Friday, December 31, 2010

My heart aches for you - 1 John 3:1

On our road trip to IL and back, Ben discovered a new interest, Veggie Tales. (I think it's all the music.) The particular one he likes is The Wonderful Land of Ha's about the prodigal son. At the end of the DVD, the verse that they discuss is 1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!.

In the last few weeks, I have encountered various people at various stages in their relationship (or lack there of) with God. And it seems to me that these people who are weighing on my heart tonight are missing this truth. We are children of God. He loves us! He really and truly with all his heart loves YOU! Just like you are broken and bruised, tainted and tormented, and anything else you might be feeling. If you could grab hold of this truth, way down deep in your heart, this would change your life. While this verse can obviously speak to non-Christians, it is an important reminder to Christians as well. There is nothing we can do to earn God's love. It is freely given.

Love is a precious commodity, especially in our world today. There are so many who are need of it and so many who aren't willing to give it away. There are those who doubt their worth. There are those who hide their pain with friends, alcohol, games, funny words, etc. There are those who have been Christians for years and still can't quite accept this truth. There are those that stumble forward on the road of life not knowing where to go because they aren't looking at the map. There are those who become dependent on other people to fill that void inside. There are those that won't admit there is a void inside. There are those that have built a very thick solid wall around their heart and make sure no one gets in. There are those who have given so much of their heart there seems to be very little left. For all of these people and so many more, God loves you. No strings attached, nothing to fix, nothing to change. He loves you the way you are simply because you are his child. You don't have to be worthy enough, good enough, smart enough, righteous enough, etc. You just have to accept it.
My heart truly aches for those out there who do not know the comfort and power of this verse.

As this year closes, I pray that God touches your heart and that you are forever changed. May 2011 be a year of change for the good, a year of love and compassion, and most of all a year of God at work in you. God loves you and so do I.

A few quick thoughts on road trips

1.  The amazing packing you do to get everything in car explodes on the road making unpacking much harder.

2.  Sometimes putting an extra hour of time into the drive is worth it for a good meal.

3.  Portable DVD players have changed the road trip forever.

4.  Is there ever really a comfortable ride when you are going that far?

5.  Getting home is always good.

Sorry for the short post this week.  Maybe I'll come up with more to say tomorrow.  (Don't hold your breath waiting on that one.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas

So if you read my other blog, you will see that I didn't have much to say about Christmas. Well I guess I lied because now it seems that I do have something to say. Christmas is really a very special and happy time around the world. When you stop to think about why, you might say all the feel good movies, the festive songs, the good food, the traditions, the decorations, the family time, the spirit of generosity, etc., etc. All of those are good things, but the real answer lies in the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus. All of those things come from love of something or from something. That love is really Jesus. Here we are 2000 or so years later and despite many efforts to the contrary Jesus is still pervading everything we do and say and feel. His birth 2000 years ago is still bringing love into this world today.

God entered the world in the form of Jesus. The eternal stepped out of Heaven and entered Time. He came knowing he would die with the sin of the world weighing on him. He knew he would be rejected and suffer, but he came anyway. He did it all for us. He did it because he LOVED us. He came in an unexpected way even though it was foretold he would come. People today can argue about how we celebrate it, what we say about it, and even when we celebrate it. Call me crazy, but I don't think any of that matters. We are commemorating the time that God entered the world as a baby and changed all of history. We are commemorating the time that God showed us how much he loved us. Is there anyway we can wrap our human minds around this event? I don't think so and I'm not even going to try. I'm just going to stop and say thank you.

Good blog topic?

So I guess December has been a little busy because I haven't posted a blog since Dec. 9th.  I haven't forgotten about you all, I just haven't had much to say.  I'm sure that seems odd with it being Christmas.  This time of year everyone wants to share their traditions and stories.  So shouldn't I have lots to say about all this?  Not really.  Maybe I'm just not in the "Christmas" spirit.  I really don't have lots to say about Christmas.  I love this time of year, the decorations, the giving that you see from people, the family time, and the freedom to talk about Christ.  However, all of this doesn't seem to be like a good blog post.  What does seem like a good blog post?  Bowel movements!

