Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Meme

I'm playing along with Rocks In My Dryer today with a little labor meme.

How long were your labors?

Daughter #1, 20 hours.
Daughter #2, 2.5 days
Daughter #2 started labor on July 4 and did not decide to come out until July 6. The pains kept coming close, spacing out. I was SO tired by the time she came I was just like, evict her NOW! She's still slow

How did you know you were in labor?
Daughter #1, excruciating pain radiating to my back. I wanted to die.
Daughter #2, excruciating pain, radiating to my back. The pains would come close but not close enough to go to hospital, stay that way for 4-5 hours and then space out. I wanted to die.

Where did you deliver?
Two different teaching hospitals in Chicago.

Well now, here is the rub. With Daughter#1 I wanted drugs becaue I was in so much pain. The nurse said, "Okay, as soon as we break your water." My water hadn't broken and the pains were already off the chart on that monitor thing they hook you up to. It was kind of odd that I was only 4 cm. So they broke my water and I asked for my drugs. BUT... I suddenly felt the urge to push. The nurse came back and said "Oh mommy, we cannot have drugs now because you are now 9 cm and we need to deliver the baby now. " My response? "Who the heck is WE? I want the drugs, NOW!" But no, I could not get them. I was not happy. I tried to jump off the table to choke the drugs out of the nurse but hubby would not let me. I blame the pain for said behavior.

With Daughter #2 I was very tired. I mean really, 2.5 days of dealing wtih labor pains? I wanted drugs. I needed drugs. My precious husband, who was trying to be encouraging, said, "You are strong. You can do this without drugs, just like with daughter #1. " Ummm, that was *not* the right answer. I looked at the doctor and said "I'm tired and in pain. Get me that epidural, NOW!" I meant that in the nicest way :) And I blame the pain for said behavior.


Who delivered?

Both by doctors.
Daughter #1 was delivered by a woman OBGYN.

Daughter #2 was delivered by a male OBGYN that I inherited when his female partner left the practice. I was too far along to go looking for a new practice. He did a good job. He didn't mind when I called him on July 6 and said, "I want her out now. If she's not here in 2 hours, I am coming to your house. I know where you live." I meant that in the nicest way :) I blame the pain for said behavior.

Come play along. Stop by Rocks In My Dryer, leave a comment with a link to your meme post.

Happy Labor Day!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Coolness. I've received my first bloggy award. A big thank you and grin to Beachy Mimi for giving me this great award. (Waving at Beachy Mimi) It is the Arte y Pico award. Niiiiicccceeee.

I feel so privileged! I'd like to thank all my bloggy friends for their love and support. You like me, you really like me!

So now for the business part:

The rules for this award are:

1) You must pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, based upon creativity, design, interesting material, and that also contribute to the blogger community.

2) Each award must have the name of the author with a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Award-winners must show the award and put the name and link to the blog that awarded it.

4) Award-winners and the one who has given the prize must show the link to the Arte y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) These rules must be included in your post.

Oh me oh my. This is hard. Just 5? I can only pick 5? Wow. I hope no one gets offended ::wringing hands:: I'll try to pick those who I think haven't received it before, but deserve it IMHO. Okay here goes:

Prayer Gifts (Lee)

Runner Mom (Susan)

Shabby Olde Potting Shed (Lea)

Ponderings (Joy)

Living for Him (Lisalyn)

Congratulations to all the winners! Be sure to stop by their blogs to congratulate them and be blessed by their wit and wisdom.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thankful Thursday

It's Thankful Thursday! So last week I wrote about my oldest beauty. Today I'd like to give my younger beauty the spotlight.

We recently were trying a new devotional technique. We spent thirty-three minutes in time of prayer and devotion. We choose thirty-three because it represented one minute for each year of Jesus' life here on earth. I wondered if my beauties were getting anything out of this time together. I prayed and asked God to show me if they were. I received my answer in the form of a letter from my younger beauty. Here is a snippet of what she wrote.

