a realization about Jesus Christ.  And so it goes that everything before that moment, I like to label as Pre-Realization so that everything after that moment can be accurately labeled as Post-Realization.  My entire life, through college and into my young adult years, I simply lived my life for me.  I knew many facts about the Lord, but facts without commitment mean nothing.  I wasn't committed to the Lord.  I had no idea what it meant to truly NEED Him in my life.  I knew what history said He did for me.  I knew He had made atonement for my sins when He died on the cross.  But for me, that knowledge didn't make an impact.  It didn't make an impact, because I kept making decisions over and over that spiritually spit in God's face.  Jesus wasn't enough for me to honor Him in my relationships.  He wasn't important enough for me to honor Him with the things I chose to put into my body.  I sure wasn't convinced that He was worth telling others about.  That would've been too risky. 

I remember in college I sensed the Lord calling me to step out of the life I was leading.  I was making some VERY poor choices in a relationship I was in.  I was aware of God's voice.  I heard Him telling me to leave this lifestyle behind.  So, for a short while, I did.  I left the relationship I was in.  I made some drastic decisions that took me out of the social scene I had been apart of.  And for the first time, in a long time, I felt free.  The weight of my dark lifestyle had lifted.  For once, I felt like I was heading in the right direction.  One evening, I attended my weekly sorority meeting.  Some of us were discussing our plans for the week, and as several of my sisters were making plans to attend a very big fraternity party scheduled that week, I will never forget what one of my closest friends said about me to the group.  She said, "Well we know Lindsey won't go with us to the party.  She's going through another one of her religious phases." 

You see?  Total and complete surrender to Christ brings many risks.  People will not understand your decision.  They will see the change in you and will be offended by it.  You will make them uncomfortable.  They will judge you and criticize you.  They will mock you and make fun of you.  They will call you names.  And some will do whatever it takes to defame your new found Christian character.  It took me years to figure that out.  As soon as my friend made that claim against me, that was all it took for me to return right back to my old ways. 

Years later, after running from the Lord became too hard, it was during that time when I FINALLY realized how desperate I was for Jesus.  It wasn't until then that I truly and literally surrendered my life.  I finally gave the Lord ALL of me.  Not just some parts but the whole package now belonged to Him.  There were many circumstances (some good, some bad) that brought me to this realization.  I could share them with you, but what I've come to know is that it's never about our circumstances.  It's always about what God does through our circumstances. 

I can justify my faith in Jesus Christ by acknowledging that I simply would not be who I am today had it not been for what Christ did in my life.  There are things that have happened that no human could explain.  The peace, the joy, the restoration that has taken place in my heart is nothing short of a miracle.  There's only one way to explain it - Jesus.  He did that.  For me.  And it is now up to me to share with as many people as I can what Jesus has done for me.  And what He wants to do for them.  For you.

In my life, He's turned my trash into treasure, my pain into praise, my fear into faith, and my story into a song worth sharing.  All of it points to Him.  He is so worth it, friends.  Now, it's your turn.  Can YOU justify YOUR faith in Jesus Christ?  What has He done for you?  Or better yet, what hasn't He done?


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scripture Memory Verse 8

Has it been 8 already?!  The only reason I can keep that straight is because I know my next verse in Psalm 139 is verse 8.  Time sure is flying by and quickly.  Here is my next verse.

"If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there." -Psalm 139:8

Can't wait to hear from you.  Keep on memorizing!  His Word is LIFE!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Holy Week is over.  Another Easter Sunday has come and gone.  Good Friday was the most amazing day for me this year.  Yet, it is now apart of history.  Resurrection Sunday brought an overwhelming and quite unexpected amount of emotions.  Alas, it is in the past just like all the other Easter Sundays of my short life.

As I enter another ordinary week, I can't help but to be sad at how ordinary everything feels.  So many spent last week observing Holy Week and what it meant, both individually and historically.  And while Resurrection Sunday gave us so much to celebrate, it unnerves me at how fast we get back to our ordinary lives.  We give little to almost no thought of the significance of the Cross as we pack our kids' lunches, send them off to school, put another load of laundry in the machine, make our grocery list, and wash the dog.  It seems like such an odd match.  To go from celebrating our Risen Lord to washing dishes.  To go from acknowledging that He is, in fact, ALIVE to mopping the sticky kitchen floor.  Only once a year do we take time (and not even all of us do this) to thank God for the sacrifice,  to mourn Christ's death on the Cross, and to celebrate His glorious resurrection. 

