The Necessity Of Being Still

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


"Be still, or your piggie-tails will be crooked!"
"I can't!  I just can't be still!"

This is an argument that Ladybug and I have at least once a week, if not more.  She loves to wear her hair in pig-tails, but just as much hates having to be still for the process.  I can't even imagine what we would have to endure if I could actually braid hair.  Ladybug is an active four-and-a-half-year-old, and some part of her body is moving from the time she truly wakes up in the morning, until some point after we've tucked her in bed for the night.  She lives by this constant motion, and I believe she thinks she thrives by it.  To be still means to be missing out on something or not doing something that she is certain that she needs to do, even if it's just waving her arms as she sings a song she's making up in her head as she goes.

Isn't that us?  Isn't that our lives as adults in this fast-paced world, but with God telling us,
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!” - Psalms 46:10
Like Ladybug tells me that she just can't be still, we tell God that, don't we?  "I just can't stop and take the time to spend in prayer and reading your Word today, God.  I've got to get the kid to school, pick up the dry-cleaning, get groceries, pick the kid back up from school, take her to after school activities." I know I caught myself doing just in the last week.  I just kept getting distracted and never sat still long enough really dive into my Bible as I know that I need and crave to do.

The second part of that conversation that Ladybug and I have is this, "Actually you CAN be still, you just don't want to.  Telling me that you can't is a lie.  You can make yourself be still.  I'm not asking you to stay still forever, just for a little while."

It's a lie when we tell ourselves, anyone else, and especially God that we don't have time for Him.  We don't have time to read our Bibles.  We don't have time to pray.  We must MAKE the time.  I mean, how can we not make the time to spend with the God who gifted us with the very breath in our lungs each and every single day?

I happened (not a coincidence, I'm sure) to be reading that passage of Psalms at the same time I was reading in The Gospel of Mark where Jesus calmed the storm (Mark 4:35-41), and it occurred to me that when Jesus yelled, "Peace! Be still!" he wasn't just commanding the wind and the sea.  He was also commanding the disciples, who were scared that they were going to die in the storm.  I can only imagine the chaos going on in that boat, while Jesus was trying to get a little rest.  Surely they should have known that everyone drowning in the sea was not a part of God's overall plan, and that they would be safe, but they didn't.  They were consumed with their own personal needs at that moment, just as we are often consumed by our busyness.

This thought leads me to think of another argument Ladybug and I have been having lately when we tell her to do something, and she gives us the excuse of, "I didn't hear you," when we admonish her for not doing as she was told.  Again, I'll tell her, "If you would be still and quiet, you would be able to listen and hear what I'm telling you to do."

How are we ever to know what God wants us to do if we never be still, if we're never quiet.  After all, like we taught our kids in Sunday school this past week,
"At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper." - 1 Kings 19:11-12
You can't hear a whisper if you won't be still and quiet.  All of the chaos of like will consume you.  I can't hear a whisper if I'm not still and paying attention, I know for a fact.  When Ladybug was little, she spoke so softly and quietly (she's gotten over that now) that we couldn't hear what she had to say unless we deliberately stopped what we were doing and listened to her.  If we didn't, we missed what she was telling us, and she would get upset.  We got even better results when we would take the time to get on her level to hear her.

We're always going to be like the disciples on the boat, sinking in the sea, just barely above water if we don't take the time to be still, stop all the chatter, be quiet, and reach to God in His word and through prayer.  We CAN be still, and we CAN be quiet.  He WILL speak, and we WILL hear Him if we seek Him with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand.  Perhaps, I'll remember these things myself.

The Importance Of 3 Little Words

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I originally posted this in June of 2015, but as I have been reading God's Word and working in a new Bible study, this post I wrote has come to mind so often that I had to share it again and add a little more to it.


The girls and I were outside this bright, sunshiny morning, just rejoicing in this blessed day the Lord has made, being serenaded by my playlist of some of my favorite Christian songs.  A song off of Christy Nockels new live album, "Let It Be Jesus" came on, and three of the first four lyrics stuck with me, making me think of all their meaning.  So much can be related in uttering those three words.  They're three words that are incredibly loaded when uttered together.  We all often say them lightly, but actually saying them entails a commitment.  They aren't words that should be said lightly, especially in this age of constant connectedness distractedness.   They aren't the three little words you're expecting.  They're "here I am."

The song we heard was "Find Me At the Feet Of Jesus."  It's about giving up the world and giving up yourself to bow down at the feet of Jesus.  It's about focusing solely, entirely on Jesus and nothing else.  The entire song/ album is quite powerful, but today it's those three words, "here I am," that I want to focus on.

To say, "Here I am," signifies five very important things:
  1. When you say, "Here I am," someone is calling out specifically TO YOU.  For whatever reason they want / need you for something that only you can do.  
  2. You have to to be truly listening to hear the call.  Be it a booming shout or a still, small voice you must be open and available to hear it, not distracted.  
  3. Saying "Here I am" means that you're opening yourself up, making yourself vulnerable to whatever the person calling you wants or needs from you.  It's taking a risk.
  4. You have a choice to follow the call or not.  Often it seems easier to not, but we're can be held accountable when we choose not to. 
  5. If you should decide to follow the call and say, "Here I am," you have to be present.  You have to actually be there in body, mind, and spirit.  Again, you can't be distracted by something else.  You have to let go of whatever else you may be doing or want to be doing.  You don't come first.   The one who has called you comes first.
We often are being called.  We are called by God.  We're called by our spouses.  We're called by our children.  We're called by our friends, our churches, our jobs, and countless other people and things.  Every morning when Ladybug wakes up, she calls out, "Momma!"  Sometimes I try to put her off a moment or two in order to finish whatever I'm doing, but she won't have it.  At that moment, she wants my full attention.  The laundry, the housework, the morning news, Facebook, Twitter, even my quiet time with The Lord - they all have to be put aside, because she wants me then and there.  When I tell her, "Here I am!" I have to mean it.

How often do we say "Here I am" and not really mean it?  We aren't open and available.  We're distracted.  We allow ourselves to be distracted.  Or, we choose not to answer at all.  We do it to God, we do it to our spouses and our children.  We do it to everyone.  We never open ourselves up to God or anyone else, closing ourselves from everyone and everything.  Just like saying "I love you" without putting anything or any thought into the weight of those words, we say, "Here I am" without thinking.  And we miss it.

We miss out on the smiles, the conversations, and just being "there" for our loved ones and especially our children.  How often do we sit in the same room and ignore each other?  We're there, but not really engaged with each other.  I know that I do it all too often.  We miss it with our families, and we miss it with God.