“You are a very important Christian lady in my life.”
“I may act like I don’t care about you or God or anything else but me and what I want, but I do care about you and God a lot! I’ve been trying hard to be good and not be bad but it’s hard to do. But I try hard for you anyway. I thought you would care to know this about me.”

  • I am thankful for the tears I cried when reading this.
  • I am thankful that God has blessed me with two great children.
  • I am thankful that God blessed my obedience to keep them in His Word
  • I am thankful that my younger beauty chose to bless me with written words because they bless me so much
  • I am thankful that at 12, she still thinks I am important to her
  • I am thankful my baby loves her some God!
  • I am thankful we received confirmation that her foot is not broken (YES!)
  • And I am thankful that I can share all this with my bloggy friends

Please stop by Sting My Heart and see what everyone is thankful for.

Blessing to you all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yes To God Tuesday's Chapters 14 and 15

Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays. We are studying Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". If it's your first week or you've been here the whole time, Welcome! I encourage you to stop by the leaders blog, Lelia, to see what all the other ladies are saying about the study. You will indeed be blessed. This week we are looking at Chapters 14 and 15.

*** All purple text are direct quotes from Lysa***

Chapter 14 Pressing Through The Pain

In Chapter 14, Lysa tells the story of a couple from their neighborhood. Married 40 years, Mary went home to be with the Lord by way of cancer. Her dear husband, Ken, was heartbroken. One evening after dinner with the TerKeursts, as Ken was leaving he stopped to smell one of Lysa's flowers. It was an answer to Ken's expectant prayers to the LORD. Lysa said that the "the secret to pressing though the pain" is "learning to depend on God, asking for His provision, and then remembering to look for His ready answers." We need to be in tune with the Lord to gain sight for His ready answers. Pray with confidence, expect God to answer and ask Him to give you His eyes to see. He won't disappoint! "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

"My greatest secret desire must always be for more of God in my life. This is the only desire that's certain to never disappoint and can never be taken from me." For me the key here is that more of God in my life does not always look like the believing phase or the resurrection phase (which we will begin next week). More of God means more desert and more death too. I know I have mistaken desert and death to be a bad thing, undesirable. But I now know that those are just growth spurts on the journey to soaring to new heights. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4, NIV)

Chapter 15 God Isn't Surprised By Death

Nothing that goes on in our life surprises God. We, quite often, are caught off guard. We were expecting one thing, but God has other plans. For instance, 4 months ago I was certain I would no longer be working where I am now. I just knew it was time to move on. I was eagerly anticipating my parole. But that was not what God had in mind. That dream died in church one Sunday. The teaching felt as if it was spoken directly to me. What God spoke to me was "Be thankful for a job as others are getting laid off just cubes over from you. When I am ready to move you, I will make a way." And so I am still there. Was I surprised? Yes, surprised and hurt. I really wanted to leave. Was God surprised? Not at all. He has a plan He is working and that death did not surprise Him one bit. Lysa said "At times like this, I have to live my life based on the truth of who God says He is and not my feelings." Thank goodness for that because my feelings can be so out of whack with God's reality for me!

"Brokenness is what must happen before God can put the pieces back together in the way He can shine through the best." If I'm going to be a cracked pot, a broken cistern, then at least let God get the glory for it! I'm getting first hand experience with this by putting into practice what my husband and I learned in our marriage class this past year. One thing that was covered for the husbands was loving your wife as Christ loved the church. I've experienced my husband applying that principle and it has blessed me tremendously. For the wives one thing was submission, letting my husband take the lead in the household. Oh my, how I did not realize how much I don' t like giving up control. Even though I had prayed for him to lead our house, when he began to do it...momma was not too happy about it. I was used to being in control, making the decisions, being the spiritual giant. Well God is breaking me from that. While I am still involved in decisions, there are times when the Holy Spirit clearly says, "Stand down. Let him lead." It's been a serious struggle for me.

