Tuesday, January 31, 2006

My Recipe Book

Each week before heading to the grocery store, I plan a menu for the week to come. I sit down, think through my recipes, think through our schedule of weekly events and plan the meals accordingly. Over Christmas, I received several new cook books. So last week when I planned this week's meals, I skimmed the pages in my new Paula Deen cookbook and two of my Rachel Ray cookbooks. But the cookbook where I seem to always find the best recipes happens to be my own cookbook. When my Great Grandmother died, my Mom found a book among her many cookbooks that was empty. It was a little book that said "Treasured Recipes". Inside were blank pages with space to fill in your own recipes. My Mom saved it for almost five years and gave it to me at one of my Bridal showers. It's priceless! Not just because it was my Great Grandmother's but priceless because of all the recipes I have written inside for the past five years. The pages are full and this precious little book is over flowing with pieces of paper I have stuck inside with more recipes. Each time I pull out this priceless treasure, I think about how my daughter will have this book someday. I think about all the different women that have poured into my life and shared not only their hearts but their recipes. Some recipes I don't use very much. Some recipes I only use for a special occasion, some I use every other week and some I have only made once and may never make again. But, no matter how often I use a particular recipe or how often I don't, I just can't throw any of them away.

As I look at each recipe that I have been given, I see a name. I make sure to mark every single recipe I receive with a name so I will always remember who gave it to me. My Lasagna recipe is from a very Godly woman who mentored me and loved me through very difficult times. She is no longer in my life, but her recipe reminds me of how precious she was and how well she cooked. My Rum Cake recipe is from a very special friend who helped me through some very difficult times. I was living with her family when I met Jeremy. I have known her since I was one year old. Her Rum Cake recipe brought great success in my baking business, just as her love brought healing to my life. Another recipe I love, one I will make tonight, Chicken Crescent Rolls. This recipe came from a friend that I still talk to. We now live forty miles apart and don't see each other very much but her friendship has brought joy to me in so many ways. Her recipes I cherish. These women shared their lives with me and they gave me more than a recipe for dinner, they gave me recipes for life.

Then there are the recipes I don't really use. I have almost thrown these recipes away. Some of these come from women that have hurt me or destroyed my confidence. Why would I ever want to use their recipe? When I look at their recipe card, my mind goes back to the event, my heart remembers the pain. Maybe I should just throw their recipe away. At one time, their ingredients brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart. Even though they are no longer a part of my journey, their recipe was a part of my life. So, I keep it.
Who knows, someday I may need what they once gave.

Oh how I love to get new recipes! I love meeting women who are good cooks because I get their recipes! I love the older women, who have tried their recipes many different ways. Through the years they have added this or added that and now they know what works and what doesn't. Even now, I now of a few ladies in my church I would like some recipes from. Maybe I can learn something new. Maybe I can learn a new way to prepare my meals. Maybe I can learn how to serve my recipes in the most perfect way. Maybe I can receive their precious ingredients to add to my journey. I am always needing a new dish!

Father, help me to trust again and open my heart to new recipes.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have been lost

My Husband will tell you that I am notorious for loosing things around the house. My Wedding ring has been lost many times in my own house. I only loose it for a few minutes but I can never seem to remember where I took it off. Sometimes I take it off in my bathroom, sometimes sitting at my desk, sometimes in the kitchen. Then, there is my chaptsick. I buy chapstick almost every time I buy groceries because I can't find it when I am at home. Sunglasses, car keys, I loose them! The sad part, the things I loose are usually sitting right in front of me. My husband says he can never find the phones in our house. They are cordless and I seem to leave them all over the house. So usually when someone calls, we don't make it to the phone in time because we can't find the phone! But a few days ago, I realized I truly had a problem with loosing things when I couldn't find my debit card. The last place I had used it was in my own home! I had called a Cruise line to pay the balance on a cruise we are taking for my 30th birthday. Later when I needed my debit card, I realized it was not in my wallet. I tore the house up looking for it but couldn't find it. The only thing that brought me comfort was the fact that I had used it last in my house. So I KNEW it had to be around my desk somewhere, the place I was sitting when I called and paid for the cruise. After looking in some of the most unusual places possible, I gave up. I didn't bring it up again to my husband because I knew he would give me a hard time. I knew it wasn't in the street somewhere so I just let it go and borrowed my husband's for my trip to the grocery store. However, I did pray that the Lord would help me find that debit card. Whenever I loose something, I always ask God to help me find it. He always does.

So yesterday, I am sitting in church and our Pastor asks us to open up our Bibles. My husband opens my Bible, elbows me in the side and whispers "LOOK!" It was my Bank of America Debit Card! Yes, I had stuck it in my Bible or did I? I don't know how or why it got there but I know it was a place I never thought to look.

Sometimes I get lost. It's like I forget where I have been and go back to a place that isn't the best for me. My way of thinking reverts back to the old way. My attitude changes and my joy is no where to be found. I can't seem to find that Godly Woman ANYWHERE. For some reason, it is in those moments that I don't read God's Word, I don't pray, I don't praise. Instead, I get lost in my circumstances. I get lost in my trial and I don't even try to find my way back. If only, I looked in God's Word when I experience such drought. If only, I looked for His peace when I needed it the most. Last week, I needed Jesus.
I needed His peace, I need His strength but I didn't look for Him.
My Bible remained close, my heart remained empty, my eyes remained shut and my mind remained in total anguish. The answer was there all along, but I never thought to look.

Father, please help me to push through those moments. Help me to not remain in the funk, help me to get out and get out quick! May I always find you quickly for I know you are there waiting. Thank you for allowing me to loose my debit card. I have heard you speak once again. I love you Jesus. I need you. I asked you to help me and of course, You did!


Psalm 30

May I be clothed with joy today!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fashion Statement

She's my inspiration, she's my teacher, she's my confidant, she's my mentor, she's my hair stylist, she's my biggest fan, she's my children's grandmother, she's my Mother. She is everything I hope to be and more. Now, I share her with you. The Word in me, she prayed I would search for it. The faith in me, she prayed I would find it. The hope and peace in me, she prayed I would receive it. The passion for Jesus, she taught me how to have it. This woman has God's written Word in her like no one else I know. She believes it, she lives it and I pray that now she can teach it to all of us.

Introducing my beautiful Mother to you and her blog, Fashion Statement. I know you will be blessed.



All I can say is WOW! I am amazed at the women in my life. Some of you are ones that just read my blogs and I don't even know what your faces look like. I don't know you in person but I know you in heart and spirit. I am so glad that God has given me the ability to be transparent, otherwise I would not experience all of your words that fill me up. ALL OF YOU!