We especially miss it with God.  He, more than Ladybug, demands my full attention, and I don't give it to Him.  Most of the time we don't even say, "Here I am" to Him.  We don't want to.  We're afraid to.  It brings to mind 1 Samuel 3, when God was called Samuel as a child.  Samuel kept responding, thinking it was Eli saying, "Here I am."  To God he said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

*** This month I started a new Bible Study, "Seamless" by Angie Smith and I have also been slowly, deliberately reading through Genesis and the Old Testament on my own.  Whenever God called out to someone, and they replied, "Here I am" He did great things through them, even if what God was promising seemed absolutely impossible.  When God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise and through whom Abraham was supposed to have as many descendants as there were stars in the sky, Abraham responded, "Here I am!" both initially and just in time when God provided a ram in place of Isaac for the sacrifice.  I don't believe I could have responded that way if God asked me to sacrifice Ladybug.  When God called to Jacob, and he responded by saying, "Here I am!" God always provided for him.  Moses responded at the burning bush with "Here I am!" and God used him to deliver his people out of bondage.

The phrases, "Here I am" and "Speak, for your servant is listening," mean much the same thing, but the latter shows more intent.  We're afraid of what intentionally opening ourselves bare to God entails, because once we say "Here I am" to Him things always change at least some.  Just as Jacob walked with a limp after wrestling with God, saying "Here I am" means giving up something of ourselves and what we think life should be.  Saying "Here I am" means being selfless rather than selfish.  It means no longer running.  It means trusting God when what He is telling you seems impossible but knowing that nothing is impossible with God.  Like I said, they're loaded words.  It certainly has me thinking about how I approach everything.

Tell me, when was the last time you said, "Here I am" and meant "I am listening?"


*** edited from the original post

Hands Raised: Worship Like a Little Child

Monday, August 10, 2015



Driving down the road, just Ladybug and me, my old iPod Nano plays "Jesus, Son Of God" by Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockels rather loudly over the Camry's sound system.  Ladybug and I are singing along with the lyrics, really getting into them, but when I glance in my rearview mirror I see something more in the back seat.  I see two arms lifted high, as if they're reaching up to God.  At a stop sign, I turn my head to get a better look and see something absolutely beautiful.  Ladybug has her eyes closed, and is lost in a moment of pure, unadulterated worship.

No one taught her to do that.  We attend a Southern Baptist church where some people raise their hands, but most of us don't.  We stand up during worship services, we sing the songs, but we never do what I caught Ladybug doing and have caught her doing a few times since then.  Why is that?

I was grew up in an interesting time in church music, I think.  I have very vivid childhood memories of the older members of our church in Heavener, Oklahoma complaining when the youth choir, The Believers, would perform because their movements were a little too close to dancing, which many still forbade.  Songs by Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Michael W. Smith, and the like were debated because they had a beat.  It was only much later when I was in high school that it started to become acceptable to have praise songs in services along with traditional hymns, and it was then that we also started to lift our hands during worship.  Somewhere along the way, we stopped worrying about being too charismatic and started to become authentic.

In college, it was not only acceptable but also sometimes expected at some services to worship this way.  This was also the point to where some worship leaders at student events sang about eighteen choruses too many of some songs and I began to wonder at the sincerity of some of it all.  At some point in my early twenties I began to question if what I was doing was truly worship or if I was doing it because everyone else was.  I will admit that it was a bit of both.  So as not to be hypocritical, I have mostly refrained from doing so ever since.  I wouldn't want to be labeled as odd in church, after all.  Of course that shouldn't have mattered at all, since I didn't regularly attend church for the greater part of my twenties.  I think I may always regret that.

I've thought a great deal about true worship and authentic Christianity in recent years, as I've started regularly attending church again, plugging into different ministries, and especially being more intentional in my daily walk and quiet time.  This past spring I even went through James MacDonald's "Authentic" Bible study.  In that, we delved into what makes real, authentic worship.  I love this definition:
“True worship is the conscious, direct, specific adoration of God. That’s authentic worship.”
Excerpt From: James Macdonald. “Authentic.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/18yjN.l
That means not caring or paying attention what anyone else is doing or thinking.  It's focusing solely on praising, adoring HIM.  As to lifting up our hands?  Well, I have a thought on that as well.

What does it usually mean when someone lifts up their hands?  Surrender.  Think, "Stop right were you are, and come out with your hands in the air!"  It means letting down our guard and exposing ourselves at our most vulnerable.  It is the giving up of our bodies, heart and soul to whomever were are surrendering to.

Lifting of hands is also like a little child, reaching up to be carried by a loving parent.  That's just it though, and why we don't and can't seem to do it.  Ladybug isn't concerned with traditions, or what people will think of her.  She's only concerned with singing praises to her God, whom she loves and trusts.  Jesus said,
And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
 Whoever will humble himself therefore and become like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
 And whoever receives and accepts and welcomes one little child like this for My sake and in My name receives and accepts and welcomes Me (Matthew 18:3-5 AMP).
I may be teaching Ladybug about God and to love Him, but she's teaching me how to worship Him.  I wish she would always worship Him so freely and purely.  Sadly I know that growing up and our sinful nature will change that.  It will be up to me to continue her example.
But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed (Matthew 19:14 AMP)

Where Faith and Fear Collide

Monday, June 29, 2015



I think that, like a lot of people, I've grown weary of social media of late.  I've seen a lot of what can, in the end, only be labeled as fear.  The fear that most of us are experiencing isn't a fear of any group of people.  It's definitely not a hatred of anyone.  It's a fear of losing our own religious liberties and freedoms.  It's a fear of ultimately not being allowed to publicly practice our own religion and being persecuted for our very faith. Our knee-jerk reactions to the direction in which society is headed are usually initially based on that fear, then that fear leads to anger, and lashing out verbally (sometimes more in the most extreme cases).  Fear causes people to say without thinking and certainly to post  something on social media without stepping back and being rational.  Fear is and always has been the greatest tool of the devil. He has been using it most effectively lately to snuff out something far greater, our faith in God.

I know that it's difficult to grasp at a time when it seems that the world's hatred of Christianity is growing exponentially, but everything...  EVERYTHING that happens in this world is allowed by God.  Don't ever think that He isn't in control.  I've always loved Romans 8:28, but today it speaks to me on a deeper level.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (NKJV).
I'm not going to get into politics, because I decided long ago that this wouldn't be a political blog.  It's no secret that I'm no fan at all of the man currently residing in the White House.  That said, I once had to remind myself that God allowed him to be put in that position, just as right now God is allowing everything that is happening to occur.  He has never not been in control.  That doesn't mean a great deal of what's going on right now is pleasing to His eyes, He just is allowing it to happen.

Every day spiritual battles are fought.  We have large portions of the population up at arms over a battle flag right now while our brothers and sisters elsewhere are being beheaded, raped, and burned. I wonder where our priorities are as we fight these battles?  Are we forgetting that the war was already won?  No, I'm not talking about the Civil War, but the war between God's perfect plan for us all and the sin that separates US ALL from the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  It was won on the cross when God's perfect, blameless son sacrificed himself so that THE WORLD should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  The ultimate expression of love was Christ's sacrifice on the cross.  He was in control that day, every day leading up to it, and each day since, and He did it for each and every single one of us.  All we have to is accept Him.