Last week, God got to shine through without struggle from me. My husband put our two beauties on punishment. They come in from school and our living room and dining room are disaster areas within 10 minutes. Even though I tell them to clean up the mess, they usually don't. Husband got fed up with the laziness and the disobedience. He put his foot down and announced, 'Tomorrow, no TV or computer for either of you." He explained why and basically let them know there was no room for negotiation. I stood beside him as he exercised his authority as dad. My girls started complaining to me. I was able to say, "Your dad made the punishment. If you don't like it, discuss it with him. You should be doing what you are told. And do not try to bad mouth him to me. I won't have it."

There was God, just a shining away! It was really quite fabulous and you know what? I realized that at that moment, I was stress free. No yelling , cajoling, sighing. None of that. They did what they should have been doing all along and it was great! I pray for more moments of brokenness if it means God can have the glory and I can have some peace.
"And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19, NIV)

Finally, at the end of the chapter, Lysa included a prayer. I'll share the line that struck a chord with me. "Only Your perfect way through brokenness can reveal the best road to travel." On your journey, let God work brokenness in your life so that you will travel the best road. The end destination is sure to be better then you ever imagined! "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I spent a good part of Saturday afternoon at the urgent care center with my youngest beauty. We are waiting on confirmation from the radiologist, but it appears she may have broken a bone in her foot. She's hoping this is not the case because cheerleading tryouts start this Thursday.

So what did I learn about God in this experience? Well let's start at the beginning of the story.

Her foot was injured Friday night during a sleep over. There were four extra girls at our house. As usual when there are girls over (and who else would be sleeping over since we have two daughters), hubby and I closed our bedroom door. That's just his thing. He feels more comfortable that way. The girls know if they need us to barge in like they usually do, I mean knock. They all slept in my older beauty's room because it's the larger of their rooms.

Apparently, my little beauty was trying to go potty around 3 AM. She got out of bed, tripped over one of the girls sleeping on the floor and slammed her foot into the dresser. OW! Now the logical thing to do is to get mom or dad. But no, she and her friends tried to "handle" the situation because, after all, the door was closed and it would be rude to wake me. And besides, they knew what to do.

Aren't we like that? Perhaps we experience a trial or have a decision to make. The logical (and wise) thing to do is to seek God so that He can impart His wisdom to us. But what do we do sometimes? We start worrying, calling our friends for their opinions, or we start devising a plan. We never even think to ask God. But that is just what He wants us to do. The Bible tells us to "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1Peter 5:7, NIV)

So I did not have the benefit of icing it down, administering anti-inflammatory medication or elevating the foot. When I discovered her grossly enlarged foot the next morning, I found out what had transpired. I had no idea if we needed a doctor visit or if it was just sprained. I was upset that she did not come to me (or send her sister since she could not walk on it). I pleaded with her to make sure she came to me right away if another such emergency occurred. I am certain God feels the same way. He is always there, waiting to help when we call. David said "Evening, morning and noon, I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice" (Psalm 55:17, NIV)

Around noon, after finally having done the things I would have done the night before, my husband and I made the decision that an urgent care visit was in order. I helped her get dressed because she could not put any weight on the injured foot. In order to get her to the car, I got on her right side so she could use me as her "weight bearer". This reminded me of the scripture that says, "Carry each other's burdens" (Galations 6:2, NIV). I was happy to do it. In the same way we need to rely on God and also those He sends to provide assistance. Let's not get too proud to receive a little burden sharing and carrying.

At the urgent care center we sat for a long, long, long time. I was okay until a lady that came in one hour after we had arrived was called to see the doctor. Then yet another person, who had only been there 45 minutes was called to see the doctor.

Being in momma bear mode at this point in the day, my gut instinct was to get irate. After all, we had "only" been sitting there for over 2.5 hours! I thank the Holy Spirit for whispering this verse to my heart, "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

I put on my "nice lady" voice and asked when my daughter would be seen since we'd been there almost three hours. I mentioned that other people who came in after us had been called. The one lady tried the "let's act indignant" attitude with me, but I just smiled. I wanted to strangle her (Lord forgive me for thinking that but that's the truth) but I smiled. One of the nurses heard what was going on and said "I'm not sure what happened but your daughter will go next and we will make sure the doctor sees her before the others who were just called." YES! I could see that someone had messed up because she gave the indignant lady one of those looks you give your kids when they've messed up and you want them to know there will be a "talking to" later.

