Monday, June 30, 2008

Joy Abundant!

The day started early as I anticipated the call from my sweet friend. She was coming early for our weekly girl talk/ praise and prayer time. Time flies so fast when we are together. We made sure to leave a half hour to pray and once again found ourselves looking at the clock and rushing to our next appointments.

My next stop was my semi-anual brunch with a friend, our birthdays being Nov and May, it works out fab for us to catch up. Today we did discuss doing quarterly meetings since we went into "overtime"! We had pancakes with apples and cinnamon. They were soaked in maple syrup. Good to the last bite, er, last bite we could fit in. Two cakes and we couldn't do it! But our conversation was unstoppable.

We met at 10 and left at 1:30. I think we stood outside over an hour. Our connection goes way back when our family moved to this town and she had an ad at the public library for homeschoolers. The first time I called her our conversation was unstoppable. We've been hitting it hard ever since. Though I only homeschooled for five years, we have managed to maintain our connection.

I got home and thought "where do I start?" How could I top the first half a day with satisfying conversation and time to pray? Ahh, I hadn't really had my time with Jesus and the day was beautiful, sunny, beckoning. Yes, I do still own a two piece, but I only put it on when no one is around. I dusted off the lounge chair and went and laid in the sun and soaked up truth from the love letter of God. I have been behind in my one year Bible since going out of town, so I was able to catch up. As I was covering my family in prayer, I drifted off...

Sunnyside up! Fortunately, I didn't burn, just a little color. It was a wonderful little retreat.
Blessed and grateful!

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Friends from She Speaks

It's quite obvious in the following photos that we were "at table" alot. They fed us well. My favorite story is when the plate was covered, I lifted it up and exclaimed "What is that?" about the smallest (half of a) chicken I had ever seen. I asked if they always served such little chickens in the south and apparently they do. We grow our own at home and they average 9 lbs (a bit closer to a turkey). It was good chicken.

Some friends I met and am getting to know a little bit better as I have a chance to read their blogs. What a great experience!! Howdy Y'all!!

On the left is my roomie Robin of Robinznest over on my sidebar, next to Robin is me and my squinty-eye smile (I always get in trouble with the photographers..."don't squint so much when you smile!!") and on the right my other roomie is Nancy who doesn't have a blog (yet!) and another new friend.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Returning home

Upon returning to the airport @ 1:10am, and having her sister wake up to get her and offer her hospitality (bed & breakfast upon waking)

she sleeps @ 3am, she gets up @ 7...she visits (her parents and sisters before driving home). She shops (groceries on the way). She texts (her son to see when he comes home from work). She cleans (they didn't do too bad!) She prays (with a friend in need) She waters (over dry plants). She sweeps, she weeds, she unpacks, she visits her husband, she praises in the middle of all of it, and all the while is waiting for her quiet time alone with Jesus...ahh

The confrence was jam packed full of amazing stories of God's love and grace and enabling of His people to glorify Him with His abundant gifts.

My own experience is one of God's stories. To go stay with 2 people I have never met, (and enjoy them tremendously!) To have peace all the way through, for this anxiety-prone girl was a miracle. I told hubby I could tell a thousand women were praying for this confrence.

Beautiful. That is what I came away with. God's girls are beautiful! They radiate love, and faith, and grace. They exude the fragrance of joy, and peace, and hope. Our desires are for Jesus to be magnified through our tiny little lives. What a privelege. What a glorious honor to be united with the King of Kings and called to take His message to our little corner of the world.

When I was doing all those things on Monday afternoon, the Lord was speaking to me about the fact that all we do speaks. It says something. Our lives speak. Our actions, our words, our looks, our choices, our priorities, our passions. All of what we are and do speaks to those around us.

I recalled Lysa talking about being in preparation in the ordinary things of life, like David tending the sheep. I remembered a verse saying "who despises the day of small things?" to Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4:10. Here the Lord was talking to Zerubbabel about the things that He was going to do through him (not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord" (verse 6) The promise that not only had he laid the foundation, but he would complete the temple he was building. Isn't that what we are in process of too?

This morning I had to study for a test for an online class I have been taking. The opening prayer in one chapter read as follows:

Lord, we consecrate ourselves to you; we sanctify ourselves without regard to divisions! Build us together with those who love You as we do! Make us a living temple and then draw all men, even all nations, unto Yourself. (scripture refrences 2 Chr 5:11-14; Eph 2:21,22.)