Well, I just got home from the Doctor's office. This morning Josiah was burning up , eyes rolling back and would not walk. I WAS TERRIFIED. I called my mom and she began to pray for him. It truly was an act of God. I called and told the Doctor's office that my son seemed very sick, shaking, high fever and the office manager said bring him in NOW! I was shocked because this doesn't usually happen. Then, we get there and the office manager sees Ava Beth and says, "Sweetie, you don't look good either." The pediatrician who we have never seen (we always see the nurse practioner) walks up and wants to see both of my kids immediately. ANOTHER thing that never happens! I was shocked! No waiting, no waiting in the exam room, no waiting at all! Josiah had 103.4 temp with STREP throat and AB has an ear infection. The ear infection is a first for me, my kids have never had them! So, we have all of our medicine and we are now on the road to recovery, $100 later! Co pays and drugs! But, they only charged me one copay for both kids. It may have been an accident on their part but a blessing on God's. Today, I could feel God loving on me. It was too easy and I know that came from HIM. The Doctor said, "Josiah with that kind of fever, how are you even talking?" HA! He never shuts up! Don't know where he gets that from! :) Actually, my mom was praying the whole time and Jeremy's mom was with me, so Josiah's spirit brightened despite the high fever, another God thing!

Thank you all so much, I love each of you for what you have poured into my life. Pray for my babies!

More to come later...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What color do you want?

I haven't smelled a new car in a long time. But now I can because the Lord blessed us with a new vehicle that we needed. Not only does it have that wonderful new car smell but it is the color I wanted and chose. Never have I been given the choice to choose the color!
I never imagined I would ever hear the words, "What color do you want?"

Choosing a color was actually kind of difficult. I have never been able to choose what color vehicle I wanted. In the past we have bought used and it works out to be the color that happens to be the best deal so I don't have a choice. But buying new allows you to have a choice. So, as I looked in the book at all the different colors, I was unsure as to what I liked best. Finally, the sales manager said "You tell us what color you like and we will drive it up here and let you take a look at it." Okay, that's easy enough! I don't think the guy counted on my next move. "Well, I like three colors." By the end of our chat inside the Ford House, each color I liked was driven to the front for me to view. Let me say, I felt powerful for sure! My husband was a little taken back by my commands/demands on this salesman but I knew I had to be SURE before we drove off that lot. The friendly salesman didn't seem bothered and allowed me to take the time I needed to choose the color. Suddenly, I decided! "Okay, I want the silver one!" Jeremy loved the silver, the salesman said he thought it was a good color, so I agreed. Then, it hit me as I looked out the window at the other colors that I didn't want silver! "I don't want the silver." Annoyed, my husband glares at me and the salesman says, "Okay, what do you want?" I then told the two that I would be back in a moment. I knew I had to go outside and really check those colors out. Then it happened, I made my final decision and there was no way I was changing my mind. "Pueblo Gold Metallic, that's the color I want." And that's the color I got.

At times I am overwhelmed with the things in my life that need to change. Some things never seem to really go away completely but some things need to. There are attitudes I struggle with, mainly about myself. I get frustrated easily, I get stressed easily, I get my feelings hurt way too easily and I worry about what others think way too much! I know I'm getting better. I know I'm not where I was a few months ago or even weeks ago. God is constantly shaping me.
Days come where I feel I know what I want and I know what I have to do to get there. Then those days are almost always followed by days that throw me off the path I was on prior to the bad day. Up and down, down and up. It seems I can't find stable ground. One minute my marriage is great, the next minute I am struggling beyond measure. One minute, I love those in my life that hurt me. I am able to look beyond things they have done, things they have said and love them anyway. Other days, I want to burn the bridge, blow it up with dynamite and never go back to a place where I can be hurt again.
My struggles throw me off and confuse me. Then I wonder, "Will I ever get this Lord? Will I ever be done with all of this junk in my life? Will I ever really be sure of who I am?" Do I really know who I am in Christ? Am I truly seeking His approval or others? Do I really know what color I want?

The past week and a half has consisted of me being confused, me being angry, me being sad and me being in a full blown funk! Honestly, I am still feeling like I am in it. I am irritated and bothered. I am just plain yucky. It's like a virus has come in and hit my spiritual health. And you know you the only thing that will cure a virus is time. So, I have continued reading the Word and continued praying. I have tried hard to push through it but I still feel like I am unsure of so many things right now. I am not unsure of God, just unsure of what He is wanting me to do right now in many areas.
As soon as I thank I have it figured out, I don't! Even now as I type this blog, I wonder how on earth any of you can relate to this.
I wonder if I should even be writing. I wonder what in the heck is going on with me. I'm not pregnant (usually in a bad mood for no apparent reason), I'm not experiencing the monthly curse (usually mad), I just feel so bothered. As I looked through the book at the dealership of all the different colors to choose from for my new vehicle, I was overwhelmed. I had to see the actual color in person, not in a book. Otherwise, there was no possible way I knew what color I wanted. I had to touch it, I had to see it! I had to walk away from the vehicle to see how the color looked from a distance.

Well, it seems that God is allowing me to experience the same thing with my life. I am seeing things I don't like. I am feeling things that need to change. I am coming face to face with the colors in my life.
I see them from a distance and I see what I like and what I don't like. The only way for me to have the best is to get rid of the worst. Before I can have what God desires to give me, some things have to be in order. So, I ask you my blovel readers, to pray that I get this! Pray that I will begin choosing the best colors for my life. For God has given me a choice, I must choose.

Proverbs 24:27
Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


When I was a little girl, my Mom had the most incredible super power I had ever witnessed. I could look her straight in the eye tell her a lie without a blink, and she knew I was lying. She will tell you that I caught on very soon. I knew I could not get past her super ability to recognize a lie when she heard one. So, I was not big into lying.
In fact, I was the kind of child that always confessed. While in Junior High and High School, I hated this about myself. Many of my friends would sneak out at night but not me! I just couldn't do it, I knew I would get caught. So, I never bothered. Now my little brother on the other hand, I don't think that boy ever told the truth. One night he came home after missing curfew. I was so happy because I knew He was toast! Yes, I liked it when he got caught! He was the Baby and I hated that about Him. Anyway, he was late, missed curfew and came home to meet my parents at the door, very upset. His shirt was ripped to shreds, his face scratched up, and his countenance full of fear. "Mom, someone beat me up!" I couldn't believe it! I was mad! As much as I resented Him being the baby, I was ready to kick someone's tail for beating up my little brother!! I had never seen him so upset. I thought for sure He was safe, no way was He going to get grounded for being beat up by some punk kid. But then my Mom looked at Him and said, "Josh, you ripped your own shirt didn't you? You put those scratches on your face didn't you?" WHAT? What is my Mom talking about? Is she nuts? How could she think that about my little brother? Who would beat themselves up to keep from getting into trouble?! Then, I remembered her super power. She KNOWS when her kids are lying, she feels it. Well, I don't remember how that story played out exactly but just recently, my twenty-six year old baby brother, CONFESSED. He stuck to the story for many years, but my Mom knew the truth. She knew it was a lie, she just knew. Now I know that I am the smarter one because if I were Him I would have made curfew! After all, Mom always knows the TRUTH.

