Monday, September 22, 2014

Grace Ambulance COME QUICKLY!

I've been reminded lately of a few things I had forgotten.  I thought...I bet I'm not the only one who can get busy and distracted and caught up in all kinds of things that don't really matter.  And so I thought it might be nice to be reminded of a few things YOU may have forgotten.

Motherhood does not equal perfection.  Nor is it easy.  Or even fun (sometimes).  Motherhood could actually be translated to mean grace needed, grace given, grace wanted, Grace Ambulance COME QUICKLY!

Church Family
Career Choice
Big Decisions
LIFE in general...

DOES NOT equal perfection.  Nor is it easy.  Or even fun (sometimes).  Any hardship, any aspect of this life we live could actually be translated to mean grace needed, grace given, grace wanted, Grace Ambulance COME QUICKLY!

God made you.  God loves you.  God does NOT make mistakes.  Life is messy.  Life is hard.  But you, my friend, are a Beautiful Mess.  And those things that make us completely inadequate are sweet reminders from God that you can NOT do this thing called life without Him.  THIS I know...even in my darkest hour...He was there for me and He is there for you.  No one is a friend like Jesus.  Happy Monday!

I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121:1-3

Monday, July 28, 2014

Growing Up Is Not Easy

As a kid, I would look at other grown-ups and envy the lives they had.  With awe and wonder, I would say to myself, "I can't wait to be grown!"  Because as a kid, I thought adults...

Stayed up as late as they wanted.

Never had homework.

Never had to follow rules.

Could eat whatever they wished.

Always were right.

Always made the right decision.

Never had problems.

Well!  Now that I, myself, am an adult...I now know that my impression of other adults was...let's just say...a bit off.  As an adult, I realize I CAN stay up as late as I want, but it comes with a price.  I might not have homework, but oh what I would do to trade my current responsibilities for a little homework!  I DO have to follow rules and when I break them, my consequence is a bit more than a time out or a detention after school.  Sure, I can eat whatever I want, but I know it's not healthy and please don't get me started on being fat!  I am NOT always right.  In fact, I'm hardly right.  And I've had my share of poor decisions and have definitely been on the consequential receiving end of other adults in my life making wrong decisions.  And problems?  Don't we all have problems?!

As a kid, I used to also think that adults had so much confidence.  They knew who they were.  They had plans and goals.  The women in my life seemed so confident and happy.  The men in my life were protectors, steady, strong in their beliefs.  And I trusted them.  They never could do wrong in my eyes.  They were safe.  And they walked with the Lord. 

Yet, now that I am an adult, I feel like the older I get, the less confident I am.  Happiness is just a feeling.  It's joy that I want.  Joy that comes only from God.  AND it's something I have to pursue.  The people I trusted so much as a kid have disappointed me or passed away.  Trust has been shattered.  Good people have mad bad choices.  And some have completely walked away from the Lord.

And here's the kicker...I have disappointed others, hurt others, angered others.  I've failed over and over as a parent.  I've walked away from the Lord.  Returned.  Walked away.  Returned again.  I've lost the trust of others, made bad choices, sinned against others, and sinned against a God I cherish.  And if I'm not careful, I can let the enemy (Satan) convince me of who he thinks I am.  Along the way, I can forget who I am and Whose I am. 

Is that you today?  Have you listened to so many lies about yourself that you now actually believe those lies to be truth?  Lies about who you are.  Lies about what you do.  Lies about your marriage, your friendships, your children.  What about the young folks in your life?  Do they look at you with the same awe and wonder as I mentioned above?  Others are watching us.  I wonder what message we are sending. 

As I close, I pray you ask God to show you who you are in Him today.  I am doing the same.  And so far, I 've learned and I choose to believe that...

*I am complete in Him Who is the Head of all principality and power.

*I am alive with Christ.

*I am free from the law of sin and death.

*I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me.

*I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me.

*I am holy and without blame before Him in love.

*I have the mind of Christ.

*I have the peace of God that passes all understanding.


*"Knowing Who I Am In Christ" -Joyce Meyer

Friday, June 27, 2014

Who's Your Enemy?