What's worse than only spending one day a year acknowledging this historical event?  That we spend weeks leading up to Easter shopping for outfits so that each family member will look his/her best.  Finding the perfect outfit with the perfect spring color combination is key.  And we buy eggs filled with candy for our childrens' class Easter Egg Hunts.  We ask the Easter Bunny to come visit our homes.  We even stuff ourselves with food made especially for our families at Easter family celebrations.  Lord KNOWS, I do all of this "stuff," too!  NOTHING is wrong with any of it.  It's just that, for most of us, that's where it stops.  That's usually where our celebration of this miraculous holiday stops.  Through all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday, just like at Christmas, we pour our energy, money and time into the things that have ZERO eternal significance.  All the while, we let this time of year pass us by giving no thought to the true, miraculous, earth shattering, and eternity altering event that took place close to 2000 years ago. 

And here's what we often forget - had it not taken place, the Cross I mean, the term hopeless would take on another entire dimension.  Those who choose to "not believe" in God - they, too, have NO idea of what it feels like to live outside the goodness of God.  Even the non-believers are shown God's grace everyday just by being allowed to wake up and breathe another breath of air.  Those of us who choose to believe and those of us who choose NOT to believe, we are ALL shown the love and grace of God everyday of our lives.  It is simply because everything that happens to us that is good is from above.  Everything, all of it.  Can you breathe?  It's because of God.  Do you have a job?  It's because of God.  Are you healthy?  It's because of God.  Can you put your two feet on the ground and walk?  It's because of God.  Do you have clean underwear to put on your freshly showered body?  It's because of God. 

And everything good that happens to us is not only because of God, but it is because of what God allowed to happen on the Cross some 2000 years ago.  Without it, everything we know about our lives and about this world would change.  I don't know where you found yourself this Easter.  I don't know where you are finding yourself today now that another Resurrection Sunday has come and gone.  What I do hope is that you realize that what was done on the Cross was FIRST, for God, and SECOND, for you.  What will ultimately matter is what you decide to do with that realization.  Don't waste your life not knowing.  Ignorance is not bliss, my friend.  Ignorance, for some, means only one thing - hell. 

If you...
1.  Just aren't sure what all this Cross hype is about, watch the following.
2.  Know what all this Cross hype is about, but you are struggling with making it have a real impact in your life, watch the following.
3.  Are certain and unnerved by what the Cross hype is about - if you are moved and grateful and thankful, watch the following anyway.  You'll need the reminder.

Kingdom: A Journey Through Matthew by David Platt


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What Being A Vegetarian & Following Christ Have In Common

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and CEO, announced on his very own Facebook page his choice to become a vegetarian for an entire year.  He stated that he likes to eat meat and in fact, eats it almost everyday.  He went on to say that he would only eat meat from an animal that he, himself, killed.  He announced this decision by indicating his desire to honor the lives of the millions of animals who give their lives everyday so that others can eat.

Now, as you take a moment to chew on this nugget of information (no pun intended), let me say that I can relate to Mark's rationale behind his new lifestyle choice. 

Although I'm not sure of Mark's spiritual journey nor do I have any idea of his belief in God or not, I was struck at how his choice to practice a healthier way of eating looked a lot like the reason why I choose to live my life the way I do.  When I made the choice to become a Christian, all I had to do was one simple thing - believe.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life," says John 3:16 (NIV).  Believing this verse to be true made me just that - a believer.  But the Bible goes on to say that even the demons believe in Jesus.  They even know of His true existence.  Surely there is more to this Christian thing than just believing, right?

After reading Mark Zuckerberg's post, it hit me.  Just like he made the very extreme choice to only eat meat from an animal he killed, himself.  Just like he made this very extreme choice as a way to honor animals who give their lives everyday so that others can eat.  So have I...except that my decision doesn't involve my diet.  I, too, have chosen to live my life in honor of someone who has given His life, as well.  Jesus.  His name is Jesus.  And years ago, He gave His life for me.  He suffered because of my sins.  It was something He had to do so that I could be forgiven, so that I could live with Him, so that I could know Him. 

John 3:16 emphasizes the importance of believing.  But it doesn't stop there.  I mentioned already that the inhabitants of hell believe.  There's more.  Jesus said in Luke 9:23 (NIV), "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  In order for John 3:16 to have true meaning in my life, then I must be willing to do Luke 9:23.  Believe, realize life is not about me, realize that everything is about Jesus, and follow.  John 3:16 is about believing.  Luke 9:23 is about following.  Jesus was made to carry His cross to His death.  The cross isn't just about His death.  It's not even JUST about the physical suffering He had to endure.  It's about the entire process.  It's about His miraculous birth.  It's about His life leading to His death.  It's about how He was betrayed.  It's about how He was hated and mocked and beaten.  It's about the crown of thorns pushed down into His skull.  It's about Him being made to carry that cross with bleeding stripes on His back up the hill to His place of death.  It's about the nails hammered into His hands and feet.  It's about the pain He suffered while hanging on the cross.  But mostly, it's about the hours He had to endure while His Father turned His back so that His only Son could carry the weight of the world's sin as He hung on the cross. 