For some reason I have a hard time seeing the truth at times.
My mind goes before me and hears things, sees things and believes things that are not always TRUTH. Recently I believed that someone in my life was mad at me. I really believed that they didn't like me.
I had my reasons but I really had no proof, just feelings that I felt while this person was around. It began to take over my thought life.
I imagined conversations that I thought this person was having about me. In the shower, in my dreams, in my thoughts all through out the day, I battled with this thought. I just knew they were plotting against me! These thoughts overpowered me and I believed this was the TRUTH. So, naturally when I saw this person I became nervous. After all, they didn't like me! Or that's what I believed. After a while, after finally giving this over to the Lord, God revealed something to me. This whole time, I was believing a lie. The TRUTH was not that this person did not like me. The TRUTH? I believed a lie.

Okay Women! Here's the deal, we are not perfect. We all mess up! We all have bad days, time of the month, menopause, hormonal, freaky days! But do you realize that those days are the devil's favorite days? He loves it! Those days, he likes to play around in your thoughts and create scenarios for you to believe. Those scenarios are LIES! Men don't walk around saying, "He didn't talk to me today! What's his deal?" They also don't say, "Why did she just give me that dirty look?" And they sure as heck don't say, "I know He's talking about me. I know it!" So why do we? Why do we believe the lie? Hey, if you have hormonal days you can guarantee every other woman you meet does too.

A few months ago I was not in a great place, my countenance was drained and I was not a happy woman. It showed. I wasn't friendly, I wasn't approachable, I wasn't interested in you at all. We had left a situation where I believed no one liked me and while that is probably the case for some, it wasn't TRUTH. But, I made it the truth. And ladies if you think someone doesn't like you, you will start behaving like they don't like you and guess what? They aint' gonna like ya sister! Don't believe the lie, tap in to your supernatural powers through Jesus and see the TRUTH!

Today, the Holy Spirit revealed something awesome to me so I end my blovel (which by the way I love this word!) with this, it all starts with the thoughts in our heart. Make sure those thoughts are TRUTH. Ladies, PRAY that God will show you the TRUTH of every situation and your feelings usually don't reveal the TRUTH, but Jesus will.

Proverbs 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wear Praises!

My Mom is my greatest inspiration and a much better writer than me. There was a time when she was living in Houston and I was here in Dallas. I was engaged and frantic as I was trying to plan my Wedding with her living four hours away. She was there to help me and talk me through so many moments of panic. She has always been my rock and this is what she shared with me years ago. I have a denim, Calvin Klein jacket with the words "Garment of Praise" written inside with a sharpie. I love you Mom! Thank you for reminding me daily to wear His praises. Oh and I am so glad I have you so close to me now! See you tonight Mom. Enjoy everyone! This is what my mom wrote.

Wearing Praise
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,
that he might be glorified.
Isaiah 61:3

In 1976, David Ingles pinned the song, Garment of Praise. It goes like this:

Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
Life up your voice to God.
Praise with the spirit and with understanding.
O, magnify the Lord.

Pick up the garment of praise and WEAR it. In Psalm 34:1, David declared, "I will bless the Lord at all time; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. David said, "his praise shall continually be in my mouth". Continually simply means that it is uninterrupted. Why is it that we feel we only need to praise God when things are going our way? We should praise Him because of WHO He is -- not because of WHAT He has done. His name is great and greatly to be praised.
In EVERYTHING we are to give Him thanks. Remember, we enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts but we enter his COURTS with praise. I love to praise the Lord. The Lord has blessed me because I have learned to praise Him. The Lord has healed my body while I have been praising Him. I wasn't down on my knees begging God to heal me -- I was praising Him for being my strong tower that I can run into and be safe. I was praising Him because He is an awesome God. I was praising Him because He is my refuge and my fortress.
I was praising Him because He has given His angels charge over me.
I was praising Him because He is my rock; He is my healer; He is my deliverer; He is my peace; He is my comfort; He is the lover of my soul; He is my provider; He is my banner; He is my shepherd; He is my righteousness; and He is my Lord who is there.

I encourage you to "put on the garment of praise". When you are feeling down, delight YOURSELF in the Lord, encourage YOURSELF in the Lord, and bless His holy name. He is worthy of your highest praise. There is none greater than Him. He knows your need before you ask so praise Him for who He is.

Wear Praises!
Written by Karen Pierce

Let It Go

The past few days have been kind of down for me. I have spent time in God's word and felt empty. Each day I have wanted to write a blog and I have prayed as I always do for the Lord to speak to me.
But, nothing comes. It seems that there are times when He is speaking to me through every single thing going on in my life. I love how He speaks to me! He gives me real life examples to apply to my life. He shows me in ways that I will understand and then He gives me the ability to use it to speak into other's lives. I love writing, I love being used by God to comfort His children. Someday, I desire to write a Bible Study and an actual book. I know it will happen, I know it's my destiny. But, for now I write my first pages through my Blog. It has been an outlet for me, it has been healing for me.

I recently read a person's blog that said some things that bothered me. This person talked about how no one cares that much to have to scroll down and squint their eyes to read a person's blog. They even came up with a name for a someone's blog like mine, a Blovel. So, I guess that's what I am, a Blovelist. It kind of brought me down as I read this entry on this person's blog. I don't know if he/she has ever read my blog, hopefully not because they would hate it. He/she posted words with cruel intent. It really hurt my spirit. My husband said, "Who cares what they think!" True, but for some reason it bothered me that someone could be so ugly. The whole idea of a blog is to write about what YOU want to write about and if you don't like to scroll down or squint your eyes to read, you don't have to read it. I will never use this blog to ridicule someone's purpose and my purpose is to minister through my blog. Then I went to another blog where a Mother was sharing her experiences as an Adoptive Mom and one of her postings had forty-four comments of hate. Women ridiculing her for adopting, women who were birth mothers that hated adoptive mothers. Someone had also attached a porn site to her blog. All of the postings were by women and of course all anonymous entries. So the past few days, I felt kind of sad over some of the things I have seen in the blogging world. My readers would never know this because I remove the comments if they are mean, but I have even had vicious comments sent to me over my postings. They are sent anonymous because the person does not wish to be revealed. That's probably best. I wish I did not let people hurt me so easily but they do.