This turned out to be the nurse who waited on us. She was great. We saw the doctor right after they took x-rays. The doctor was lovely to us as well. I wondered how this would have played out had I been rude earlier. Maybe not so well.

The x-rays require a second opinion from a radiologist. They think she has a fracture at the base of her big toe (well it's actually further down than where we think the big toe "ends'). We have to wait for the final word. We were given instructions to follow in the interim. My daughter was none too happy about the "blue shoe". She thinks it's hideous and messes with her "coolness" I was tickled so I said "What-evah, you gotta wear it girlie." I like to tease her because she takes it all in stride.

The blue shoe also inspired a "God thought". How often are we waiting for an answer to a prayer. God may instruct us to do some things that we don't really want to do. But they are necessary during our waiting period. Maybe it's necessary because it is part of our answer.

Think back to the story of Naaman (2 Kings 5). Elisha told Naaman to wash himself seven times in the River Jordan to be healed of his leprosy. Naaman had no desire to do that because 1. It sounded ridiculous, 2. the Jordan seemed to be inferior water to him than other waters and 3, He wanted "personal" attention from Elisha. He did finally do it after whining a while. And the result? He was healed. Is my daughter wearing her sporting new blue shoe? Yep! Does she like it? Nope! But she understands that this will aid in the healing process. This time, prudence wins out over fashion!

So now we wait for our answer. Once we get the answer we'll know the next steps to take to make sure her foot heals, whatever the problem truly is. And my link to God on this one?

"Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (Psalm 27:14, NIV)
"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope" (Psalm 130:5, NIV)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I'm joining Iris at Sting My Heart for Thankful Thursday.

Last night I came across a list my oldest beauty made when she was 8 (she's 13 now). It was during a time when I was trying to teach her to pray using the ACTS model. So on her thanksgiving list she included the following:

  1. Daddy's new job
  2. Passing the End of grade (EOG) test
  3. The money granny sent
  4. My family that loves me
  5. A roof over our heads
  6. Food to eat
  7. Clothes to wear
  8. Beds to sleep in
  9. A table and chairs to sit at
  10. You, Jesus, in my heart
  11. The love that we share
  12. The bible to read and study

Wow! This was created with no prompting from me.

Fast forward to today. I asked her to make a list of things she is thankful for. Here is her current list:

  1. My Family
  2. Vanessa, Evan and Quentin (my three best friends, I heart them)
  3. Food and water
  4. Our house (thankful we don't live in a box)
  5. Mom and dad's jobs
  6. My education (mom's note: this is my child who was struggling severely at school and is currently getting all A's and one B --she attends year round school in case you're wondering)
  7. God <---- most important (mom's note: this is just how she wrote it)
  8. A good life

Her list is different than what I was expecting. What a pleasant surprise. So I am thankful that, even though my daughter sometimes acts like an alien, she still loves God and still knows what is important.

I am thankful I have held tight to this verse:

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

Part Two Next Thankful Thursday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yes To God Tuesdays - Chapters 12 and 13

***All items in purple are direct quotes from Lysa***

Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays. We are studying Lysa TerKeurt's book "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". If it's your first week or you've been here the whole time, Welcome! This study is happening across several blogs. Be sure to stop by the leaders blog, Lelia, to see what all the other ladies are gleaming from this study. This week we are looking at Chapters 12 and 13.

Chapter 12 - Learning to Lead

Let's start with a quote from Lysa: "If you are influencing people, you are a leader." So to all the moms, you are a leader. Not only are you a leader to your own children but most likely to their friends as well, even if you don't feel like it. Do you have friends that call you for godly advice? You are a leader! Now, you may not feel like a leader, but you are! You are influencing people and that counts as leadership.