As I meditated on that, I thought that was what we were doing! We had set apart ourselves and the weekend without regard to divisions-in Chronicles the divisions were the tribes of Israel, while @ She Speaks it could be denominational divisions or locational divisions. We were being built together with those who love the Lord, and He was/is making of us a living temple to draw others to Himself.

Glory, Glory!!

At first I felt as if I had to go full speed ahead and make sure I utilized everything I learned so I wouldn't forget/or have spent the money in vain. God corrected me quickly in my heart...It is my work. Wait on Me. Yes, His yolk is easy. I am His. I wait.

What delight it was to meet friends from our little blog world. are so sweet, thank you for letting me room with you. I enjoyed our talks past midnight...

Angie, you and your sister are the cutest girls with beautiful smiles. I am so glad we got to meet face to face and hug. I'll never forget sitting there telling the Lord how I wanted to meet you and then turning around seconds later and looking in your face. Praise Him! As soon as I get photos in the computer, I'll post a pic of clouds that look like snow-covered mountains in Alaska. Yes, I got to see the glory of God in the friendly skies on Sunday. I was in awe...

And now, it is time for she sleeps...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

She Speaks

Okay, so I am doing two posts in one day. Amazing for me. I have been feeling a bit silent lately. I think quiet in all areas of my life as if I am waiting for my next assignment. My children are independent, in that Ethan has his wheels now-and a job or two. Our small group disbands for the most part for the summer. My Bible study is in somewhat of limbo for difficulty of coordinating schedules. There is no Sunday School. I am in waiting...

The She Speaks confrence is Friday. I am flying by myself into North Carolina. I am rooming with two "sistas" who I have only met by email, but am very grateful to have gotten roomates and a room in the confrence hotel (as opposed to one where I would have to shuttle) I was a last minute registrant. When I first learned of the confrence, it was full. I was put on a waiting list and eventually recieved an email that they had made more openings. I knew that the Lord wanted me to go...

I have to admit, I have had a vision or desire to speak, and have had a few small opportunities at my church, I have always thought about writing a devotional or ???(back of my mind) but mostly I have been leading Bible Studies and teaching Sunday School for 14 years. I have also had a vision of having a women's confrence in our town, but all of that is in "waiting" mode too. I think the Lord wants me at the confrence to increase or add to the vision He has for my life. I am very excited, and have no real expectations except to hear from Him and recieve "further instsructions". I am also really excited to meet women whom I have seen or touched base with in this blog world. It has been a very enriching experience to read God's stories in the lives of so many women.

I have been looking around at the blogs listed in the May 28th post on the Proverbs 31 blog. There is a list of some of the gals attending (I guess there are 500 attendees total!) Some have lost husbands within the last year (way too early) some have health issues with children, some have alot of children!! One has come through severe car accident/coma and all of them love Jesus and know Him and His power at work in their lives. What could be more powerful than a bunch of us together? (ooh, I just envisioned a boquet of flowers giving off a wonderful aroma and being very beautiful) I am so exciteed to go and grow and glean from one another. I am so looking forward to what the Lord is going to do among us.

Father, Praise you for our family of believers- it is so vast!! I await your amazing grace this weekend to do amazing things in the lives of your daughters! I pray a hedge of protection over all of us and our families. I pray that all flights would be smooth. I pray that we will all arrive on time and not lose our luggage. Meet us there and fill us with more of you! Ignite our hearts! Draw us near! Revive us and help us to be built up in our faith and love. Thank you that the weather looks like it will be nice in NC. May your will be done among us! In Jesus' beautiful name, Amen.

Teen Challenge

It has become a Father's Day tradition at our church to have Teen Challenge come and sing for the past four years. If you are not familiar with the ministry, it was started by David Wilkerson after the events of "The Cross and the Switchblade". Our Lord Jesus uses this ministry to rubuild lives that are broken beyond what most of us would ever imagine.

So they come and testify and sing. It is so moving, I cried rivers of tears. Especially since one of the beautiful girls is a best friend's daughter. We have prayed faithfully for a year and a half for her deliverance. She entered the program in January, and has made wonderful strides week by week. She was broken and is being rebuilt. ONLY JESUS can do that!! Perhaps I can share more in the future with her permission.

One man is in, not for drug use, but for beating his wife. She was in attendance and he cried when he thanked God for her staying with him. It was very profound to see this man publicly apologizing to her and humbly giving thanks to God for restoration. There is such beauty in people being transparent about their weaknesses and thanking God for what only He can do.