Um, wow!  Hello!  It's been a long time!  I'm not even sure if I remember how to put a subject and verb together these days.  I don't have a real good reason for my absence but that's OK because the whole three of you who read this blog won't care either way.  Hi mom!  *grin* 

It's weird, but somehow along the journey of life these days, I feel like I might have lost my voice.  Does that ever happen to you?  What's crazy is nothing monumental has to happen for me to feel like that.  It just happens.  Life can be moving along just fabulously and just like that, you can feel like you've been kicked in the teeth.  Perhaps someone hurt your feelings.  Maybe it was just an unexpected glance that came your way.  Or maybe you're just not feeling your best.  You're tired more.  Maybe you've put on a few pounds.  I can relate to almost all of those.  Feelings are a funny thing.  For some of us, nothing terrible has to happen to make us feel terrible.  What's worse is when we feel sad and have no explanation for feeling sad.  Now, not only are we feeling sad, but we are also feeling guilty for not having a valid excuse to feel sad.  It's maddening, truly.

No matter if you're a spiritual person or if you even believe in the after life, I think you would agree with me that sometimes you start thinking and believing things you may not have thought or believed before.  Those thoughts and beliefs even have a voice and you can recall a time, perhaps, when you didn't hear such a voice.  With each passing day, that voice gets louder and louder and the things the voice says contradict everything you once believed about yourself.  Does that ever happen to you?

Well, I am a spiritual person and I believe that voice represents the enemy in our lives.  My enemy may look and sound different from your enemy, but the point remains the same...we have an enemy.  My enemy likes to convince me of how replaceable I am, how reject-able I am, how stupid I am.  My enemy likes to have me think I have no friends, and since my own flesh and blood had no problems completely walking out of my life sooner or later, so will my husband, and so will my kids.  My enemy likes to tell me how fat I am, how oily my skin is, and loves to point out my newest wrinkles and areas of cellulite.  My enemy tells me I'll never be pretty no matter how much exercise I do or make-up I purchase.  My enemy even tells me I'm a terrible mom for working away from home and I'm a terrible employee for wanting to be at home.  Does this ever happen to you?

I realized this morning that my enemy is only allowed to speak these things to me as much as I allow him.  And each time I allow my enemy to speak to me, I leave little to no room for Truth to speak and dwell and consume.  Because after so much time, my enemy, if I'm not careful, will just move right in.  And I'll act as though my enemy has lived there since the beginning.  That voice of Truth will become harder and harder to hear, because I love for my enemy to scream at me.  He's much more effective when he screams.  He knows I'll listen and with each comment, I become weaker and weaker.  Does this ever happen to you?

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, THERE is liberty."

Truth is bigger than my enemy.  And Truth is bigger than your enemy.  Truth desires to speak to me and speak to you.  Truth wants to live inside of me and live inside of you.  But at some point, we have to give Truth the power He deserves and tell our enemy to flee in Truth's name. 

Do that with me, will you? 

Truth says we have been fearfully and wonderfully made.  Truth says we were born with purpose and for a purpose.  Truth says there are no accidents, no mistakes when it comes to our lives.  Truth says we will not be put to shame when we put our hope in Truth.  Truth says, "Let me guide you and teach you."  Truth forgets the sins of our youth, He forgets our rebellious ways.  According to Truth's love for us, He remembers us and knows us by name.  When we keep our eyes and our focus on Truth, Truth frees us from our traps.  Truth is gracious and loving toward us.  Truth sets us free from our anguish.  Truth guards our lives, rescues us and protects us. 

Did you know that?

My Truth is my Hope and my Hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ.  He can be your Truth and your Hope, too.  All you have to do is ask. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sending Some Encouragement Your Way

This morning as I was reflecting over some things I had recently read, I was reminded of something.  Someone once told me that feelings are just feelings.  They're just...feelings!  Too often, I let my feelings dictate my actions.  And as I was recalling that piece of information this morning, I thought of something else...feelings are also deceptive.  Too often I may FEEL overwhelmed.  I may FEEL exhausted.  I may FEEL lonely or sad or even angry.  But those feelings are NOT an indication of who I am...especially of who I am in Jesus Christ.  As I prayed this morning, I asked the Lord to remind me of who I am in Him.  And that is what I hope you will do today, as well.