But, you may say, I feel inadequate! Well Lysa has a response for you:
"God calls inadequate people so He can work through them and He can receive the glory that is only His." God is only asking us to respond to His call. He has all the other details under control! That will include making any needed changes in you and your thinking. Lysa talks about how our actions and reactions must reflect God in us. The more we walk in obedience and welcome God to change what is needed, that will happen. Count on it!

Lysa closes the chapter with this: "Take care of the possible and let Him take care of the impossible." I know I am guilty of trying to "do God's job". Like I really could anyway, you know? It reminds me of Abraham and Sarah trying to take care of the impossible, having a son, when God already had it worked out. So often I am like Abraham and Sarah. God is not asking me to do what only He can do. He's asking me to do what I can do, what He has called me to do, nothing more. Lysa asked "What step is God asking you to take?" Take that step. Don't worry about the what ifs and how in the worlds. Just take that one step. "Take care of the possible and let Him take care of the impossible."

Chapter 13 - Death Does Not Mean Defeat

In chapter 13 we leave the "Believing" Phase and enter the "Death" phase. Hmmmm...I could get discouraged here by the name, but Lysa instructs us not to. She says, "Death brings about a new life that can't be found any other way."
This statement calls to mind two verses.

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:13, NIV)

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21, NIV)

The most significant thing it brings to mind though is my precious Savior Jesus. Jesus had to die so that I could have a new life that can't be found any other way than through Him. Now what Jesus suffered, what He gave up, is infinitely more significant than what I complain about. So God steered me in the direction of a completely different book than what I had imagined. Big deal! My little "vision" has to die in order for Him to birth His dream for me. What a small pittance compared to stepping down from the Heavenly Throne to die a horrid death on the cross.

Lysa tells the story of the guy she was sure she was going to marry. She had it all planned out. And then, he dumped her. That dream had to die. Lysa felt like she was dying. But, you see, God had Art in mind all the time. Lysa's idea of what she needed in a husband had to die so God could birth in her His criteria for her husband. Was it devastating to go through the death? I am sure it was. Was the death worth it? "Art is the perfect husband for me. God knew what I needed so much better than I did." I think that's a resounding yes.

In the personal study questions Lysa asked us to write about a time when you thought God was crazy or ignoring you (my paraphrase of course) but now you see He was working. Here is my very brief story:

When we moved to Raleigh, my husband's transfer fell through. He went through a period of unemployment or underemployment for 2 years. Because we had not made wise decisions, we were (and still are for right now) a two income family. So this was a devastating blow for us. The couple of times my husband got jobs, he was not able to keep them. This was not normal for him. He had a steady work history in Chicago. I felt, in the beginning and after every job loss, that Rick, the girls and I were forsaken. I was in utter disbelief that God would "let this happen." But He sure does know what He is doing. He used this time to bring my husband and I closer. We clung to each other and to our new church family. Most importantly we clung to God because who else were we going to turn to? Only He could change this situation. He did, after two years. My husband has held onto that job for 3 years now. Our finances are still shaky at times but we are making better decisions now. We are moving in God's direction for us financially. Each of us has deepened and strengthened our individual walks with the Lord. I do not believe we would be this close to God if our lives had gone the way we had planned. And as a further testimony, this experience is the very thing about which God has called me to write a book. He wants to use our experience to help other families. This is the step He has asked me to take: write the book.

So don't be afraid of death. God has a purpose in it. You may not see it right now but oh how you will rejoice later when you look back and recognize His hand at work. As Lysa put it, "This is not your defeat; this is your valley in the shadow of the mountain your soul longs to climb- a mountain of greater faith and closer intimacy with God than you ever thought possible." Put on your hiking boots! We have mountains to climb just as soon as we finish sloshing through the valley. Don't quit - keep going. The aroma of God's sweet presence is just a bit further along the road. Move toward it with confidence!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Review Time

Today I had my annual review at work. I really dislike those things. I know they have to be done but it doesn’t make me get a warm fuzzy about them. Something about subjecting yourself to listening to someone else’s opinion of you and what you do just doesn’t seem fun.