The statistics are amazing. We were told that daily Teen Challenge (Minneapolis office) recieves on average 45 calls for application. Minnesota alone has over 400 in the program with 3 campuses. Imagine, this is their 50th year anniversary. There are over 1000 Teen Challenge ministries worldwide. The miracles God has done accumulatively over the years through this program must be staggering. What wondrous love!!

Please pray for the program and if you ever know anyone in need, refer them to Teen Challenge.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Sword and The Shield

Last year I read a very good book. One of the best ones I have ever read. It is called "A Life of Conquest" (studies in Joshua) by Paul W. Downey. BJU Press.

Joshua is a wonderful role model. He had the faith (along with Caleb) that the others didn't have...he hung out with the lead man and gleaned from his (Moses') experiences. Like Elisha with Elijah, he recieved the Spirit that was on his mentor to a higher degree. Scripture says that Elisha recieved a double portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah. Joshua had the benefit of watching Moses and learning from his experiences, and getting to know God. God had prepared him to be strong and courageous. He was a man of great faith.

In an aritcle entitled "The Power of Impartation", Francis Frangipane writes about the impartation of the Spirit from one to another, look it up if you get a chance...

So getting the point I wanted to address today...Just as in the book of Joshua, God had given the land to the Israelites (Promise) They had to go in and take the land by conquest. They fought, not for victory, but from victory. They had to fight (in the strength of God) for the fulfillment of the Promise of God, which was active proof of their faith. It was also out of reverence and honor to God which was proven in their obedience. Trust and Obey...

Just as the Israelites in the Old Testament fought for their promised land, so we New Testament Believers must put on our armor (Eph 6) and fight the fight of faith for the ground we have been promised. The difference being our weapons are not the weapons of the world, but the weapons of Truth (the Sword of the spirit is the Word of God) and prayer.

There are fierce battles raging in my life and in lives around me. I have learned what it is to "pour out your heart like water before the Lord" (it comes out your tear ducts while laying on your face!) I have learned to labor in prayer to birth the fruit of the promise...I am learning how faithful God is to hear and answer in such amazing ways. Truly we are daily seeing ground be taken from the enemy. The battle is tiring sometimes, but the rewards are so worth the labor. To God be the glory, great things He has done...! Iam not at liberty to share any details at this time, but some day soon, I hope to be able to.

Father, help us be diligent and persevere in prayer and the proclaimation of your promises. Thank you that you never fail to keep them. Your Word is true, and we can stand on it! O, Mighty God who loves to show Himself faithful on behalf of His people...Praise and glory to you!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ramblings of a Nastalgic Mom

We sent Kayla off to be a core counselor at our church camp last Sunday. It seems like yesterday when I went up as a counselor her 4th grade year. Where have the years gone? I was telling a friend the other day that if I had more kids I wouldn't be so nastalgic about things right now as I would have the younger ones to focus on. I keep finding myself pondering the past, recalling as much as I can and cherishing the memories. Not that that is bad, but it becomes a little meloncholy when you are entering a phase of life that is...quieter.

When Ethan got his license in March, I felt like my hands suddenly became empty. I don't have to (get to???) go pick him up after track practice. He can drive himself to his weekend events, I can go to bed before midnight on the weekends. (I didn't say I actually do....) I can have him get things for me when he is out (if I somehow remember to ask him:-d and send him money!)

Sunday we had a big breakfast together. We invited Kayla's boyfriend, and had a few laughs together as we usually do. Then we went out on the porch, the day was sunny, the lilacs and the crabapple trees were filling the air with their sweet fragrance, birds were singing their songs, and we took turns praying for her. She had tears, and then, you guessed did I. I know, I know, it's not like she is leaving for good!! She will be back in August, but it was the sweetness of the moments and the longings of a mother's heart fulfilled. A daughter who loves the Lord and follows His call. Our family praying together-the sweet love of Jesus binding our hearts together.
It was somehow satisfying, as if I had just completed a part of a series of artwork or a book. There are other pieces to come, I know, but you get the picture.

Now that I have reached "the hill" 3 (get it?) I realize I have as much to look back on as look forward to. The forward isn't quite as exciting as it is in your 20's or 30's. But life is sweet because I can see the hand of God more clearly, and rest in Him comes a bit easier. Faith is stronger, because experience is a wonderful teacher. The Holy Spirit reveals more as the years go on. I finally see that His work is ongoing and He makes progress faithfully (it hasn't always felt like it, and actually I have felt at times I have lost ground...but Praise God that He doesn't even waste that!!)

God is good. That's the conclusion of this rambling message. I love Him and I am glad He is my Lord!