Please be encouraged.  We are not products of our feelings.  Feelings ARE just feelings.  And they only have as much power in our lives as we give them.  The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy and he loves to use our feelings as our biggest weapons.  Today, I pray you will defeat the enemy at his own game.  Remind him of who you are and Whose you are. 

As we celebrate Easter this week, I am overwhelmed by the thought of where I would be and who I would be had it not been for the Cross.  Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we have full access to the King of Kings.  On this day, feelings aside, my heart shouts, "Hallelujah!"  Jesus knows our names and He knows our hearts.  For we are His and He is ours...bought with the precious blood of Christ. 

Today I pray you will turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full into His wonderful face.  And know that you are His.  Happy Monday!

Monday, March 3, 2014

To My Oldest Child...

My Dearest Wade,

You just turned 9-years-old.  That is hard for me to believe as it feels like just yesterday I spent the night before you were born in prayer.  That's right, I spent the entire night praying for lots of things.  At first my prayer consisted of requests that would help me be a good are our first-born and you can imagine how scared I was at being responsible for you being so little and precious.  But as my prayer continued through the night, I started asking the Lord right then and there to do something special in your choose you, to use you, to love you, and the list went on and on.  I wish I could remember my entire prayer conversation with the Lord that night so that you can see how faithful He's been to you throughout your nine years of life, but that moment was for me and the Lord...just the two of us to share.  He heard every word I prayed that night.  I know He did because I believe God hears our prayers.  You've seen recently at just how God does, in fact, hear when we pray to Him.

We've been talking to you a long time about living your life for Jesus.  We've been praying about it for a while, too.  You've asked us to pray for you, because you told us you wanted to be ready when you made that commitment to follow Jesus with your life.  Well, just a few weeks ago, on February 5, you informed your dad and me you had finally told the Lord you wanted to live your life for His Son.  Wade, I know we've talked a lot already about this huge decision.  You know how proud we are, but I wanted to take the time to let you know in this letter just how significant that decision was/is.

You will make a lot of decisions in your life.  And you will need God's instruction on all of them.  There will be many important things to decide like making good grades, going on to college, marrying someone who loves Jesus and loves you, choosing where to live and how many kids to have, choosing a career and how to raise your children in a Godly manner.  All of those things will be important and will matter in life.  But nothing...absolutely nothing will come close to the importance of living your life for Jesus.  It is the only decision that has true eternal significance and it will serve as the foundation for all other decisions you make from this point on.  It's hard to understand's hard for grown-ups to understand, much less try to explain...but you hearing God's voice tell you to live your life for His Son was/is the most important thing that has ever happened and will ever happen to you.  Do you hear me?  The most important.

You know Satan hates that you've made this decision.  And he has already tried to make you do things that go against the nature of God.  I understand how frustrating this is, but try to see these attacks by the enemy as evidence that Christ does, in fact, reside in your heart.  A piece of Heaven, a chunk of eternity, the Holy Spirit Himself lives inside of you.  There is no greater miracle!  The devil will do his best to steal you back as one of his.  It will be a constant battle until you are Home in Heaven with Jesus.  And you can always count on your mother to storm the gates of Hell on your behalf so that the enemy will know he can't have you and he will have to deal with me as long as he tries.  You can count on that, my Wade, until Jesus calls me Home.

But you are a major part of this equation...your responsibility as a child of God is huge.  You must know that you represent Jesus now.  He is your Savior.  He lives in your heart.  And you have chosen to use His name as the way you identify who you are.  Wade Andrew Crawford, child of the King of Kings, an ambassador for Jesus Christ, a chosen servant of God to bring others to His Son, to be a fisherman of people.  There is no higher calling.  There will be nothing you do on this planet that will mean more.  That is why that right now, at nine-years-old, you seek Christ with everything you have.  You talk to Him all of the time.  You read His Word all of the time.  You tell Him everything...when you mess up, when you're angry, when you're hurting, when you're thankful...and Wade, tell Him you love Him.  Tell Him you love Him as often times as you think about it.  Because even though I love you so much, it physically hurts...Jesus loves you more.  I know!!  Crazy, right?!!  But He does.  He loves you so much that He died for you.  And now that you understand the significance of that, go and tell the world, unashamed, of how Jesus has changed your life.