It seems that I have just felt empty lately. Even though I have spent time with God and spent time in His word, I have continued to feel empty. We all have times like that, it is perfectly normal. But, this morning I realized why. Through out my life, I have had experiences where others have tore me down. They have said and done things that I can't believe and I have always had a hard time just letting it go. I am a a fighter! I like to fight for what I believe in because I have had to much of my life. I'll fight for you in prayer, I'll fight for your reputation, I'll fight for your dream because I have had to do the same in my own life. But at times, this is exhausting because the motivation for my fight is because of what YOU have said about me. But this morning, God reveals something to me again that I have to change. Again! I have to let go. I have to let go of the voices in my head that tear me down. I have to let go of those that have hurt me. I have to let go of the disapproval. I have to let people go. I have to embrace who I am and where I have been and if YOU don't like that, then I have to let you go.

I pray every day that God can use my weakness, my transparency and my pain to show others how awesome Jesus is. A very special person said to me yesterday that "Making Jesus famous here on earth is our goal!" I love that! I thought about that all day long. So, that's my prayer! Through my blovel, I pray that I can make Jesus famous!
Hey, and let me warn you now that if you don't like to squint or scroll down several times, you don't want to read my blog. As I prayed this morning that you would find Jesus through my writing, I read one that helped me. I needed this more than I knew. It's called Let It Go, and that's what I am praying I can do.

Thank you to my faithful readers. I pray for you and I feel HONORED that you would take time to read my entries. My grammar will not always be perfect. Actually it will never be perfect. My words you may not always understand or agree with but I pray that God will always give me words to share and help you in your walk.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

May I never forget

When I was twelve years old I went through a plate glass window causing several cuts all over my body. As a result of this accident, I received over a hundred stitches and my face, arms, legs and one of my feet have scars to prove it. The glass not only caused deep cuts all over my body but almost completely knocked out my two front, upper teeth. I remember that horrible day so well. I was scared and frightened by all of the blood coming from my face and knowing my two front teeth were pretty much gone caused great fear. As I rode in the ambulance to the hospital, I remember being so afraid that because of this horrible accident that my face would be ugly.
Thanks to Doctors and Dentists, you would never know by looking at me that such an event ever happened. Once in a while someone will ask, "What happened to cause those scars on your face?" In the Summer, the scars tend to be more noticeable due to sun exposure and I'll suddenly remember that awful day spent in the emergency room. But if it weren't for the scars, I don't think it would ever cross my mind.

It seems I will be praying for the rest of my life about certain things. You know those things that constantly beat you down? The things that you find yourself praying about over and over again. For me it is without a shadow of doubt, WORRY. I must say that my worrying is nothing like it used to be. It no longer rules my days. There was a time as a single adult working in the professional world that I would sit in my cubicle and worry all day long. As I performed my job each day, I was bombarded with worry. The worry had nothing to do with my job, but it had infiltrated my entire life. Today I am not that bad. Praise the Lord, I have changed. But every once in a while, WORRY pops up and tries to reign once again. When it does I wonder what it's going to take for me to finally be rid of that struggle! I know what the Bible says, I know what my Pastor says, I have even ministered to others regarding worry but it still creeps up sometimes.

Just as those scars on my face remind me of the day when I was twelve years old, the worry reminds me of how dependent I have to be on Jesus. If it weren't for the scars, I probably would never think of how I went through that plate glass window. If it weren't for worry, I don't think I would have learned to be on my knees in prayer submitting everything to my Father. It's worry that has caused so much pain and strife in my life but it's worry that has proven my need for dependence on Jesus. One of my favorite passages of scriptures says it best in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
"7 Even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. 8Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

For me I have found that I still have a little bit of the sting from pain left inside of me. Days come when I feel that I am right where I used to be, unchanged. I wonder when I will ever be totally free! Then I realize how thankful I am to not be totally free and that I never will be. For my dependence on Him would not be there if it wasn't for those ugly things in my life that chase me. Those things that remind me of how much I need Him. That's what He died for. That's what He saved us for. That's why I'm so thankful that there are so many things I still need saving from. May I never forget! May I never forget the pain that has brought me to my Lord. For when I am weak, then I am strong!

Is your health at risk?

I am totally flabbergasted by the fact that making an appointment to see a dermatologist is almost impossible. Since moving to this new area of the metroplex, I thought I would try to find one nearby. I called several only to hear, "I'm sorry we do not have a waiting list or cancellation list and our next available appointment is not until the end of March." Call after call, not one could see me. Then I remember that I saw a dermatologist regularly, who is in the area, about four years ago so I gave her office a call. Surely, I can get in since I am an established patient, I thought. Even though it was several years ago, most Doctors keep your chart and allow you to come back at any time without waiting months! As I spoke to the receptionist she told me time and time again that she could not find my name. "Are you sure you saw Dr. Black?" she asks. "Yes, I am positive." Then she asks for my social and finds my name! "Okay, Ms. Hayes what will you be coming in for?" I explain that I have a mole in question and I really feel it needs to be checked out. As she searches for an appointment she then tells me this. "Okay, I can get you in on February 1st but she will not have time for a full body check, only that one place."
Taken back by the delivery of her statement I then say, "So if there is any other little spot I am questioning, am I not allowed to ask her about it?" She says, "Well, you can but I need to know now." Now at this point, even though the receptionist was a little quirky, there was no way I was going to change my mind about going to this Doctor.
This Doctor I really liked four years ago and all the other doctors can't see me anytime soon so I'm gonna go with this sassy receptionist and give her what she wants. "Well, there is one other place that I may be a little worried about." "So you have two places you need checked?" She asks. "Yes." "Okay, well I have you down for February 1st at 10:30am." Now that I have that taken care of, I pray that my mole in question is nothing serious and I pray that the two weeks I have to wait to see the Doctor will not be detrimental to my health.

At times I walk around carrying many things that are detrimental to my health, spiritual health. I should have had them checked a long time ago but didn't. Sometimes I carry around worry about a problem, sometimes I carry anger towards someone, sometimes I carry a grudge. I am sure you can think of different things you carry around. The longer you carry it, the more you risk your health.

God desires for His children to be healthy. How can we guide others towards Him if we can't forgive? How can we show someone how God provides and how He takes care of our every need if we ourselves are worrying? How can we show others the peace and joy God provides if anger rules our lives? The more we carry, the more we are useless, ineffective, incapable of showing Jesus to the many in our lives that need Him.

As I search my heart, I know the things that I have to have checked. Otherwise, my health is at risk and I can't move any further. I don't want to wait to weeks. I don't want to get on a waiting list, I want to take care of it now. I no longer want to risk my health.

Is your health at risk?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Go with it!