Ben has begun to grab himself when he is pooping.  This is a good thing because that means, he is beginning to realize what he is doing.  So when I see him grab himself, I take him to the potty and we wipe and flush the toilet.  However, he doesn't like the potty so much.  Not surprising considering he could easily fall in.  So today we are going to get him a potty.  This is a pretty momentous step.  Ben is really growing up fast and now he's even starting potty training.  I'm not sure we are ready for this, but evidently he is.  I'm not really sure what the next step is or what kind of time table to expect.  I'm kind of expecting him to let us know what is next.

So the big news around our house is not what Christmas presents we might get or Christmas plans.  It is that Ben is starting potty training.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Favorite Things

A few of my favorite verses with a little background.

Exodus 14:14 - I first found this verse when I was reading through the Bible the first and only time.  I was in high school and for no particular reason, this one stayed with me.  I suppose there was some comfort in it because He would take care of me, but there was also some responsibility on my part.  Stop trying so hard!  Just keep still and stop trying to fix it all yourself.  That's kind of a big deal for me.  I like to fix the problem and to fix it right away.  Maybe that isn't always the best idea.

Jeremiah 29:11 - I found this one my senior year of high school.  What great timing huh?  God is pretty cool that way.  It was very comforting to know that I was going to be okay.  My future was not in my control.  Thank goodness!  My success did not depend on me.  I just had to follow after to him to get to my success.

Psalms 37:4 - This one came to me in college.  I can be a bit stubborn at times and toward the end of my college years, God told me Drew would be my husband.  I was pretty skeptical and took the "yeah right" opinion.  That very night that I was doubting a friend was writing in her journal and this verse was on the page.  She said, "I think this verse is for you." and read it to me.  And it was.  I took God at his word.  He would provide me with the desires of my heart, a husband who I loved and was great friends with.  Someone who I could laugh with and cry with.  Someone to really share my life.  He did give me that and I am forever thankful and in awe of the blessings I get everyday that I don't deserve.

Isaiah 49:14-16 - I think this one was in college as well.  I attended Sunday evening services irregularly back then and I almost decided not to go to this one.  But something told me I should even if I was a little late.  So I did.  I sat in the back while an evangelist spoke.  He had an altar call and I was still sitting in the back.  He called me and two other girls up front and said he had a word just especially for us.  These verses was that word.  I didn't even know I was feeling alone and abandoned.  But as soon as he said those words, I knew I was feeling exactly like Zion.  And God spoke directly to me and let me know, I was not forgotten.  I was not abandoned.  I was right there with him the whole time.

Isaiah 40:31- This one is the most recent verse.  I was pregnant with Ben and I was determined I wouldn't need drugs.  A friend of mine recommended me to look up verses on strength and have them with me.  I looked up several and while I was in the hospital, I read back over them.  There were a couple that stood out at the time.  When I was in the middle of labor, this is the one I remembered.  I couldn't even remember the whole thing.  I just remembered "they will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary."  I repeated that part over and over to myself and I gave birth to an 8lb 13oz baby boy without drugs.  Maybe more incredibly in this story, I don't remember the pain of labor.  All I remember is this verse and a few other things that people were telling me.

These are the verses that have spoken to me and touched my life.  I guess you could say these are the verses that tell the story of my life.  What verses tell your story?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A few thoughts on "My favorite things"

Exodus 14:14 - The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.

Moses told this to the Isrealites when they had mountains on either side of them, the sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. They were really in a pickle and what was needed. They had to let go and let God handle it. How often do we try to handle our own crisis? Too often! God is ready and willing to help us out, we just have to let him.

Jeremiah 29:11 - "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

So if he is going to handle our crisis, how do I know that he'll do it the right way? (Yes you have really thought this! I know because I have too. We just don't like saying it out loud.) This verse attests to his promise to us. He plans to give us hope and a prosperous future. Are we willing to step back and let him give us that? This isn't as easy as it sounds because if we are going to step back, we have to give up our ideas and plans. Are you ready to give up your stuff to get His stuff?