I love you.  You are a treasure in my heart.  Remember what your daddy and I say...always do the right thing.  And remember Who you belong to.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Miracles Still Happen

I often find myself falling into quite a cynical state of mind.  Depending on life's circumstances, I tend to see the glass half empty instead of half full.  It's hard to explain, but negativity and the tendency to vent over something justifiable or not energizes me.  I find myself regularly thinking about days gone by and wondering at one point did I lose my softness.  The truth is...I used to be much sweeter than this.

A new year brings such a feeling of refreshment for me.  There is nothing quite as gratifying as getting to hit the reset button on life with the onset of a new year.  Living in a modern world being thrown into a face-paced culture with something technologically new right around every corner brings with it a state of blindness...not necessarily ignorance but a tendency to miss something right before my very eyes.  Couple that with a near constant state of cynicism, and I have myself a fine recipe for disaster.

As I reflect over 2013, my heart feels a mixture of emotions.  This past year has brought with it an odd mix of stress, joy, anxiety, pride, sadness, exhilaration, fear, peace, and regret.  I'm thankful that the God I so strongly believe in sees beyond my human-ness and helps me dig down to a deeper part within myself.  He has helped me recognize something that I may have missed before now. 

Miracles still happen.

Sure, I could wallow around in negativity and justifiably so.  But for this new year, 2014, I have asked the Lord to take me to a deeper place with Him, a new place in our relationship where if He sees fit, will grant me the ability...

to see things the ways He sees them,

to see people the way He sees them,

and to live the way He would have me to live.

With that comes the privilege of seeing miracles happen in a modern day world.  Today, I am giving God praise for the miracles that took place in 2013...

1.  Our family witnessed many men and women's lives changed for the Kingdom of Christ during the 2013 Fishers of Men season.  The 2014 season kicks off in just one month!

2.  Our Faith Family became closer to the Lord and one another through 12 incredible mission trips completed locally and in other parts of the state.  With that came one of the most memorable moments every experienced in my almost 36 years of life...

3.  We saw countless women walk out of a gentleman's club in New Orleans with Bibles in hand and smiles on their faces as they experienced the presence of Christ right there in one of the darkest, most evil places in Louisiana.

4.  Our family survived a house fire in October.  No one was harmed and no item damaged.  While our life became very inconvenient, the miracle that took place was evident but almost missed completely...our God is alive and He still places His hands of protection on our lives everyday.
5.  And just yesterday in our small group at church...we each went around the room explaining what we'd like to see God do in our lives over the next year, but the miracle was this...instead of patting ourselves on the back for all the many things God accomplished through us over the past year, we each expressed regret for not doing more.  Hearts were filled with conviction that what had been done was not enough, and we each prayed aloud asking God to help us do MORE for the cause of Christ.

6.  My children are healthy and alive.  My youngest turned 2.  My middle son turned 6.  And my oldest just became 9-years-old.  They all have a sweetness that could only come from Heaven above. (Lord knows, it's not from me.)  The miracle is getting to see the Lord reveal Himself to them each and everyday as they fall more in love with Him everyday.

7.  And the biggest miracle of all...the creator of Heaven and Earth...the One who defied Savior Jesus lives in my heart.  A piece of Heaven resides in my very being.  There is no greater miracle.  And He lives inside of my husband's heart and my children's.  What more could I ask?!

Oh yes!  Miracles still happen.

Believe it!  Ask God to open your eyes.  I've missed so many blessings because of my cynical, most sinful heart.  Not again.  Not this year. 

Father, take me to a deeper place.  Take me "out of the ordinary into extraordinary.  This is a heart cry from my life to say I love you, Lord.  So, take me deeper!"  Take me into the glorious where I die to myself and miracles happen.  In Jesus' Name!  MAY IT BE SO! Amen!