Growing up in Texas has proven how interesting the weather can be. My memories of Holidays, Spring Breaks, Summers, they all seem so schizophrenic due to the changing weather. I have lived in the Metroplex my entire life, almost thirty years and you would think that the weather would not bring shock to me anymore but it still does. When I was in 7th grade, it snowed in March on my Spring Break. When I was in High School, there was a particular Thanksgiving that we were iced in! There was another time in High School, that we had a Friday night football game fall on Halloween night, it was snowing, sleeting, the whole bit! Then, this past Christmas, it was in the 70's! The Summers here are so hot, so miserable, so sticky and humid that by July, I am craving the cool weather. Then AUGUST hits and I am overwhelmed with my hatred for Summer! And then September comes and for some dumb reason, all of the stores begin to put winter clothes out for you to buy! Texas isn't cold in September!!
We are still swimming and wearing our flip flops for Heaven's sake! October brings just a little bit of hope. That month will do one of two things, sometimes both. It's either still HOT or there's a surprise norther that's flown into town! I will never forget an October about ten years ago. I walked into a grocery store to get some money out of an ATM machine before going to a concert. As I walked into the store I could feel the wind picking up but the air was still warm. After getting my money I walked outside and it was freezing.
That evening, the weatherman said the norther hit within record time causing the cold air to hit within a couple of minutes.
In a couple of minutes, everything changed! Today's Weather?
Well, we are pretty much the same as Florida! Look at Tampa's forecast and it will match ours except they may be getting the rain we need. This January so far has been the warmest I have ever known. It's driving me crazy. I wish it would make up it's mind so I could find something appropriate to wear. My legs and arms are white as can be and my toes aren't ready to be seen. But, who cares! I'm gonna wear short sleeves, paint those toe nails and put on some flip flops!I'm gonna go with it!

A few weeks ago one of my closest friends thought they were being transferred from Texas to North Carolina only to find out that things changed and they are now being transferred to Indiana. Big change! Just days ago we talked about my family coming to their new home in the Summer for a vacation. North Carolina? Who wouldn't want to go their for a vacation! But a few days ago, I learned that we will be visiting Indiana instead. Nothing against Indiana, it's just not where we thought they were headed. But as I talked to my friend about their up and coming move, I realized she was ready to go when she said, "I'm going trust God and go with it. I know He is going to take us where He wants us and I have to trust that." My precious friend reminded me that there are so many times we don't understand the path we are on, but we have to go with it!

Life changes so quick. We are one road one minute and on another the next. Sometimes our original plans don't turn out how we thought they originally would. Circumstances change, plans change, people change and everything we knew to be our stable ground, goes out the window. I can think of so many times I have fought change in my life. But finally when I go with it, when I accept the change of plans, my frustration disappears. It's so much easier to let God take care of the road we are on instead of ourselves. We may never know why things changed so soon or why things didn't happen according to our plan. But one thing is for sure, His plan is so much better.
So, go with it!

Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)
Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD'S voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He's the one who will keep you on track.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's Okay To Walk

Several years ago, I was a runner. While I was single, living alone, without any responsibility except myself, it was easy for it to be a part of my daily routine. My schedule allowed me to come home from work and run at a nearby trail almost every single day. At one time I was running four miles a day. As I think about that now, I am shocked to think that I actually ran that much at one time without walking. I never let myself walk, I felt like was wasting time if I walked so I ran.

At the end of this past year I decided that it was time for me to begin running again. My youngest is a year old and my body has had plenty of time to adjust so what better way to get my body in shape, regain much needed energy and tone up some loose skin than to run. With little ones at home, I decided that the best thing for my schedule was a treadmill. So my husband agreed and we found a wonderful treadmill with a great price and it now sits in our bedroom. I am proud to say that for almost two weeks now, I have bonded with this gigantic work out machine and not once have I hung a piece of clothing on it! In fact, I actually look forward to the kids having their nap time each day so I can use my treadmill. For it's the only time of the day when it's all about ME!

As I began my routine with my new friend, the treadmill, I was shocked to notice how difficult it was to start running again. I knew I would have to walk some as I started out but I didn't know I would have to walk as much as I have. I have quickly learned that I am not twenty three anymore, I am a few months shy of thirty and my body is not as hip on running as it used to be! Last week I was so bothered by my inability to run for a straight twenty five minutes. I kept pushing myself until my body almost collapsed while on the treadmill. Finally I realized that there was no way I could continue at this pace, I had to walk. Still feeling unsettled by this realization, still feeling like I was a looser and not making a difference in my body by walking, I found an article in a Runner's World Magazine entitled, "It's Okay To Walk." Stunned by this title, I read it and felt better about my workouts. "If you're just beginning a fitness program, the best way to start is by walking, "says Budd Coates, four time Olympic Marathon Qualifier and running coach. WHAT? You mean it's okay to walk? I felt relieved as I read the article. It also included a ten week program that builds your workout into running thirty minutes at a time without walking. So, that's what I'm doing! The cool thing about it, it's working! My running time has increased, my walking time has decreased and I feel better. But, first I had to realize it was okay to walk.

The Christian journey can really take it out of us sometimes.
Not because Jesus requires too much! Not because He drains us!
Not because He overwhelms us! Instead, it's because of what we expect from ourselves. We mess up, we fight with our spouse, we yell at our kids, we say a cuss word, we drink too much, we say too much, we worry too much. Time and time again, we will fail but it's okay. All of us fall. All of us miss the mark. All of us have to get up and try again. Our walk with Jesus is not like a diet. You work out really hard all week long and then you go to McDonald's only to ruin your whole week with the purchase of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese. You know how you feel!? You feel like you have blown it. You feel like everything you have done up until that point was a total waste. Praise the Lord, our walk with Christ is nothing like that! He's always there, quarter pounder or not!

Many of you feel like you are missing the mark in your life.
Guess what? You are! You will always miss the mark. God doesn't call us to be perfect. He doesn't call us to be free and clear of all mistakes. It's okay to mess up. It's okay to slip.
It's okay to walk. Our journey with Him is always a journey full of learning. It takes time to learn scripture. It takes time to learn to believe when you don't know how to trust. It takes time learn to have joy when you all you can do is feel hopeless. It takes time to learn how to run to Him when you are in a need. If you feel discouraged, if you have blown every new year resolution already, it's okay to start over again. It's okay to walk. For Christ will meet you right where you are. Go to Him just as you are, He's there waiting to welcome you again and again and again. No matter how many times you mess up, He will not forsake you, give up on you, or quit loving you. So, keep walking because He is waiting.