"After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life, and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.  For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." -Isaiah 53:11,12b (NIV)

Being a Christian is more than believing.  It involves commitment.  It requires sacrifice.  It's about following.  Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg for this beautiful anecdote.  It couldn't have been more perfect.  Just like Mark chooses to honor others with his healthy eating.  I choose to honor the ONE who gave His life for me.  It's not easy.  It doesn't come without obstacles or resistance.  But it's worth it.  He's worth it.  He's worth it because I was worth Him dying.  But praise God!  His plan didn't stop there.  Jesus is alive!  The love He had for me, for this world, helped Him conquer the grave.  "What kind of love says that I'm the reason He can't stay inside the grave," Natalie Grant sings in her song Alive.

What kind of love?  Only the kind that matters.  Love that comes from the blood of Christ shed on the cross for you and for me.  Love that conquered His death.  Love that sits at the right hand of God.  Love that commands that we share it with the world.  This Love has a name and His name is Jesus.


Don't just believe.  Follow.  Follow Jesus.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Remedy

It's no wonder many of us travel through life feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances.  We move from one crisis to the next hanging on by a thread.  Our emotions shift from sadness to exhaustion to depression to fear.  We'll cling to a friend's advice.  We'll grab the self-help book off of the shelf.  We may even venture to church on the occasional Sunday desperate to hear a hopeful message.  We're always surprised when we forget the advice of our friend, disappointed when the methods in our self-help book do all but deliver.  And that warm fuzzy feeling that came over us in Sunday morning church quickly fades sometimes before we even make it to the car in the parking lot as we exit the church building.

What if I told you I had a remedy?  What if I told you I had the answer to overcoming sadness, conquering fear, finding true joy and peace?  Would you listen?  Better yet, would you do what I suggest?  What if I told you that if you would only do what I recommend, then it is quite possible that you will find purpose in life?  That you might even make some new friends along the way?  That what I suggest you do might even change who you are for the better?  Are you convinced?  Have I peaked your interest enough?

Here is my recommendation.  In order to have purpose, to experience true joy, to overcome obstacles such as sadness, fear and depression, simply...

Serve others.

That's it.  Figure out a way to forget about yourself and put the needs of others ahead of your own.  Love people especially the ones who are hard to love.  They need it the most.  Look around you.  What needs to be done?  Who needs help?  What about those who try to act like they have it all together but you suspect they need love and friendship more than they know?  Who is going through a hard time around you?  Is someone ill?  Has someone lost a loved one?  Do you have a lonely neighbor, co-worker or family member?  Is there someone in your life with whom you haven't spoken?  Would you consider reconciliation?

Jesus didn't spend very many years walking among humans.  On His resurrection day, he was merely 33-years-old.  Most every minute of His time on planet Earth was taken up with serving others.  And in the very few moments we read about in the Bible where He does experience real human emotions - fear (Gethsemane), pain (Calvary), betrayal (Passover) - He always went to the Father in prayer.  Always. Every time.

Let me ask you.  Have you prayed about it as much as you've talked about it?  As much as you've cried about it?  As much as you've raged about it?

Let me also ask you.  When was the last time you did something for someone other than yourself?  And while I have your attention let me offer you a piece of reality.  If you wait to serve others until you actually feel like it, you will never do it.  Ministry is not about feelings.  It's messy.  It's rocky.  It's scary.  It's risky.  But it's what was modeled for us through Jesus Christ.  Jesus didn't just show up for ministry on Sunday mornings wearing His finest suit with a box of donuts in hand.  He didn't stand at the coffee maker with a smile on His face asking everyone how their work week went.  He didn't attend a Sunday School class or pass an offering plate or play the organ or count the offering.

NO!  His feet were dirty from all His travels.  His legs were weary as He walked from one town to the next healing, preaching, and serving.  His friends were few but they were dear.  His enemies were many only because Truth hurts.  He was hated.  He was loved.  He was mocked.  He was embraced.  He was betrayed.  He was beaten.  He was even murdered.  But, He is risen!

Don't make His time on this planet and the lessons He taught humankind and the sacrifice He made on the cross all be for nothing.  As you celebrate Easter this week, be reminded of what Christ did for you.  Why?  Because He loves you.  And He needs others to know of His love, as well.  Which brings me back to the original purpose of this post.  How will others know?  How will you come to experience it for yourself? 


That's all,