Monthly Archives: August 2012

Five Minute Friday: Change

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Change is coming. I can feel it.

Sure, our family is always undergoing changes. That’s part of life, part of what makes a family who it is. But this change is bigger, with a much broader expanse.

I look at the world and I see us on the cusp of change, but which direction will we go?

I live in the buckle of the Bible belt, yet we aren’t exempt to the push to remove faith and true Christianity from the picture. It’s happening even here, and it makes my heart sober every time I learn of another example of how it’s happening in my own city, my own neighborhood.

Change is easy to hear about when it’s a long way away. It’s easy to shake my head and say, “That’s too bad.” as long as I can add an, “At least I don’t have to worry about it here.”

But that is no longer the case. The change pushers have worked their way here, and the Christians have gotten comfortable, not really wanting to change their easy way of life or keep themselves strong and ready for battle.

It is time for us to change. It is time for us to take a stand for Truth, for what the true character of God represents. Love? Yes. But He is also a God of justice. He is holy, and he expects the same of us. Not fluffy blanket love that doesn’t require conflict and change where the unholy is reigning.

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I adore Five Minute Fridays! You should try it, too! Head on over to Lisa-Jo Baker’s place to learn more details and to read more posts from some great women!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

I’m Having a Girl!

Yesterday was a big day in our family! We got a closer look at this little life that is growing inside me. She’s been tickling my tummy for a couple of weeks now with her stretches, and consequently stealing more and more of my heart with each movement.

In my heart I believed it was a girl, yet I couldn’t quite let myself fully believe it until the ultrasound. So as the jovial technician moved his magic wand over my stomach, I did my best to not hold my breath so long that I passed out. At first, umbilical cord kept her modest, and I willed myself to breathe.

As the tech continued to reveal her beautiful little body, I stopped caring so much about the gender. I whispered prayers of thanks as he announced that each feature looked perfect, even her size just right.

Then he gave us his official opinion – she was all girl!

A girl.

Exactly what we were both hoping for in our hearts. Beautiful and dainty, already portraying a breathtaking profile – there was our daughter.

I watched her sweet little heart beat steadily, saw her open and closer her mouth, felt her kick in protest when the wand was cramping her style. Seeing her was the greatest part of my day.

Afterward, we went to buy her her first couple of outfits, and it started sinking in for both of us. The world of girls. The accessories, layers, and shoes. The sweet ploys at successfully wrapping Daddy around her finger. (He’s still not sold that it will happen to him, but being a girl, I know better.) The talks, the princess garb, the dolls and dishes, the cute little voice and extra batting of eye lashes.

At the same time, I have a new kind of mom-worry for her. It’s not easy being a girl in this world. I know that from experience, and I add so many new prayers to my list of things to intercede to God for on her behalf.

Now the preparations really begin. I can call her by name, and I stare at her picture, savoring this last glimpse I will get of her until she comes in five months or so. And I smile that much bigger each time I feel her move because I know just a little more about her.

And I look forward to sharing a list of firsts with this little darling in the months and years to come!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

My Life is Like a Geranium at Summer’s End

I sat in the cool of the evening tonight and soaked in the beauty. A life growing inside me, a pre-schooler in full imagination mode with toys, ants, and dirt, and a peaceful and comfortable evening outdoors.

Indeed I feel blessed, joyful, serene, and grateful, but right now I just can’t seem to express it all into words properly.

I’ve been trying to describe it:

  • The discomfort that comes with pregnancy mingled with the joy at being chosen by God to raise children.
  • The exhaustion combined with the laughter over funny three year old sayings.
  • The forgetfulness along with the memories etched forever in my memory of this time in my family’s life.
  • The fear and overwhelming feelings of knowing what it means to care for a baby while excitedly planning what needs to be done to be prepared for its arrival.
  • Having busy days that leave my brain too tired to write in addition to not having compelling or entertaining stories about what’s going on in my ordinary life as a stay-at-home mom.

As I sorted through this jumbled mass of conflicting thoughts, I longed for a visual to help me understand what it is I’m feeling. It was then that my eyes moved from the clouds and trees, the ants and little boy activity, to my lone porch plant. As I took in its features after a long, hard summer of withstanding harsh conditions, I empathized.