My review went okay. There were a lot of positive comments but then there were the “you need to work on these: items. There weren’t any real surprises there. He’d told me these a few months ago when I was a disenfranchised employee. I know what I need to work on. Question is, will I do it?

I started thinking about how this relates to God. The Holy Spirit serves as our “reviewer”. When we start down the wrong track, the Holy Spirit gently reminds of us that this is not what we should do.

“Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” (1 John 3:24, NIV)

We have a chance to correct it right away. In my review last year there were a few surprises. I had no idea some things I did were a problem. No one told me, so I never had the chance to correct the behavior. Thank goodness God has given us the Holy Spirit to steer us toward the right behavior right away. We don’t have to wait until eternity to learn we were on the wrong track!

In two weeks we set goals for next year. I’m to spend some time thinking about what those should be. Well I guess they should be the things he pointed out that need improvement. Are those things fun for me to work on? Nope. Will I work on them? Yes. In the same way, God has given us His Word by which we can gauge our actions. We don’t need to wait a whole year to know how we are doing, we can read His Word everyday and do a quick comparison. I like James and Proverbs for some good soul searching.

Take for instance James 1:19-20. Check your behavior against this: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..” Ummm, yeah. I fail on at least one of these all the time. I’m working on it though!

What about Proverbs 17:1: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” Ouch! I better stop yelling at the kids. They better quit arguing with each other.

Whether it’s a review on your job or the review of the Holy Spirit and God’s Holy Word, let’s be open to correction. We should aspire to be better, more holy people. After all God said " I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy." (Leviticus 11:44, NIV)

If we pursue holiness, reviewing ourselves versus the godly attributes in the bible will not inspire fear but anticipation of how far God has brought us in that area.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Feeling God's Heart

I've been praying hard this week about a prayer ministry for my church's middle and high school girls. It is something that God placed on my heart two years ago. For two years I've been disobedient by not pursuing this opportunity. This week I pitched the disobedience in the trash where it belonged. I contacted the lady who shepherds our girls. I told her my sad story of disobedience, my call to action from God and my sense that God wanted this done now. I was feeling so bad about being disobedient. But God (don't you love those two words) redeemed it. She mentioned that another parent had approached her about a prayer ministry. She feels also that the timing is now. Only God can take your disobedience and use it in His perfect timing. Just read the story of Jonah if you don't believe me!

So the rest of the day, I prayed for God's heart for these girls. I prayed for revelation and wisdom for either myself or another who would be involved in this ministry. We want to move forward as God would have us, not as we think we should. We want this to be His ministry from start to finish and everywhere in between. Well ladies, God did not fail me. I truly felt the verse " He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you." (John 16:14, NIV)

God's heart is breaking for our pre-teen and teen girls. How do I know? Because that night I felt it. My heart physically felt like it was breaking. It was more painful to me than when my dad died. I was completely overwhelmed. I thought, "Oh Father, is this how you feel when we reject you? Is this how you feel when we choose other than the best you have for us? Oh Father how do You stand it? I cannot bear this pain!" And I would fall to my knees and pray and cry. This happened many times that night.

There is a song by Israel Houghton and New Breed and in it is say"Break my heart with the things that break Your heart". I have sung that so many times in my car and home. Never did I think God would actually take me up on it! But He surely did.

I have no idea how the prayer ministry will look when it comes to fruition. But I know that it is God's heart for our girls. They have no idea how privileged they are to have a God who loves them so much. I certainly feel privileged that this same God has chosen to love me that much as well.