My Need To Match

Since having children, laundry has become my most dreaded chore as a stay at home mom. In each bedroom, we have some sort of clothes bin or basket for each person's dirty clothes. But sometimes, my system gets a little crazy when the kids take a bath in my bathroom. I am just too lazy to walk to the other side of the house and distribute the dirty clothes in the appropriate place so the clothes end up being thrown in my bin. Sometimes Josiah or Ava Beth will take a sock off in the living room and take the other sock off in my room which leads to unmatched socks. Or Ava Beth, my one year old, will be in her pajamas eating breakfast and I pull her shirt off to prevent food stains. But the pants stay on for a while longer and almost always the pajama set gets separated. I realized this had become a huge problem for me when my husband got Ava Beth ready for bed. When he finished dressing her, she came out of her room wearing a pajama top from one set and the bottoms from another. It's just not something I can let go of, she has to match. Even for bed! Or I do a load of laundry and find that I have three socks, but no pairs. Currently, I have one pajama bottom and three socks CLEAN sitting on my dresser as they wait to find their match!

As I pray to become more and more like my Heavenly Father, I am realizing how much in my life does not match up with what He is doing. If I want to be used, I have to be changed. There are some things that are just simple non-negotiables. I know that if I walk around cussing like a sailor, people will not see Jesus in me.
That's easy, right?! I know that I can't run people off the road or get in fights when someone does something to agitate me. I know that I can't fill my life with addictions. I know as a Christian, a lot has to die with my flesh. But, what about the other things that don't match God's plan for my life. I have to find what matches Him, Christ.

Anger does not match Jesus. Gossip does not match with Jesus. Unforgiveness does not match with Jesus. Jealousy does not match with Jesus. Worry or Fear does not match with Jesus. Pride does not match with Jesus. Lying ( this also means exaggerating) does not match with Jesus. Manipulating does not match with Jesus. There is really nothing about our flesh that does match up with Jesus.
These things are never a match!

So as I pray to find matches to become more like Jesus, the Holy Spirit reminds me of these nine words. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Take anything that's not like Him and replace with these instead. Now, that's a match!

Living by the Spirit's Power
Galatians 5:16-26 (New Living Translation)
16So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. 18But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law. 19When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another


Each night before my son Josiah goes to bed, he sits in Daddy's lap and reads the Bible. Until Christmas came around my husband would read to him passages from our Bible. Thankfully our request that we made known for a Toddler Bible was fulfilled and Great Grandma came through with one for Josiah's Christmas present. So now, Josiah is not only enjoying the stories but pictures to follow along. Even when we he was listening to stories out of our Bible without pictures, He still seemed to pick up on stuff. He would talk about Jonah and Jesus walking on water. It was amazing how he remembered God's word. It was Josiah's 3rd Birthday this past weekend and the little boy shocks me daily with what He is learning. Each night as I pray for His salvation, I receive so much hope as I listen to Him respond as His Daddy reads to him God's Word from his new Toddler Bible. Especially last night! As the boys were reading, Josiah shouts, "EVE, DO NOT EAT THE APPLES!" I couldn't help but laugh and be so proud at the same time. Jeremy was reading the book of Genesis to Josiah and when He turned the page there was a picture of Adam and Eve standing next to a tree with Apples. "NO! DO NOT EAT THE FRUIT MADAM AND EVE!" Yes, he says MADAM.
As I listened to little Josiah, I realized how powerful God's Word is.
It doesn't matter what age you are, it still speaks!

A few days ago I was asked, "What are you doing different Amanda? GOD'S WORD! That's it! Instead of trying to work on my marriage, instead of trying to be a better Mom, instead of trying to work my business to make it more successful, I did ONE thing. I got in the Word and all of those things began to change! God's Word did it!
It speaks!

As Christians, we struggle with so many things. Our marriages, our relationships, our parenting, our eating, our exercise, constantly weigh us down and we constantly work on trying to do better in all areas. We stress, we worry, we freak out over so many things in life. I have been guilty of picking up the phone time and time again to share my problems with a friend or family member only to realize that nothing can give me better direction and comfort than God's Word. No matter what I'm going through, no matter what is on my plate, God's Word speaks for all occasions in our life. If you are afraid, it's got a word for you (2 Timothy 1:7). If you are sick, it's got a word for you(Jeremiah 30:17). If you are confused it's got a word for you(Ephesians 3:12). If you are lonely, it's got a word for you(Isaiah 54:10). No matter what, IT SPEAKS!

The most amazing thing has happened since I have delved into His word. My entire life has come into order. Supernaturally, I have more time! Supernaturally, I get my house clean! Supernaturally, people don't get on my nerves as much as they normally would and I can promise you I don't get on their nerves as much either! Supernaturally, my husband becomes more desirable in every way! Supernaturally, my FEAR IS GONE! Hallelujah! Supernaturally, EVERYTHING lines up with one thing, HIS WORD. When it lines up, everything is better! Everything is in one accord! And folks that preaches! Do you think that people won't see a changed man/woman when you get in God's Holy Word? They will! It speaks!

You see my friend, the Word is living and breathing. It has a heartbeat and you can't help but to be changed by reading it.
I promise you, you will see change. Get in it and watch God change you! HIS WORD SPEAKS!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Happy 3rd Birthday Josiah!

Josiah's Super Hero/Costume Birthday party!
Josiah and his girls! Brooke (Snow White) & Taylor (Cinderella)

Taylor (Cinderella) & Josiah (Mr. Incredible)

Mommy & Josiah

Three years ago tonight I was learning what it was like to have a baby for the very first time. My little boy and I were learning about our new life together. The nursing (that was rough), the waking up every few hours, the Nurses coming in waking us up, my husband wiggling around in that awful chair that folds out into a so called bed and the unbelievable thirst I had for water. I was so tired yet so happy, I just couldn't sleep. I love you so much Josiah and I have been reliving our very first day together over and over again all day long. You bring me so much joy. You are so incredibly smart, handsome and you already have a heart for Jesus. I know you are going to do awesome things for the Lord. You don't have the name Josiah for nothin'! God has great plans for your life, I KNOW it! January 7th, 2003 began a whole new life for Mommy and Daddy, a life we love.

2 Kings 23:25 Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My Queue

Recently while having lunch with two friends, I heard them discussing what was in their "Queue". I wasn't sure what they were referring to, so my ears quickly tuned in! "I have Pilates for Dummies in my Queue right now." The more they talked, I realized they were referring to their Blockbuster Online Account. As we sat and discussed what movies we had seen or what movies we were wanting to see, I realized how bad I wanted to have movies waiting in my queue. With small kids at home, it is very difficult to watch a movie when we want to. Every once in while it will be calm around here or the kids will be with the grandparents and we can sit down and watch a movie. But, when we do want to rent a particular movie it is usually checked out at the movie store and we can't rent it.
Or we rent it only to return it without ever watching it just to prevent a late fee. As a result, we don't watch movies! But after listening to my two friends discuss their membership with Blockbuster Online, I decided it was worth giving it a try with a free trial offer. I have done this before with a different company so I know the benefits are great! No lines at the movie store, no late fees, no time limit on your rental! It's perfect! So, my movie queue is full and I anxiously await my DVD's to arrive in the mail soon! Every time I return a movie, another is sent from my queue!