There she sat, taking in the same beautiful evening, very much alive at her base, yet at the top, she was obviously drained. Her beautiful flowers were withered, no longer vibrant, yet holding on. Her season of bringing joy to others through her blossoms – whether they be timely words, gifts or thank yous, calls or messages, or even cute clothes and a chipper face – is moved to a dormant phase.

She hasn’t forgotten all that is important, this plant. The roots are still holding on, and the leaves continue to thrive, even if they’re not as pretty or as easy to see for passers by. The Giver of Life is nourishing her, strengthening her to push through the times that aren’t as exciting or colorful.

I may feel depleted of the ability to keep doing the things that seemed simple a few months ago, just as my geranium is no long able to produce delightful hues of pink for the neighborhood to see, but I am not dying. I am very much alive, fulfilling new needs for this specific season in the life of my family and me.

Purpose is not lost, it’s redirected to what’s important to God and those I love right now. Old passions are not forever lost, they’re just marinating, preparing for their time to re-emerge more refined.

My appreciation for this hardy little plant has only grown over this season, and tonight I thanked its simple existence for being the lesson I needed to understand what God is doing in me right now.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Meditation Mondays: A Familiar Story and Some Renewed Encouragement

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This morning in my Bible reading, I read 1 Samuel 16-17. These accounts about David being chosen as king of Israel and then defeating Goliath are familiar to Christians and non alike, but I love re-reading them from time to time to see what new insights God can bring from the portions of His Word our minds tend to gloss over because we “know that story already.”

I appreciate God humbling the “know-it-already” tendencies in my humanity. Here are the little nuggets I was either reminded of or learned this morning.

  • David wasn’t considered worthy of being brought before Samuel as a viable option for king by his own father. Yet, God knew his heart and chose him in spite of what others thought of David.
  • God used David’s talents to introduce him to King Saul. The Bible doesn’t say that David was a popular musician, but he did practice his talent in playing the harp, and it caught the ear of just the right guy (one of the king’s advisers) and the adviser remembered to mention David’s talent to the king when he needed it most.
  • David didn’t leave behind his obligations to his family even though he had obligations to the king. He went back and forth between shepherding and being the king’s personal musician and armor bearer. He wasn’t above tending sheep even when he had a coveted position in the kingdom.
  • David had already been chosen by God to become king and had a relationship with the kingdom when the whole Goliath incident came about. This means that God had already done several things in David’s life to show him He was in control of David’s future. (Note: I had some questions about this after reading the end of chapter 17 when Saul appeared to not know who David was. There are several theories on this, and even if David hadn’t met Saul yet, God had still done several things to prove His abilities to David beforehand. David referenced the lion and the bear earlier in chapter 17, for instance.)

That’s what God gave me to mull over from His Word today. What’s He encouraging and challenging you with today?

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Starting Off the Morning Right with a Desperation Prayer

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This morning I forced my sleepy eyes open when my mind realized the alarm was going off in real life rather than in my dream. I knew that staying in bed wasn’t an option, but I turned on the lamp, then snuggled under the covers for another couple of minutes, dreaming I could stay there another hour.

In a fire house a few miles away, however, my husband was awake and moving, preparing to end his shift. Motivated by the fact that he deserved to be picked up from work because he’d had his own long day with not nearly enough sleep, I pushed my feet onto the floor and reasoned with the fog in my brain that driving in this current mental state would not be safe for anyone involved.

Just as I began to see a glimmer of life from outside my fog, my phone rang. A need for a last-minute babysitter. Could they meet us at the fire station in 20 minutes?

20 minutes?!?

I’m not even dressed yet. Dash is still sleeping away. My regular babysitting job is still on for today, so I’ve got to pull it together to be on time to pick up my man as well as prepare for a day with three kids three and under in exactly no seconds.

It was in this moment when I realized it for the first time in the day. I need Jesus – desperately! In my mind, my day went from zero to crazy within five minutes after waking up. So I prayed that prayer of desperation, “God please empower me. It is impossible for me to be where I need to be, show the love I need to show, and have the energy I need to put forth with how I’m feeling in this moment.”

As the day progressed and each child shined with exceptional behavior and I watched as my husband lovingly brought shrieks of laughter to the two older kids on the trampoline when he probably would have rather taken a nap himself, I saw my desperation prayer answered beautifully, far beyond what I deserved.