I share this not to bring glory to myself but to point to God. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is very real. We are told in scripture:

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16, NIV)

""No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" - but God has revealed it to us by His spirit" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NIV)

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2 Corinthians 4:7)

God is still active among us. We only need to draw near and seek Him wholly to see and feel His work. He will show Himself in miraculous ways. I believe He desires to demonstrate His love for us and His plan for us in ways we could never imagine. I experienced the miraculous, not because of me but because He desired to reveal Himself. There is nothing about me that deserved such a marvelous gift. And because of that I praise Him! Oh how I praise Him.

"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. " (Psalm 34:8-10)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yes to God Tuesday - Chapters 10 and 11

***All items in purple are direct quotes from Lysa***

Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays. We are in the midst of studying Lysa TerKeurt's book "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith". If it's your first week or you've been here the whole time, Welcome! This study is actually happening across several blogs. Be sure to stop by the leaders blog, Lelia, to see what all the other ladies are gleaming from this study.

This week we are looking at Chapters 10 and 11. Where has time gone? Chapter 11??!! Time flies when you're having fun in God's Word.

Chapter 10 - Roadblocks and Reassurances

In chapter 10 Lysa tells the story of her trials with a neighbor and a boundary dispute that involved Lysa's driveway. Throughout this time the neighbor blocked access to Lysa's driveway. God called Lysa to show His love to this person. And gee, she didn't want to. Oh how I can relate to that sentiment.

I have some of those "sandpaper people" in my life. You know them, the ones who make you feel like your bare skin is being rubbed by sandpaper. You and your emotions are raw after every encounter with them. The *last* thing I want to do is show love towards my sandpaper people. But that is just what God calls me to do every time. Are you surprised? I fuss every time. Then I come to my senses and obey. I pray one day I'll skip right over the fussing to the obeying part. I'm always looking at my "rights" and my feelings.

Lysa encourages us to "Let Him help you find a perspective beyond your own." One way I have found to do this is to pray for my sandpaper person. The last sandpaper person I used this technique with is now someone I can laugh and joke with. We can share easy conversations. God applied His healing salve to my sandpaper burns, His bridge of commonality to our relationship and His heart desire for her to my heart. Isn't He just the coolest? When I took on His heart for her as my own heart for her, my perspective changed. God had blessed me with His perspective.

I was thrilled to see Hosea 10:12 as a verse in this chapter since I just finished studying that book. When I looked in my bible, I had highlighted that same verse. I just love when God does that! It says to "sow for yourselves righteousness." I have none, so I depend on God for that. "Reap in mercy" is next, meaning God will be merciful if we follow Him (see story in previous paragraph). The next part says "Break up your fallow ground". That means plowing ladies. What I read was, quit being hard-hearted and hard-headed. Do the hard thing God is asking to do and you will reap a harvest "Till He comes and rains righteousness on you". AMEN!! And what else does that give us? Well Lysa tells us. She says "You have His peace because you have His presence." And His presence is so sweet it makes me look a whole lot better than I would without it.

Chapter 11 - God Will Make A Way

The phrase I highlighted and put an exclamation point by was "Our feelings do not have to dictate our choices." What a true statement. And how easy to forget this. In the heat of the moment I'm concentrating on my feelings. And I often let them dictate my choices. Wish I'd quit doing that because almost as often as I do that, the outcome is not what I desire. I think about the times I've yelled at my kids and then wished I had not because they were acting out of some hurt they had received from someone else. What about when I've stayed angry at my husband just to 'get even' and missed out on times of intimacy and sharing. Occasionally I have created an even bigger rift between us. How often have I not done something God had clearly placed on my heart because of my own feelings or fears about it. That's not what He wants us to do. He wants us to walk in faith. That faith is in His abilities, which are unlimited, and not our abilities, which are extremely limited in comparison.

Lysa states, "through Jesus' atoning blood, we are equipped with everything we need to do His will." We have everything we need- because all we need is Jesus and our own willing heart. Are you willing today?

******REMINDER: stop by Lelia's to see other responses to this study*******

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yes to God Tuesdays (on Wednesday)

** Direct quotes from Lysa are in purple **

We’re clipping right along in our study of Lysa TerKeurst’s book What Happens When Women Walk In Faith. I know I’m a day late, but I think that’s okay for one week. So join me for Yes to God Tuesdays on Wednesday!