My journey with the Lord is a journey of great reward. As I look back over the past few months, I see how much God has been moving in my life. He is always moving in our lives but at times we don't see it. But, lately I have seen it. Not only have I seen it but I have felt it.
In my walk with Him, I have faced many different seasons. It's been this season that my Heavenly Father has filled my life with things that were waiting in my queue. What's waiting in yours?

For some it's the ability to make new friends, to find a new job, to build a new house, to meet the man/woman of your dreams.
For others, it's the ability to trust, the desire to love, or the wisdom to understand. All of these await to arrive in our lives. He longs to make our dreams come true.

Just as I return a DVD before I can receive the next one in my queue, I must do the same in my life. So many things we hold on to which keep us from experiencing the awesome gifts He has waiting for us. Many of us hold on to pride which keeps us from humbling ourselves before the Lord. Some hold on to jealousy which keeps us from experiencing contentment in who God created us to be. Others hold on to the past which keeps us paralyzed. Without letting go, we can't move forward. Without giving up, we can't submit to Him and we can't receive what's waiting in our queue.

Ephesians 3: 20 (The Message) God can do anything, you know--far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Spiritual Well Check

Today was Ava Beth's one year check up, almost two weeks late but we got it done! The nurse asked many questions pertaining to her development. "Does she say between one and three words? Does she nap well? Does she sleep well at night? How is her temperament? Does she stand alone? Is she on whole milk? How much milk does she drink each day?" With each answer I gave, the nurse smiled and said, "Great!" Then after the questions came to an end it was time for the measurements. They weighed my little girl and then checked her length and the size of her head. All were perfect! After that was finished the sweet nurse said, "She's right where she is supposed to be Mom. She's perfect!" Finally we were almost out of the stuffy exam room! We had just one more person to check her out for the one year well check, the nurse practioner. She listened to her heart, her breathing, felt of her belly, felt of her head, checked her ears and looked over her chart. "She's a perfect little angel, Mom." A sigh of relief to know my baby girl is growing, developing right on track and maybe in some areas a little more than the average. What can I say? She's tall!

With a brand new year ahead of us, wouldn't it be beneficial to have a spiritual well check? You sit down with your Pastor and he asks you a few questions and by the end of the session, you know how you are doing. I think it would go something like this. Here are a series of questions that I believe may reveal where you are at!

The Pastor says,
"How is your speech? What kind of words are coming out when you speak to your husband or when you talk in secret to someone else?
Do you sleep well or do you toss and turn due to stress and worry?
How is your overall mood? Do you have joy?
Do you still struggle with standing alone or are you relying on Jesus for your every need?
Are you feeding yourself on the Word or is it just filled with devotions and books? Are you truly in the WORD?
How often do you feed on the word? Daily, weekly, or just in a time of crisis?
Who do you spend time with?
Are you sharing Jesus with others?
Do you love God's people?
How are you doing at forgiving those who have hurt you?"

Then he listens to your heart. And with the sound of your heart, He knows if you are right where you need to be or if you need to catch up.

Today, I thought a lot about what the results of my well check would be. As I draw closer and closer to Jesus, I see the things that have to change in order to be more like Him. In fact, I believe I will be doing this for the rest of my life. How about you?

My report? "I am worthless, I will never change. I will never be set free of those things that hold me captive."

HIS report? "You are my child and I love you. Come just as you are. You are right where you need to be, walking next to me."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Real Me

This afternoon I am overwhelmed with the thought of how much my Jesus, my Lord, my Father, loves me. The Bible says in Zephaniah 3:17 that He rejoices over me with gladness, He quiets me with His love, He rejoices over me with singing. I can't help but shout His amazing love today. He speaks to me in ways that He knows I will hear. He shows me things in ways that I will understand. He loves me more than I can possibly understand.

For the last three months God has been showing me a calling that He has placed on my life. Someone told me almost a year ago that God would not unveil that ministry to me until I realized it was all about the people and not about me. Well, it seems that I have been on the fast track plan and God has revealed himself to me in so many ways. I am understanding Him like never before in my Christian walk. Why have I spent so much time worrying about others and what they think of me? When I walk down that path, that's when the focus is off of Jesus and on myself. If I care what you think, then my eyes are off the prize. Last week, I felt like God was trying to show me that He wanted me. He wanted me to the real me. He can use the real me.

Sunday, I went down to the alter to pray. I didn't care that my Mom and Dad were standing next to me and would see me walk down the aisle to pray. I hoped Jeremy wouldn't follow me. He didn't. I knew that this was about me and Jesus. He has been calling me for months. He wanted me to give up the charades, the song and dance, and truly live for Him in everything I do. He is unveiling a new woman. I look forward to see who this woman is. The real me.

When I was fifteen I surrendered to the ministry and at the time I knew even at fifteen that the calling was real but I did not know what it truly was I was called to do. Finally, fifteen years later, He is unveiling the call. I am excited and I am realizing how my entire life, the joy, the pain, it has all shaped me for such a time as this.
A friend called me yesterday and told me she wanted to share something with me that she knew was from the Lord. I hadn't shared with her anything about what ministry I knew God was calling me into, but she knew. I didn't have to say anything, God showed her and used her to bring about confirmation. You see, Jesus is so personable. He always speaks in ways we will understand.
What better way to confirm than through a friend. She just called me a little while ago and told me of a song that she wanted me to hear. She knows how much I love music so she gave me song. Well, I have downloaded it on to the mp3 player and it's a song I hope to sing someday. Music truly reaches the depth of my soul and this song is just what I needed.

As I knelt at the alter to pray on Sunday morning, this is what my heart was crying out. Father, thank you for seeing the real me.

The Real Me- Natalie Grant

How many have you brought to Jesus?

For the past ten years of my life I have been hearing sermons on Dating, Marriage, Relationships, The Workplace, Raising Kids, Fear, Worry and every other kind of Life Applicable subject that is possible. Recently in our hunt for a church, I have realized how tired I am of those messages. I am desiring something more. If I haven't learned life application through God's word by now, then I haven't learned very much. I don't have it all figured out and I know God is still working on me and will never be finished working on me, but I can't help but think there is something more He wants me to get. The Great Commission.