Today as I continued my study of the Psalms, I came across Chapter 37, Verse 8.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret— it only causes harm (NKJV).
Over the past few weeks I have seen a great deal of anger, more wrath than I care to, but mostly things that are rooted in fretting, worrying, allowing fear a place in our hearts.  We are letting fear hammer out our faith.  It isn't easy seeing Matthew 10:22 in action.  Jesus never said following Him would be easy though.  We should just remember to put into practice Psalms 34:13 & 14:
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry (NKJV).
In the end, it doesn't matter what nine people wearing robes say.  It doesn't matter whether flying any certain flags is allowed or not.  When all is said and done, they will all turn to dust.  I am not pleased with most of the recent decisions by our land's highest court.  I couldn't care less about a battle flag that really only does belong at museums. I certainly don't hate anyone.  America may be changing, but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  My faith in that is far greater than any fear I have.  My God certainly is.  I may be hated.  I may lose friends, but I 'm held in the hands of the Creator.  Fear has no place here.

The Importance Of Three Little Words

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


The girls and I were outside this bright, sunshiny morning, just rejoicing in this blessed day the Lord has made, being serenaded by my playlist of some of my favorite Christian songs.  A song off of Christy Nockels new live album, "Let It Be Jesus" came on, and three of the first four lyrics stuck with me, making me think of all their meaning.  So much can be related in uttering those three words.  They're three words that are incredibly loaded when uttered together.  We all often say them lightly, but actually saying them entails a commitment.  They aren't words that should be said lightly, especially in this age of constant connectedness distractedness.   They aren't the three little words you're expecting.  They're "here I am."

The song we heard was "Find Me At the Feet Of Jesus."  It's about giving up the world and giving up yourself to bow down at the feet of Jesus.  It's about focusing solely, entirely on Jesus and nothing else.  The entire song/ album is quite powerful, but today it's those three words, "here I am," that I want to focus on.

To say, "Here I am," signifies five very important things:
  1. When you say, "Here I am," someone is calling out specifically TO YOU.  For whatever reason they want / need you for something that only you can do.  
  2. You have to to be truly listening to hear the call.  Be it a booming shout or a still, small voice you must be open and available to hear it, not distracted.  
  3. Saying "Here I am" means that you're opening yourself up, making yourself vulnerable to whatever the person calling you wants or needs from you.  It's taking a risk.
  4. You have a choice to follow the call or not.  Often it seems easier to not, but we're can be held accountable when we choose not to. 
  5. If you should decide to follow the call and say, "Here I am," you have to be present.  You have to actually be there in body, mind, and spirit.  Again, you can't be distracted by something else.  You have to let go of whatever else you may be doing or want to be doing.  You don't come first.   The one who has called you comes first.
We often are being called.  We are called by God.  We're called by our spouses.  We're called by our children.  We're called by our friends, our churches, our jobs, and countless other people and things.  Every morning when Ladybug wakes up, she calls out, "Momma!"  Sometimes I try to put her off a moment or two in order to finish whatever I'm doing, but she won't have it.  At that moment, she wants my full attention.  The laundry, the housework, the morning news, Facebook, Twitter, even my quiet time with The Lord - they all have to be put aside, because she wants me then and there.  When I tell her, "Here I am!" I have to mean it.

How often do we say "Here I am" and not really mean it?  We aren't open and available.  We're distracted.  We allow ourselves to be distracted.  Or, we choose not to answer at all.  We do it to God, we do it to our spouses and our children.  We do it to everyone.  We never open ourselves up to God or anyone else, closing ourselves from everyone and everything.  Just like saying "I love you" without putting anything or any thought into the weight of those words, we say, "Here I am" without thinking.  And we miss it.

We miss out on the smiles, the conversations, and just being "there" for our loved ones and especially our children.  How often do we sit in the same room and ignore each other?  We're there, but not really engaged with each other.  I know that I do it all to often.  We miss it with our families, and we miss it with God.

We especially miss it with God.  He, more than Ladybug, demands my full attention, and I don't give it to Him.  Most of the time we don't even say, "Here I am" to Him.  We don't want to.  We're afraid to.  It brings to mind 1 Samuel 3, when God was called Samuel as a child.  Samuel kept responding, thinking it was Eli saying, "Here I am."  To God he said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."
The phrases mean much the same thing, but the latter shows more intent.  We're afraid of what intentionally opening ourselves bare to God entails, because once we say "Here I am" to Him things always change at least some.  Saying "Here I am" means giving up something of ourselves and what we think life should be.  Saying "Here I am" means being selfless rather than selfish.  Like I said, they're loaded words.  It certainly has me thinking about how I approach everything.

Tell me, when was the last time you said, "Here I am" and meant "I am listening?"

The Problem With Pedestals

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

 
“You shall have no other gods before Me (Exodus 20:3 NKJV)."
I don't want to sound sanctimonious or preachy at all, but this is something that bothers me a great deal.  There is a family here in Northwest Arkansas known for the large size of their family, the way they raise said family, and what they believe.  I'm not going to name names, because you know who they are, and this post isn't about them.  They have had a successful reality TV show on cable and have sold numerous books.  All over America, people look to them as some sort of role model and example of how to live, even the vast majority don't wish to do all that they do.  They also have been ridiculed them for their lifestyle as well as their beliefs.  So you can imagine the firestorm that has erupted after wrongdoings of the eldest child and the subsequent actions of the family as a result have come to light.  I don't want to get into a debate over all of the rights and wrongs of the situation, because it is a convoluted, horrible mess.  Rather I want to address the turmoil that I imagine many of the family's fans and followers must be experiencing.

We live in a society where the words "Christian" and "Celebrity" don't often go together.  We don't usually see Christians invited to the Today Show to talk about their faith, their style of parenting, or anything else.  We're more likely to be offered the chance to watch a television program about the lives of mafia wives or spoiled rich girls than a Christian family trying to live today with Christian principles. So, when a family such as this or some other manages to break through into at least a part of the mainstream, we as Christians have a habit of glomming on to everything and anything they do with fervent ferocity.  We are Mr. Darcy telling the world how we "ardently admire and love" them.  We devour every little crumb marketed our direction from cookbooks to devotionals,  DVDs to duck calls.  They may even have a special Bible that they promote.  We want to support our Christian brethren in their endeavors, and we also want to hold them up as an example to ourselves, our children, and the world as a whole.  We place them on lofty pedestals and look up to them.  Sometimes, perhaps, we even begin to idolize and worship them.

We all want to look up to someone.  As children we look up to (or at least want to look up to) our parents, older siblings, teachers, and such.  It is good to have worthy examples and mentors in our lives.  It is very good indeed.  However, we must remember that everyone is only human.  We all make mistakes, some of them can be very bad indeed.  The problem with pedestals is that they are of this world, and they crumble - sometimes taking others down with them.

Another problem with pedestals is that sometimes the people on them begin to be filled with pride.  Pride is one of our greatest enemies and can lead us to do things like cover up sins and even crimes in order to save face and perhaps our lofty position, making the fall from the pedestal even more painful.  Personally, I tend to think that people in this situation should adhere to James 3: 1 & 2
"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things (NKJV)."
I am not a fan of any reality TV show.  I don't like them in the least.  Just as we show the best part of our lives on Instagram and Facebook, so do they only show what is good television on any reality show.  We don't really see how anyone lives, how they think, what internal struggles they are dealing with.  Obviously they didn't have reality TV stars when James was writing this, but sadly what they see on television is sometimes the only example of Christianity many people are exposed to.  It is not a task that should be taken lightly.