This week we are looking at chapters 8 and 9. Come along on the journey!

Chapter 8 – Refusing to Get Bogged Down in Bitterness

Lysa begins the chapter speaking about not getting bogged down in bitterness during the famine phase. She says “…things will be stripped from you that hinder the relationship He wants to have with you.” I don’t know about you but that’s a scary thought. We already don’t really know where God’s taking us exactly and now we can’t even have our little security blanket. Linus (from the Peanuts) would be appalled! Heck I’m appalled. But the good side of it is that God wants us to use Him as our security blanket. You can’t get more secure than the Creator and Sustainer of the universe!

Lysa tells the story of Joseph. If anyone had reason to be bitter, it was Joseph. He went through so much. He could have had the most foul-smelling attitude. However he did not. Even though God did not immediately pluck him from the situation, Joseph still remained faithful and true to trusting ad honoring God. As a result, God honored Him. I could sure learn a lesson here! The next quote really gave me reason to pause. It was something that had been on my own heart recently and to see it in the study confirmed that I need to be more diligent in this area. Lysa commented, “People are watching you. Even when you think they aren’t looking, they are. They want to see if your claims of faithfulness hold true even when life gets hard.” Hmmm. I don’t do to well with this one at work. That is my biggest area of challenge. God is truly prompting me to not cave in to bitterness and complaining there. He wants to be shown strong at work too. I’m not helping people see that. It’s a stressful place and some of the things I’m going through now are extremely hard to deal with. I know I complain too much. I show my bitterness way too often. So I have resolved and prayed for the Holy Spirit to be evident and working. That’s what God wants my co-workers and superiors to see.

Lysa gives some advice for when bitterness comes knocking at our door. “Don’t answer that knock. Don’t listen to the voice of bitterness. Don’t even crack the door to peek outside.” All I can say is AMEN!

Chapter 9 – A Most Unlikely Path

In Chapter 9 we move into discussion about phase three, the believing phase. Lysa tells us “God knows the best routes for us. He sees dangers and temptations that we don’t see along the way.” This is why it is important for us to just follow Him. We tend to argue when we know He’s right (and I am guilty as charged here). I especially liked when she gave a response to our “I don’t feel like doing that Lord” argument. She said “Feelings follow correct behaviors, not the other way around.” I need to remember this moment by moment. Do you?

She also said “Believing God is not for the weak at heart. It’s only for those who want to discover the rich blessings of walking close enough to God to hear the constant drumming of His heartbeat.” I plan to pray daily to not be weak at heart. I do want to discover God’s rich blessings. Sometimes I pray for Him to send me a neon sign because I want to make sure the whisper I heard was Him. But my desire is to be able to know His whisper and be sure that I understand what He means. As I continue to walk with Him in faith and say yes, I know this will happen. And I will be thrilled!

Start believing God today! Whatever situation you are in, believe in God’s plan. He’s always reliable because He is perfect. Amen!

Stop by Lelia's blog to see what others have to say about the study this week!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Get A Clear Vision

I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tired. I worked the Customer Expo and Convention my company hosts every year. I am beyond tired. My husband kept referring to it as a retreat. I think he's seen too many TV depictions of conventions. Mine involved WORK, and lots of it.

It just reminds me of how we sometimes let the world cloud our view of something. My husband was relying on the "fun, games and silliness" he's seen previously on TV shows. The reality was far from that.

The world would have us think God is restrictive, punishing, intolerable and many other detrimental things. If this is the only picture of God someone sees, it's no wonder people want nothing to do with Him. But if we are able to show them the true picture of God, they would see love, understanding, mercy, acceptance, forgiveness, grace, blessing and freedom. What totally opposing views!

I challenge you today to help someone get a clear vision of who our God is. Let's help them see the true Living God we serve and not the distorted one the world presents.

Be blessed and be a blessing today!