When I was feeling especially weak this morning, God gave me a gift in making me realize earlier than I normally do in my morning routine that I need Him. The more days I live on this earth, I find myself daily realizing that I need Him. Each day contains some form of desperation prayer, and I’m grateful to see the variety of ways He answers each prayer. Sometimes the circumstances require even more prayers where I plead for His grace and strength, other days like this one I can utter awe and thankfulness for His presence in the details of a foggy-brained mommy.

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

 

Audio Resources

I’ve recently started looking for podcasts to listen to. Being a stay-at-home mom is a fantastic calling, and there are tons of rich words to read online and in print, but sometimes I want to hear another adult voice as I’m washing the dishes for the seventh time in a day

I love listening to music, and that is often what we do, but sometimes I find myself wanting more. I need encouragement, challenges, topics to chew on a bit, and while I know many other moms personally who are capable of providing these things, it’s just not feasible for us to have in-depth conversations over the phone in the middle of our daily chores with our kids needing our attention.

Therefore, I’ve been branching out a bit, and so far I love what I’m finding! I’ve come across two favorites.

One was inspired by what my mom used to listen to when I was a girl growing up – Focus on the Family. I greatly respect this ministry, and have heard countless episodes in the background when mom was working in the kitchen. As a child, I also looked forward to listening to the kids’ radio drama, Adventures in Odyssey, every weeknight on the radio. I look forward to continuing this tradition with my own children when they get older, and in the meantime, I’m enjoying the insights into various family issues that they discuss on the daily broadcasts. You can find their podcasts for free on iTunes, or you can go to their website, focusonthefamily.com

If you’re wanting to go directly to their podcasts of the daily episodes, this link should take you right to them.

The second resource is one that a friend introduced to me. It’s called Daily Audio Bible. Each day, you can listen to a portion of scripture from the Old Testament, the New Testament, plus a Psalm and Proverb. I’ve only known about this ministry for a short time, but I’m really impressed with the community that Brian Hardin has worked to form in this place. You can download the Daily Audio Bible app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android or you can go directly to their website and listen from there.

There’s been something special about listening to God’s Word as I’m going about my daily tasks. My son is being exposed to the reading of God’s Word as well, which is awesome, and I’m able to hear the stories of the Chronincles for the powerful accounts that they are instead of reading them while stressing about pronouncing all of the names right. (Tell me I’m not alone here.wink)

God’s Word is such a powerful tool, and I’m feeling the effects of having more of it in my life. I highly recommend you make this a part of your day-to-day routine!

What other great audio resources have you come across and learned to love? I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d share them with me and any other readers who are interested!

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.

Famine in the Land

I used to not give much thought to the brown grass of late summer crunching under my feet. It’s part of the season, but something is different this year.

This year all of the plants have been sagging under the oppression of the sun’s intensity long before August. Summer showers have become distant memories. Wild fires are actually affecting neighbors and people that I know, and fields are charred by either the sun or flames.

We are in a drought that is actually worse than the Depression Era drought.

Times are hard.

As much as I’d love to chalk it up to one of those difficult years that just happen, there’s a feeling that won’t leave me. Perhaps my fellow believers and I should be contemplating that this drought is a way that God is communicating a message that we must heed.

I realize this could sound extreme, but the more I’ve pondered the rainless days and the reports of barrenness from farmers, the more examples I recall of how God declared a clear message in this way throughout scripture.

God is in control of all things. If I say that I believe this, then I have no choice but to believe it and to consider what He could be saying to me through this.

So I’ve begun praying that I would see this dry season for what it is. I’ve been working to make it a priority to pray for my country as it is truly sliding downward at a rapid pace. I’ve been learning to humble myself before God and not have an attitude of complaining about the weather as if we deserve better, because we honestly don’t. Instead we need mercy  desperately. We need revival, and it can’t start if I’m sitting around waiting for it to rain.

Amos 8:11-12 keep running through my mind. I pray that we do not get to this point of extreme spiritual drought in our country.

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord God,
    when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the Lord.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
    and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,
    but they shall not find it.

Will you join me in praying for revival in this land that is in both a physical and spiritual famine?

If you’re new to this site, thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to have you as a part of this humble little community of women who want to find the exceptional power of God in our otherwise average lives. If you would like to receive updates when I add new posts, you can like my Facebook page, subscribe to my RSS feed, or receive new posts by email. You can also find all of these options easily by going to my home page and clicking on the appropriate icon located in the right side bar.