This post, however, is for those of us who do know and believe.  Even though it's tempting to place others on pedestals and in a way worship them, we don't have to and we shouldn't.  We have the perfect example of just who each and every single one of us should be looking up to in Jesus Christ.  Philippians 2:5-8 says exactly the example we should follow.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (NKJV)."
It's ok to support other Christians.  It's ok to like the things they do.  I personally love to listen to Christian music, read Christian blogs, and books and all.  Let us remember though that they are imperfect humans just like the rest of us.  They will fall.  Don't let your appreciation of them cause you to fall as well.

As usual, please feel free to share your thoughts.

Great Things

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Recently I had someone I'm not in any way close to tilt her head to the side the other day as I passed by her and  ask, "And how are you doing, Adrienne?"  L and I were trying to make to an elevator before it closed, so I just politely, quickly answered, "I'm doing ok."  I am, too.   I am ok.  I mean, I wasn't going to delve into the depths of my soul with her, but it's true.

Physically I'm pretty much back to normal.  I have probably just one more blood test to take just to make sure everything is good, but I feel pretty great physically.   I'm thankful for that, because even though I genuinely like my doctor and think she's awesome, I'll be ok not seeing her for a while.  It will be nice to not have my arms look like pin cushions too.

Emotionally and spiritually , I'm in a really good place.  I've not been without joy these last few weeks.  I'm not going to lie and say that I don' t have my moments, but as a whole I'm doing well.  I think a lot of people are expecting me to just...  I don't know... collapse?  The thing is,  though physically this miscarriage was worse than the first one we had, emotionally, spiritually is has been much easier.  My marriage is in a better place than it was five years ago, and I am in a better place in regards to my relationship with God.

That's the thing too.  I trust God's will and His plan.  The morning before that fateful appointment when we learned we weren't welcoming home a new family member in November, I was reading in Luke Chapter 8, starting at verse 16.  One portion of that selection is where Jesus healed the man who was possessed with the legion of demons.  Once the man was free, he begged to stay with Jesus (who wouldn't?).  Jesus, however, had other plans for him.  In verse 39 Jesus commanded the man to “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you (NKJV)."  I highlighted that verse, feeling knowing God would have something for me to say when I got home that day.  I just hoped it wouldn't be what it was.  Though, looking back I believe God was already preparing me for just that.

There's a great shroud of mystery in our society regarding miscarriage.  No one really talks about it.  In fact, we're encouraged to not announce pregnancies until after the first trimester, because so many end in miscarriage before that time.  I've been on that bandwagon.  It made sense and was supposed to be easier.  Heaven knows it's not easy telling people that you're not pregnant anymore.  It's one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do - in some ways more difficult than the actual miscarriage.  Of course one of the reasons it's so difficult is because people don't know how to react.  So, I feel that one of the reasons we've one through this trial is because God wants us to talk about it in order to help others heal.  He wants me to tell what great things He is still doing in my life.

That first week, before the actual miscarriage started, we were in shock and tried our best to do everything as normal.  Throughout everything, we've tried to keep everything as normal as possible, especially for Ladybug and ourselves.  The things that people did that meant the most to us were the kind texts and messages, the flowers from a friend on my birthday, the offer of a dinner cooked even though the scheduling didn't work out, friends taking L when we had to go to the ER and watching her during one my followup appointments with my own doctor, and a special care package from a friend miles away.  Most of all, your prayers have been felt and appreciated.

What I've learned so far in being so open is that some people have a lot of questions about miscarriage, because, again, it isn't discussed.  So, I've tried to answer them to the best of my abilities.  I want to tell everyone how God has carried me through this.  He is indeed good.  That same morning I read on in Luke 8 the account of the woman who bled for twelve years touching Jesus' cloak and being healed.  Jesus told her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace (NKJV)."   Though I grieve for my loss and what might have been, I have a peace about me like no other and am of extremely good cheer.

Every Day I Fail: Grace In Motherhood

Sunday, May 10, 2015




Each and every day, I pray that I am the above things as a wife, a mother, a friend, and just a general person.  Then almost each and every single day, I fail at one or more.  I lose patience.  I am unkind. I am prideful.  I am ungrateful.  I am selfish.  I fail to understand.  I allow little things to irritate me.  I lose my temper.  I fail.  

Some days are easier than others.  Some take everything out of me, and again I feel as if I am constantly failing.  I feel like I don't do enough (whatever enough may be).  I feel as though I should be more (again, what exactly is more?).  We are always being fed pictures of the lives of others who seem to have it all together on social media.  I must constantly remind myself that I'm seeing what others want me to see, not necessarily the whole story.  I don't see the messes, the tantrums, or the frustration.  Sometimes that's all I see in my own life.  I only hear the whining.  I only see the uncleaned house, and I feel as if I have failed.

That's it though.  I feel as if I have failed.  Some days I really do fail, and some I don't.  Most days I'm just battling through the trials of trying to raise a small person to be all the things I pray to be, and it isn't easy.  Kids aren't born good, they aren't born these things.  They are taught them.

So, with every, "Thank you, Mom, for giving me clean laundry." and "Thank you, Mom for changing my sheets." and "Thank you, Mom for reading books to me," I realize that I'm not really failing after all.  The days can be long and hard, but I'm investing in the long haul, the big picture, even if it's difficult in the moment.

None of us is perfect, and there are always those days when we're at our wit's end.  That's when grace comes in.  We are saved by the grace of God and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9), meaning we can't do more and enough works to get into Heaven.  So also, we must realize that not one of us is a perfect mother, and we will not raise perfect children.  We must pray diligently and lead our children by example, just as Jesus is our example.  I don't know about you, but just as Jesus grants us grace, I'm constantly having to be merciful with L and give her grace as well.  

Motherhood is hard.  Not one of us is perfect.  We all fall.  We all fail.  Thank goodness occasionally failing at the little things doesn't mean we've failed at motherhood or life as a whole.  There's always grace, and we while we're doling it out to our children, we should remember to save a portion for ourselves.  Being a mom is hard enough.  It would be impossible without grace.

A Band of Sisters

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Last night I danced.  As L took her bath last night, I plugged my phone into the dock in her room, and a song that just makes me happy played.  So I danced around and sang with L as she splashed in the tub, and it felt refreshing.  Dancing it out always feels good, even if you only have the energy to do it just a little while.

Dancing it out might not seem like a big deal to most, but you must understand that Monday afternoon I was in so much pain that I had to have Bart take me to the ER.  I tried to wait it out, knowing full well just how painful miscarriages can be, but eventually it just got to the point where I couldn't.  Ironically, almost as soon as I made it into the ER, the pains stopped.  Thankfully, I haven't required any additional help medically with everything.   Though I won't go into all the gory details, Monday was a very difficult day and took a huge toll on me physically.  I was still exhausted when I went in for my follow up with my regular doctor yesterday afternoon.  Being able and wanting to dance to "Then He Kissed Me" by The Crystals like Elizabeth Shue in Adventures In Babysitting was just awesome.