Psalm 37:4 - Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Isn't it hard to give up my stuff? Well not if you follow his plan. What is that plan? This verse. Delight yourself in him. Where do you get your delight, your joy, your happiness, etc? If you are looking to him to fulfill you, then your stuff slowly becomes his stuff and it isn't so hard after all. Of course, not everything is that easy, but keep focusing on him and the rest will fall into place. The desires of your heart will be the desires of His heart. You get what He wants you to have and you are happy with that.

Isaiah 49:14-16 - But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,/ the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast /and have no compassion on the child she has borne? /Though she may forget, /I will not forget you! /See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; /your walls are ever before me.


Sometimes we forget that God is really watching out for us and paying attention to us. We all have had those times. When we do, let's remember what he said here. We are on his hands. Every time he looks at his hands, he sees you. Your "walls" (face) is always before him. He can't look away from you. He can't forget you!

Isaiah 40:31 - but those who hope in the Lord/ will renew their strength./ They will soar on wings like eagles;/ they will run and not grow weary, /they will walk and not grow faint.

And when the road gets long and the days get hard, remember this. Put your hope in him. Put your focus on Him. Put yourself into His hands and you can make it through.

Which verse speaks to you? Which verse will help you get to the next step? Memorize it, so you will always have it with you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Responsiblity of a Parent

Genesis 18:19 "For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him."

Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Psalms 78:4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

I'm not really sure what made me think of the Proverbs verse today, but I did and upon investigation I found these related verses that seemed appropriate. While a couple of them do refer to fathers and I could focus on the role of the man in the relationship, I won't. Today my thoughts are more on parenting in general. Being a relatively new parent and a rather Type A personality, I have read/ am reading several books about parenting. I love reading for the information, ideas, explanations, and stories I am given in them. These are important to me because some days the task seems too overwhelming. Other days it is extremely stressful. And still other days it is fun. I am still leaving out a whole range of emotions, but my point is made.

We see in Genesis that God has given parents a rather enormous task. Get your children to follow the way of the Lord. Deuteronomy and Psalms basically tells us to always tell our kids about Him. I'm guessing he means even when they don't want to listen and when they are throwing a tantrum, and when they are moody teenagers, etc. So after all that I'm thinking, "How in the world can I do this? That job is too big!" Well the first problem with that idea is the word I. So after realizing that and saying lots of prayers for Ben and probably not enough for me, I'm at the verse I started the day with, Proverbs. This verse is comforting because it reminds me that if I do my job to the best of the ability God has given me. I'll be okay and so will Ben. When I think a little more, I start wondering, exactly how do I do this training. And that's where Ephesians comes in, which relates back to the verses at the beginning. (And yes that sounds like circular logic.) So when I get overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenthood, I should come back to these verses and see that it isn't about me. It's about God. It isn't about MY kid(s). It's about the kid(s) HE's given me. When I focus on HIM and follow HIM, everything will fall into place. Whether that everything is parenting or teaching or whatever is going on, it's HIS job to lead and my job to follow.

From the South

I thought I would share a few observations I have noticed about myself recently.

You know you're becoming Southern when...

1.  Sweet Tea at 8 am sounds like a good idea.

2.  Sweet Tea involves as much Sweet as it does Tea

3.  You call your  purse a 'pocketbook'

4.  Grits are good.

5.  You think you really do need bread and milk when it snows.

6.  You think college sports really are the best.

7.  Going to a yard sale at 7am on Saturday sounds like fun.  (Maybe that's just Catawba County?)

8.  You use the phrase 'bless her heart" in conversation.


Okay, so I just threw the last few.  I can't say that I actually do those, but it sounded good.  However, I have noticed how attached I have become to sweet tea and then the other day I called my purse a pocketbook.  And I thought, "Whoa, that was weird."  Also I recently began to discover the wonder that are grits.

I was hoping to come up with 10 because that sounded like a good round number.  Unfortunately, I'm stuck at 8.  So anything you think I missed?