Last week I stood in line at the store to buy my Son's birthday present. I noticed the clerk as she talked to each person that came through her line. She had a story to tell. I could see in her eyes how much pain she had endured and I could tell by her trembling, nervous hands that she had not always made the best choices for her life. Finally, it was my turn. There must have been something on my face that let her know she could tell me her life story in five minutes, because she did. I listened to her as she explained that she did not spend Christmas with her kids this year, she just left her husband a while back because they had done drugs together for so long, costing her custody of her children. Before I could say anything she said, "This year will be different. I am working on my life right now and I'm gonna get my babies back." As she was talking, I felt hopeless.
I kept thinking, "What would my Pastor say to this woman right now? Would he care that there is a line of people behind him? Would he be concerned about what others would think if he shared Jesus with her?" No. I know He would look straight at her and say, "Well sister, do you know Jesus?" I wasn't able to get those words out but I did say this. "Wow. It's sounds like you have been through a lot. I can tell you that the only person in my life that brings me peace is Jesus." Since that day last week, I can't get this clerk out of my head. I have prayed for her many times. Possibly I need to go back to that store, find her and bring her to church.

Last Sunday we heard a powerful message on Salvation. Right before the sermon began, I saw a young man walk in late. I see him every single week. He sits with a young man and young woman, in the same spot every week. It apprears that all three of them are single. For some reason, their faces come to my mind a lot. Usually when that happens, it means I am supposed to be praying for them.
So when one of the young men walked in late on Sunday morning, I got chill bumps. I did not understand why but my eyes instantly had tears in them. It seems that I have become so weepy these days so easily, especially at church. As I watched him sit down in his usual spot, next to his usual friends, I prayed for him. At the end of the sermon, many prayed to receive Christ. After doing so, the Pastor asked those that had prayed that prayer to come down to the front.
My heart began to pound as I looked up and saw the young man who came in late, walk down to the alter. You see that morning I prayed that He would find Jesus and He did.

We can plant seeds all day long, we can invite our friends, family and neighbor's to church all day long, but are we boldly professing Jesus to others? Many would say that approach can't be taken these days with this generation. You might scare them! Well, the only thing to be scared of is them going to hell. Maybe we all need to get out of our comfort zone and look for the lost. Actually you won't have to look very hard, they are everywhere. At the grocery store, at work, in our play groups, at our gym, next door, in your family.

I don't know about you, but I am praying for the opportunity to bring someone to Jesus. I haven't done it enough in life and I truly desire to win people to Jesus. Someday I hope to be in Heaven walking with Paul telling him wonderful stories of how I shared Jesus with lost people. This is what it's all about folks! You may be a new Christian, an old Christian, it doesn't matter. God has called you to spread the good news!

The Great Commission
16Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him--but some of them still doubted! 18Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. 19Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

7 1/2 needing an 8

Shoes are just something that bring me comfort! You would think I am referring to the kind of comfort needed to make your feet feel good but I'm not. Instead shoes bring me comfort in different ways. I can honestly say that I don't buy shoes because they feel comfortable, unless I am wearing them for running. Even during my pregnancies, I did not buy shoes because they felt comfortable. As long as they were high (I never wear flat shoes), as long as they were funky, as long as they were pointy, as long as they were stylish, they brought me comfort. Hey and if they came from Target or Payless, even better! Nothing better than a gorgeous pair of shoes that comes with a killer price! If I need a certain pair of shoes for a certain outfit and can't find my size, I've been known to buy a size that's not really going to fit.
You won't find me doing that with clothes, but shoes are a different story! You know how it feels ladies when you see those perfect shoes! I really like the shoes that I find that no one else has. These are the ones that my friends will have a fit over and run out to find the same pair. So if the shoes are amazing and you need a size 8 but the store only has a 7 1/2, what do you do? No, no, no!
You don't call other stores looking for them, you don't find a different pair! You cram your foot into that 7 1/2 and make your friends go nuts over your new shoes! They may not feel good, but they sure as heck look good!

Sunday morning I wore a pair of boots to church that I love! They look good with jeans and they make me 5'7 instead of 5'5! But by the end of the music portion of the service, my feet were numb and killing me. Oh yes, it was the 7 1/2 size I wore! The boots I just had to have when the store didn't have an eight! All of the sudden my feet felt claustrophobic in those skinny, pointy toe, boots. My toes were crammed, my arch was aching, my heel was begging to be set free. Finally, the worship ended and we sat down. It was then I realized that my boots were not worth all that pain.

Even though they look so good with my jeans, I don't think it's worth forcing my feet into them any longer. They are not a fit!

Before, I met my husband, I forced a relationship. It was one of those dreadful relationships that you have that you know you shouldn't. For three years it was break-up, get back together, break-up, get back together. We went to church together, we sang together, we had the same friends, I loved his family, his family loved me. But time and time again, the Holy Spirit showed me clearly that he was not the man for me to marry but I continued forcing the relationship. As soon as I let it go once and for all, I left the church that we were both attending, went to a new church and met Jeremy. The former relationship made me miserable in every area of my life because I was forcing something that was not God's will. It may have looked good, we may have seemed like the perfect couple, I may have adored his family, but deep down I knew. He wasn't a fit!

At the beginning of 2005, God showed me something I was forcing. But, even after He showed me, even after I was hurt, even after I suffered consequences, I continued. A few months later,

He showed me again that it was not a fit. Not only did He show me but He showed my husband that we were no longer living in a place where it was a fit. We fought it, we forced it, we avoided it and instead of obeying the Lord and what we knew He had told us, we remained. I loved my house, I loved my church, I loved everything about the place we were, but deep down I knew. It was no longer a fit!

I have spent many days, months and years forcing things that were not meant to be. Sometimes, there are times when relationships, jobs, your place of residence, your church home, they all are a fit for a certain amount of time. Then God is ready to take you somewhere new. At times, I have not understood only later to see what God was trying to show me. Still there are times that I don't understand and may not ever understand. But, one thing is for sure I know I can trust Him to take me to the best place for me. I have to constantly remind myself to not force it! It may look good, feel good, appear good, and have all the things I am looking for but still may not be a fit.

Months ago, I did not understand a lot of things. My husband "got it", he was confident of what God was doing but I had to process for a while. I felt at times that we had made a mistake in moving.

I doubted, I questioned and then finally, on December 4th, 2005, I let go. The Bible says in Isaiah 26:7 But for those who are righteous, the path is not steep and rough. You are a God of justice, and you smooth out the road ahead of them.
My Father has smoothed out this road I am on. He has answered my questions with answers to prayer. He has made me feel at ease once again because I have obeyed and chose His path instead of forcing my own. So Today, I know that I am where I am supposed to be. It's a fit! I also recognize right away when I am forcing something. I know when that shoe feels like a 7 1/2 instead of an 8! The 8 feels so much better!