I wanted to share this, because miscarriage and child loss of any type are still basically taboos in our society.  We don't talk about it.  We don't want to talk about it, but that often leaves those of us who have experienced it feeling very alone.  Often, as I've experience this time and during my first experience five years ago, people will privately share that they too have gone through the same.  I'm thankful when they do share, but I don't believe it is something that needs to be kept private.  There is no shame in pregnancy loss.  This isn't Ye Olden Days when it was assumed the woman did something wrong or committed some heinous sin.   You did nothing wrong.  It happens far more often than most of us are publicly aware.

Sister, you are not alone.  Did you understand that?  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  It sucks.  It hurts, physically and emotionally.  It's okay to grieve, to be sad, to be angry, and to just feel lost.  You might not know how you're going to survive this, but know that you aren't alone in this.  You needn't hide away in shame and pretend it didn't happen.  It happens to a great many of us.

Last night in bed, my background in Shakespeare came to mind.  I thought about the St Crispin's Day Speech from Henry V.  You know, the "Band of Brothers" one that gave way to the title of the book and miniseries about the 101st Airborne?  There's this one part:
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
Cut out the "happy few" part and change every "brother" to "sister" and "he" to "she," I think this works:
From this day to the ending of the world,But we in it shall be remembered-We few, we happy few, we band of sisters;For she to-day that sheds her blood with meShall be my sister; be she ne’er so vile,
After all, we are in a manner a Band of Sisters.  Let's be open, honest, and lift up each other in prayer and encouragement.  We'll all be healthier for it.  Then, maybe we can all dance it out, because  there is still so much to be thankful for and happy about.  With time and support, we can take the strike out of the "we happy few," because I can assure you that "Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b)."

To 17-Year-Old Me

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I had a wonderful, insightful piece originally written, but it was quickly destroyed within seconds by an accidental cut and paste and Blogger's often handy but sometimes harmful autosave features.  Nonetheless I hope to bring back at least part of the spirit of the original.

Today I am thirty-four years old.  For a while I thought that I was going to be thirty-five, because around November I usually start considering myself the age I am going to be rather than the age that I am.  That gets very confusing when my actual birthday rolls around.  Once I realized that I am actually still just thirty-four it occurred to me that I am now twice the age I was that I once considered the happiest time of my life.

I loved being seventeen.  It's one of those ages you either love or hate, and I will always be thankful for that wonderful time in the latter years of my high school career.  A great deal of who I am was forged then and refined in the fires of early adulthood.  Still, I often wonder what life would have been like if the me of today could write a letter to the me of then.  It would go something like this:



Dear Adrienne,
So, you are seventeen years old.  You have the world ahead of you, and you know it.  You have a lot of the answers to life, but you're going to be amazed at what you don't know.  In fact, one of the most important lessons you'll learn in college is just how much you don't know.  That's okay though.  You're not supposed to know everything.  There are things that can only be learned through experience, and usually those are the most important lessons in life. There's only so much one can learn where you are now. Here's a list of some of those things:

  • Enjoy this time.  There will never be another like it.  You have so much freedom now that you'll never again know.  Appreciate the days when the biggest thing on your mind is what you're going to do next with your friends.  Soon enough the worries of the world will start to weigh on your shoulders.  Appreciate the freedom of just being able to get in your purple car and enjoy being young with your friends.
  • Love your friends.  You have an amazing group of friends.  Right now you can't imagine life without them, but it won't be long before you're all scattered about, living your own lives.  You'll keep in touch, but those weekends of endless girls' nights, summer nights at the drive-in, or just hanging out have an expiration date.
  • Scavenger hunts that require you to find deer poop at the deer pens aren't a good idea.
  • Know right here and now that the guy you just know is the one, isn't.  You two never get together.  You remain friends, but that is all.  Both of you end up in very happy marriages.  You will get married and have a family.  None of it will come easily.  You'll meet your husband in the most unexpected place, and quite honestly it won't happen until you've spent a great deal of time learning exactly what it is to be lonely.
  • Hug your Granny as often as possible.  Your going to spend most of your adulthood missing her and also the special times with your family at her house.
  • Don't let Melissa fix you up with a guy from college.  You two aren't a great fit.  It doesn't matter if you're both funny.  You'll find him annoying, full of himself, and in the end he's going to end up being a Democratic politician.  That's just about the worst thing imaginable.  Also, it's just not cool to be taken to Burger King for your first date, then end up having to pay.  You can and will do better, Adrienne!
  • Enjoy waiting on the trains to get from one side of town to the next.  It's just preparation for waiting in honest to goodness traffic.  You'll actually miss is some day.
  • Keep reading books and keep writing.  It's a part of you.  It doesn't matter what you're reading, or what you're writing, just never let that part of you die.
  • Enjoy your remaining time in that little town you call home.  You may visit it occasionally, but you'll never really be able to go back there again.  Things will both change and remain achingly the same when all the rest of the world has changed.  Even the Rooster Tree will eventually disappear.
  • Give your Junior Prom date a huge hug.  He won't see the age of thirty.
  • Don't listen to idle gossip, and especially don't repeat it.  The only thing it accomplishes is to leave a path of hurt in its wake.  Seriously, just because someone says something doesn't make it true or right for you to repeat it.
  • Remember that comparison is the thief of joy.  If you spend your time comparing your life to others, you'll never be happy.  Appreciate the blessing God has given you.
  • Remember that you are surrounded by so many good, godly women.  They will continue to be an influence in your life long after they're no longer a regular part of your life and even after some are gone.
  • Behind every smile is another person's hurt, pain, and whatever battles they are going through.  Think of that before you pass judgement.
  • There is being witty, and there is being mean and hurtful.  Be one and not the other.
  • Don't let Stephanie talk you into returning her homecoming dress to Dillard's for her.  It's just not a good idea at all.
  • This is going to sound horrible, but trust me.  Don't listen to your mother... just don't.  
  • Don't let anyone diminish who you are in order to make themselves feel better.  Don't let them tell you hurtful things in order to get their way with guilt.  People who love you shouldn't do that.
  • Life isn't going to go exactly the way you planned.  The thing is, the journey is amazing and a blessing.  Even during the most difficult of times, God has plans for your life and is right there with you.  He's teaching you with every step forward and every mistake.  Know that.  Know that it's all about the journey, and appreciate each and every day for the blessing that it is.




Learning Grace As a Parent

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I never really thought much about Grace until recently - not deeply at least.  Having grown up in church, grace has never been a foreign word to me.  "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound," and other hymns have *ahem* graced my lips all of my life.  I have been fascinated by the word, even naming characters for it.  I don't know if I really understood the actual definition of what grace really is though.  It was something I believe that I took for granted and (oh how I hated the thought) felt entitled to it.  It was to me, something that was that I didn't really ponder.  Then my precious, sweet, easy-going baby grew up to be a willful, determined, intelligent, opinionated toddler, and grace suddenly took on an entirely new meaning to me.


If you Google "Grace" you will see this definition.  The second noun is the one that is important to me; "the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings."  It's a mouthful, isn't it?  What does it mean, really?  Along with searching the Bible, I decided to read the book "Grace" by Max Lucado.  He pretty much sums it up by this quote, "Whenever God looks down at you, this is what he sees:  the prefect Lamb of God covering you."  Even at our best, we are but filthy rags to God.  Grace is Jesus covering us and filtering out our sin.

We are nearing the Easter and Passover season.  The Israelites were spared from the Angel of Death because of the lambs' blood covering their doorways.  Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice and freely gave himself to cover us, our dirty, sin-covered souls, so that God could look upon us.  No other sacrifices are needed, because he was blameless and perfect.  He covers us, so that God can look beyond our sin with love and yes, bestow blessings upon us.

As the mother of a toddler, I am faced every day with the dilemma of whether to hand out discipline to my child when she acts out, or to look beyond her defiance with love and just love on her.  I don't believe in not disciplining my child.  It is my duty to her to teach her right from wrong.  That said, I am not without understanding that sometimes there is more to her behavior than just acting out for the sake of acting out.  I need to take into account whether or not she is tired, if she isn't feeling well, and several other factors.  Often, though she is a strong-willed girl, her actions aren't a deliberate test of my authority but her way of letting me know that all is not well in the the land of Ladybug.  It is during those times that I realize that I need to cover her with love rather than punishment.  The lesson that she needs to learn is that there is nothing she can do to lose my love, just as there isn nothing we can do to lose God's.  That is grace.

I honestly don't know if I received a lot of grace as a child.  Guilt I was given in abundance, but grace.... I don't know.  I think that in a way it was thought that I was, but really it was sugar-coated guilt.  Maybe that's the opinion most children have, thinking more on the negative consequences of things.  I'd like to think that, but in all honestly I think one of the reasons I haven't thought much on it was because it really wasn't something I knew first hand from my own personal experiences.  I want Ladybug to know what grace is firsthand so that she won't have to be in her mid-thirties before the concept really starts to click.

So, when she is seriously trying my patience I need to think (and pray) before I dole out punishment and consider whether or not she instead needs grace.  It's not always easy to give grace either.  There are times when sending her to her room for time-out seems just easier.  No one ever said being Mama was easy though.  How fortunate for me that I have a savior who bestows grace upon me and teaches me so much more about my relationship with Him through mine with my daughter!  Ladybug may not deserve to be hugged rather than punished at times, but then neither do I.  What a blessing parenthood is in that we can grow and learn just as much or more than our children if we are open to God's prodding!
 "Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.  And he raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens. He did this for those in Christ Jesus  so that for all future time he could show the very great riches of his grace by being kind to us in Christ Jesus.  I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.  It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing."  Ephesians 2:5-10 New Century Version (NCV)

Great Things

Sunday, January 26, 2014


I started off this year spending my quiet time reading from 1 Kings.  I know that's a little odd, because most people start in either Genesis or Matthew with their reading plans.  I have felt very led to spend more time in the Old Testament this year, and to start in areas I haven't spent nearly as much time reading.  Anyway, I have made it to 2 Kings and recently read the story of Naaman going to Elisha to be healed of leprosy in Chapter 5.

Basically to paraphrase, the commander of the Syrian army had leprosy, and with his king's permission he went into Israel to seek Elisha and be healed.  Elisha sent a messenger and told him in order to be healed, he had to dip into the the muddy Jordan River seven times.  Apparently Naaman, the commander, liked neither the method Elisha used to speak to him nor the solution he gave.  He thought he was great enough that Elisha should have gone out, spoken to him in person, waved his hands, and healed him.  He especially didn't want to bathe in the Jordan once, much less seven times! I imagine it would be the equivalent of one of us bathing in the Buriganga River (yes, I Googled "dirty rivers"). This was far beneath a man of Naaman's consequence.  Yet his servants pointed out the obvious to him.  "My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?" -  2 Kings 5: 13 NKJV  

In other words, if Elisha had told him to build great cities, wage war, or burn thousands of sacrifices, Naaman would gladly have done it.  He told him to just bathe in a dirty river seven times.  That's not exactly something you can proclaim at the city gates (or write about in a blog post).  It was something that required this man who was great in the eyes of the world to check his pride at the river bank and do something that could be humiliating.  He did humble himself do it though, and he was healed and proclaimed the greatness of God.

We all want to do great things.  A small part of each of us wants to be known.  We want to be successful, and a part of us wants for others to envy us or at least admire us just a little.  We are taught that we aren't successful if we don't do extremely huge, popular things that bring truckloads of accolades.  We want to be called by God to write the next bestseller devotional book or design something that will help many people.  We then feel like failures when that doesn't happen in our lives, even if we're doing what God has called us to do.  We let pride cloud our judgement and forget that we are called to be humble.

As a stay-at-home-mom, it is so very easy to feel like a failure and sometimes want more.  Now especially with a toddler, any given day can be my own Waterloo, and I am not Wellington.  Right now, most days it's a battle royale just to dress Ladybug, because she wants to stay in her pjs.  I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything, especially something great.

Then I hear her say, "Momma, I love you."  She wraps her arms around me, and gives me sweet, smacky kisses.  I realize that to her I am doing the greatest thing I can do, and I am doing great things.  I'm not successful in a business or worldy sense, but I am raising the most amazing young lady I have ever met.  I know without a doubt God called me to do this.  I may never gain fame or have my name proclaimed as great and awesome.  I may never have hundreds of followers, but I have this little person who watches every breath I take, every move I make, and every step I take.  Seriously, it's like she has taken advice from Sting.  I am doing great things in her, even when I'm reading a book while she sits on her potty chair.  The greatest things we do are often those little, seemingly insignificant ones God calls us to do every day that require humility rather than pride.  None of us is too great to do anything if it is what God has called us to do.  

Do you ever feel as if what you're doing is insignificant?  Do you ever let pride cloud your judgment?   Have you ever allowed it to prevent you from something your felt led to do?  I know that I do, have, and probably will again, but I'm slowly learning the importance of being humble.

Home

Monday, January 20, 2014

When I was a little girl, there was probably no place I loved to be more than home.  I remember feeling safe there and warm.  You know, that kind of warmth that's like a blanket that wraps around you on a cold day.  It was an older home with a porch that wrapped around two sides.  I loved that porch and spent many hours playing on it.  It didn't matter that it had only one bathroom, and that everyone's preferred route was through my bedroom rather than my older sister's.  It didn't matter that the central air went out at some point, and we used a huge window unit.  It was where my bed was, where my Cabbage Patch Kids and other toys were, and where I could just be me (for the most part).  It was where I was the most comfortable, most confidant, and had the least concerns.  It was paradise to me.  No other place could be as comfortable, as safe, or as perfect for me.  That security of home lasted until I was ten, and my Dad passed away.

Since then I have felt home-ish at times, but that security and warmth I knew my first ten years is lost.  That home I loved so dearly and felt so warm and secure in quickly became a cold, empty shell where I no longer felt very safe at all.  Though I have had many perfectly wonderful homes, that original perfect home for me is no more and will never be again here.  I love my home we have now, and I feel as safe and warm as any adult who knows the harshness of this world can be.  I can decorate it to my heart's content.  I can rearrange the furniture and even buy new furniture, but I will never completely reclaim that initial  absolute comfort and contentment.

That is how life is supposed to be though.  There is only one home for me, and it's not on this earth.  The home I had those first innocent years of my life was my earthly archetype of Heaven for me.  If that home filled with flawed parents and children was a paradise that I still dream of to this day, how much more awesomely wonderful will Heaven be?  To be in God's presence.  To never know pain or suffering again.  To be warmer and freer of troubles than I was even as a little child?  It's beyond my imagination!  I love and am thankful for the home I have now, but Heaven is the home I long for.  It is the only permanent home that neither wind nor rain, illness nor death can take away.

Today I have a little girl who loves home.  Every time she asks to go home when we've been away, and she proclaims uninhibited joy just at being home, I think on the home I knew when I was her age, and the home I shall go to some day.  I am thankful and pleased that this is her safe place.  This house, the home that Bart and I have created, this is where she feels completely safe, completely comfortable, and completely provided for.  It is her stability.  We have thankfully been able to give her a stable, safe, warm home where all of her needs are met.  That is our job.  I believe that is one of the most important jobs of every parent.  Every child should know the unequivocal joy, comfort, and stability of home.  How are we to convey to our children the wonders of Heaven if we do not give them the closest example on earth?  Just a thought on a Monday.  What are your thoughts?

 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
 - John 14:1-4 ESV

2013 Rewind Friday: Train Up a Child

Friday, November 8, 2013

From now until the New Year, I'm going to be re-posting my favorite posts of 2013.  Here goes the first.  The first is from August 14 titled, "Train Up a Child."  Please feel free to comment.

"At what age—and how—did you introduce religion to your kids?"
I saw this question on my Facebook newsfeed posted by a popular and respected parenting magazine a few days ago.  With it came an overabundance of emotions within me.  At first I laughed at what, to me, seemed like a ridiculous question.  After all, my religion isn't just some elective part of my life that I can choose to share with my daughter when she's older.  Then I realized that is exactly what it is to many, ever so many people today.  In fact a popular thought among parents is to not expose impose any certain belief system upon a child until that child is able to choose whether or not he or she wishes to take part in it.  My question is, if you're not exposing your child to what you believe, what are you exposing them to?  How does one parent without exposing their children to their beliefs?  I guess my last question is, is it possible to not expose your children to your beliefs because you lack a solid foundation of beliefs yourself, and / or don't put them into practice?

First of all, to answer the initial question posed by the parenting magazine:  I prayed for my child before she was ever conceived.  I prayed that she would be conceived at all, that once she was conceived she would be delivered healthy at full term, and I haven't gone a day without praying for her!  I believe in having my child in church every opportunity I can have her there.  I believe in reading the Bible and her Jesus Storybook Bible to her regularly.  I believe in letting her sing songs about Jesus, Noah, Zacchaeus, and others from the Bible.  I love that she loves VeggieTales.  God isn't just religion in our house.  We have a relationship with him.  He is our Heavenly Father.  Jesus wasn't a good man or prophet, he is our living, risen savior.

I thank God every day for the solid foundation I have in my relationship with him.  I don't agree with a lot of the things my mother did in raising me.  I am very thankful that she took me to church at an early age, and that it was never a discussion of "if" we were going to church on Sundays, but it was a discussion when we didn't.

I have lived through some very dark, very difficult times in my life.  I am thankful that throughout each of these times, I have never been without that foundation of Christ in my life.  It has been the only thing that has carried me through the most difficult of times.  When friends and family have failed my, Jesus never has.  I feel the blessed assurance of the Holy Spirit within me in the happiest and most trying of times.

So, why wouldn't I want to share this with my child from Day One?  Why wouldn't I want to share this with everyone and shout it from the rooftops?  I certainly want my child to be raised with a solid, firm foundation so that when she's older I won't have to worry about her falling for just anything when she will inevitably be searching for something to believe.

What are your thoughts on this?

I Wish...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

  • I wish my dad could have heard me play saxophone.
  • I wish he could have taught me how to drive.
  • I wish he could have seen me graduate anything:  junior high,  high school, college.
  • I wish we cold have discussed things like politics, religion, football, dogs, music, literature, and everything as two adults.
  • I wish he could have met Bart.
  • I wish he could have walked me down the aisle when we got married almost ten years ago.
  • I wish I could have heard his opinion on our house before we bought it.
  • I wish he could have known Ladybug, and that she and I both could have known him.
  • I wish we could play another game of Super Mario Bros. together.
  • I wish he could have known about iPhones and iPads and all the cool gadgets that didn't exist a quarter of a century ago, because that's where I get my gadget-whoriness.  

It has been twenty-three years today since I had any type of conversation with my Dad.   It's been twenty-three years this evening since he passed away suddenly of a heart attack.  It's been twenty-three years today since a huge piece of my innocence was stripped away from me at the age of ten.  I wish a great many things and wonder countless "what if's".  However, I realize that God has put me in the path he has for reasons I'll never fully understand until I'm in Heaven.  I'm very thankful for the life I have, but still sometimes I wish...  At least I know that I'll see him again some day.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going.” - John 14:1-4 ESV

September 11: Who I Was & Who I Now Am

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I don't know of a single person living at the time who wasn't affected by the events that occurred on that Tuesday morning twelve years ago.  We take greater precautions when we travel, when we gather in grand numbers for events, and in countless other ways we have become so accustomed to since then that we hardly even notice them anymore.  I was twenty-one years old at the time.  Legally I was grown up, but there have been few times in my life when I felt so very vulnerable.

Then
In 2001, I was studying Shakespeare and muddling my way through History of the English Language and Linguistics classes. Like most college students, I was very absorbed in me.   I thought about how I didn't necessarily feel safe living on a college campus at that time or attending classes. I thought about how the sound of every plane and helicopter that flew over my head struck me with no small amount of fear.  I thought about how the professor who taught both History of the English Language and Linguistics was so rude that she talked throughout the entire moment of silence my university held the next day.   My focus was spent thinking how my world had changed, and how things would never be quite the same ever again for me.  In all honesty, I never really got past me and how I felt.

Today
Today I watched my daughter interact with her friend at Little Sprouts.  They are so sweet and so innocent.  These two little girls have no idea the terror of watching planes fly into buildings.  They haven't watched footage of people jumping from the burning buildings to escape the flames.  They don't know the fear of a plane flying too low, or at just opening a letter in the mail.  My greatest wish that can't come true is that Ladybug stays innocent forever.

Thinking past myself, I now worry about what tragedies will happen in Ladybug's lifetime.  Bart speculated it at the dinner table last night.  He was thinking of her being just a spectator like we really have been so far.  I worry that she could be a victim of such evil acts someday and pray that it never happens.  The dilemma mothers have faced since Eve is that we want our children to be successful, to go out and conquer the world.  Yet, we also yearn to keep them close to us, to keep them safe, and to always protect them.

She Isn't Really Mine, But God's
The thing is, Ladybug is mine, but she really isn't.  She belongs to God, and in that thought I have to trust him with her.  I have to push aside all the worries of my "heart walking around outside my body," as Elizabeth Stone so deftly put it and trust God with her.  I have to remember and put my faith in Jeremiah 29:11 " For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Accepting I'll Never Have All the Answers
Looking back I was hardly more than a baby myself when the attacks happened, and yet at the time I thought that I had everything figured out in life.  Since then, and honestly probably in no small part due to September 11, I've learned that I'm never going to have everything figured out about life.  Just when I think I do have it figured out, God reminds that I don't and won't until I am with him in Heaven.  It is easy to allow ourselves to become paralyzed with fear, unable to move forward or to function at all like so many people did like we all did for a while after the attacks.  Even today, we let the terrorists win if we lose our faith in God and give in to the fear of all the bad things that can happen.  I think today I can more clearly see the truth of Jeremiah 29:11, and yet it still remains "in a mirror dimly."  Realizing and accepting that is who I am today.

The How's and Why's

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pray.  Sometimes that's all that we can do when things are beyond us.  We.just.pray.  We pray and pray and pray.  Sometimes our prayers are answered to our satisfaction, and sometimes they aren't.  Sometimes we feel like God isn't listening, that he has stopped loving, or that he doesn't exist at all, because our prayers aren't answered in the manner we want.  I think that it is most difficult when we hit our knees for children, and especially when God's will and ours diverge.

Last week, a member of our Sunday school class said goodbye to her nephew Xander, who had valiantly and faithfully battled cancer for nine years.  He was eleven, and he had spent nine of those years battling cancer and still loving God.  He's no longer fighting, he's free, but his family is experiencing a hurt like none other.

There's a pastor in Oklahoma who used to travel with his evangelist dad to our church and church camps.  His seven year old son Trey lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, and they are celebrating his life as I write this post.  Trey's dad is doing something no father ever expects to do, he is preaching his son's funeral.

So many battles.  So many different battles.  We cry out to God, asking, WHY?  HOW can a loving God allow children to suffer so?  Why must they be conceived or born at all, if they are only to be taken from us at such an early age?  We hate the platitudes, but most of us will honestly admit that even though the loss is the most difficult think ever, we're thankful for what time we did have with them.  We know that our lives have been touched and will never really be the same again because of loving them.

I'm thinking of sweet Eleanor who should have been 19 months old today, Miller, who would have been around 2 and half, and my little one who would have been three years old recently whom I never even knew boy or girl.  I'm thinking of Xander and Trey.  No matter how short their lives, they have touched the others to their very soul and will continue to do so.

I'm praying for Reese, the daughter of two friends from back home.  She had open heart surgery yesterday.  She is doing well, but my heart breaks that she is having to experience this at all.  I ask that you pray for her, her parents, and her younger sister and brother as she recovers.  I'm praying for Josiah, my friend Cassidy's nephew.  He has started his battle against leukemia.  He and all of his loved ones need to be continually lifted up in prayer.

I don't understand the how's or the why's really.  Honestly I don't have to.  It's not really for me to understand.  Someday I will.  On his blog, Trey's dad shared 1 Corinthians 13:12  “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."  I have to be content with not knowing all of the how's and why's for now.  

Life is a miraculous gift from God.  Children are a blessing and a miracle.  Pray for and be thankful for your little ones every day.  I am for mine, even though she made me want to pull out my hair at times today.

Let Me Tell You About...

Friday, July 12, 2013

At church, our pastor is always asking us a question in his sermons, "Can you tell me about when you were saved?"  He asks this because just as I remember the day I got my first dog, twenty-five years ago because it really happened, I should be able to recall the day that I asked Jesus to my personal Lord and savior.  Thankfully, I can.  You see, it happened nineteen years ago tonight.

Some of you are doing the math in your head and trying to figure out how old I was when I was saved. I'll give you a hand and tell you that on July 12, 1994 I was fourteen years, two months, and eleven days old - if you want to be exact.  Now, some of you are probably thinking that's fairly late for someone who had been in church since she was only a few weeks old.  It was, but the reason is part of the journey.

I did grow up in church.  I watched my Dad get saved and baptized when I was six years old.  I witnessed countless people walking down the aisle during altar calls for years during sermons and revivals.  Sometimes I felt like I should go too, but I wasn't ready.  I just knew that, if not much else.  It wouldn't have been true, but just doing what everyone else was doing.

False Start
In September of 1988, I was eight years old, and some NASA engineer named Edgar C. Whisenant predicted that the Rapture would take place some time between September 11 and 13.  For some reason many people, including my mother, completely disregarded Matthew 24:36, and took this seriously.  My mother, in her incredibly misguided ways, started telling me lovely stories about what would happen when the Rapture happened and about the Tribulation at bedtime.  After so many nights of this, she decided I needed to visit with our church's youth / children minister at the time, Steve.  I did not want to go, but I had no choice.  One night we sat in his office, and rather like a puppet I was led to say a prayer.  The next Sunday I was presented in front of the church and baptized.  I walked the world for six years thinking I must be saved, but knew in my heart that I wasn't.  I didn't make that choice on my own to say the Sinner's Prayer.  It was made for me.

Time passed.  My Dad died suddenly when I was ten.  My life seemed to keep getting turned upside down.  I was becoming a teenager.  In the midst of the tumult and upheaval going on in my life, I still regularly went to church and became involved with our youth group.  I went to church camp at least once every summer.  I still kept feeling a tugging at my heart that I needed to really ask Jesus into my life, and I kept telling myself I already had.

Getting It Right
So in July of the summer before I started high school, I went with my church youth group to Youth Camp at KBA (Kiamichi Baptist Assembly for those of you who haven't heard of it) like I did most summers.  This time though, I knew that something would happen.  On Tuesday night the sermon spoke to me, but more so the Holy Spirit was working on me,  I just remember at some point during the invitation a rush of wind pushing me up the aisle.  I went to a room in the back of the tabernacle and didn't need any help saying the prayer.  By then I knew it by heart.

On that hot July night, I was saved.  I knew that I was and am a sinner.  Romans 3:23 was as burned in my memory as John 3:16.  I remembered the ABC's of salvation.  I admitted I was a sinner.  I believed in Jesus as God's son, that he died on the cross and raised from the dead to give me the gift of salvation from my sins.  I confessed my faith, remembering Romans 10:9-13.

Have I lived a sinless and faultless life the past nineteen years?  No.  The difference now is that I now have the conviction and the comfort of the Holy Spirit within me.  I have confessed that Jesus if Lord and know now, by own volition, I am saved.  Life hasn't always been easy.  I have rebelled sometimes from Him, but He has never and will never leave me.  My life really began nineteen years ago.  I don't think it would be right to tell people that I'm only nineteen though.

Can you tell me about when you were saved?

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