I am no longer the things of my past...I am the daughter of the Great I AM.

Exodus 3:14
And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
2 Corithians 6:18
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Strong Foundation in Marriage

Last night Jason and I watched The Money Pit. (Yes, for all you young ones out there, I do know that is old school!!!) This was actually the first time I have ever watched it all the way through. I have seen bits and pieces of it through the years, and always thought it looked very funny. It did prove to be funny. Although there were parts of it I didn't care for, the end of the movie actually had a good message. As Tom Hanks and Shelly Long were standing in the completed house, the contractor was ready to give them the key. As he was watching the couple that had broke up mid renovation, he began speaking about the house. He said that at first he did not believe that this house could be repaired, but the foundation was good. If the foundation is good, the rest can be fixed.

Within the last year, I know of several Christian couples that are struggling with their marriages. Some of these couples have even discussed divorce. All marriages have rough spots. All married couples will have disagreements. However, if their marriage is built on a sure foundation, the foundation of Jesus Christ, they can repair the rest.

As I consider how to have this sure foundation, I am reminded that God has really been working on me about my priorities. Here is what He has shown me over the last few years ...

First, I am a child of God. I am to spend time in His word, in prayer, and building my relationship with Him. I am to have no other God before Him.

Second, I am a wife. Please note, I did not list family as my second priority. I remember when I got married, my mother-in-law gave me a piece of advice. At the time I did not think much of it, but lately I have discovered the truth in what she had told me. She told me that one day I would have children, and when I did I should never love them more or put them before my husband. This is true. Yes, I love my children dearly, but one day they will have their own families. If I have spent years caring more for them than my husband, what will I do when they are gone? God created me to be Jason's helper, encourager, advisor, lover, partner...

Third, I am a mother. God has given Jason and I the responsibility of raising Ethan and Erin. We are to "train them up in the way they should go."

These are godly priorities. By keeping my focus on them, I am assured that the foundation of my home is strong. When a storm comes (big or small), we can withstand it. If any damage occurs, it can be repaired. Our foundation is Jesus Christ.

We are living in a society where traditional family is no longer a priority. This is because Jesus is no longer a priority. I challenge you to search your marriage, your home, your heart. Do you have the Solid Rock foundation of Jesus Christ?

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Quiet Afternoon at the Park

When I awoke this morning, my day was all planned out. Erin had a dentist appointment, then we had to go to the Library, and finally, we were going to spend a quiet afternoon at the park. This was the first Monday afternoon that Erin did not have dance, and Ethan did not have golf. Therefore, we could spend all afternoon relaxing and playing.

The visit to the dentist went well and a little quicker than expected. Yay! Next, we went to the Library. We had a great time picking out books and even checked out a few movies. As we left the Library, it was only 10:30, and the weather was beautiful. We decided that we would have a picnic at the park. So, we went home to drop off our books, use the restroom (something you don't want to have to do at any park!!!), and gather stuff for the park.

The day was going better than I had planned. The kids were getting along, the sun was shining, there was a little breeze blowing... It was going to be a great afternoon. Then, we arrived at the park...

As I pulled in, I immediately realized that one of the local public schools were on a field trip at the park. I showed the kids that it was very crowded, and asked if they wanted to try a different park. No, this is where they wanted to play today. So we unloaded and attempted to find a spot near the playground. It only took us a couple of moves, before we acquired a prime location for all we wanted to do. Erin could play and Ethan could visit with an older gentleman that was trying to fish among all the chaos.

As a teacher, I have been on many field trips. I know how exhausting it can be for the teacher to keep track of all the kids. There were 2 teachers that were doing a great job, and I commend them for that. However, there were about 5 other teachers that were sitting under a shade tree visiting with one another. Kids were everywhere. This is a large park, and kids were spread out too far for the two teachers that were trying to maintain the group. This alone was unnerving me. I tried not to focus on all the what ifs, and kept an eye on my two kids.

I quickly realized that reading the book I had brought along was not going to happen. My kids were doing OK. Ethan was about the same age as the other kids. This didn't mean that he found friends to play with, instead the two teachers that were patrolling the area kept getting on to him about being too close to the lake. (Which he was not that close, and I was watching.) This was frustrating to him. Erin loves to swing, but all the swings were full. She was trying to climb and slide, but had to weave around the kids just sitting on the equipment. I was very proud that she never fussed at any of the kids. She just waited patiently, or moved on to something else.

After 20 minutes of trying to play, both kids were sitting on the bench with me. We decided to put our stuff in the car, and walk around the lake. To my surprise, some of the kids had wandered to the other side of the lake, completely unsupervised. Being the teacher (and Mom) that I am, I promptly told them to return to the other side where their class was. They promptly ignored me. I told them that I would let their teachers know where they were when I got back to the other side. The kids told me that their teachers wouldn't care, as long as they were not disturbing them. This broke my heart. Sure enough, when I alerted the teachers to kids on the other side, they glanced up, thanked me, and went back to their conversation. This angered me! (I will leave it at that, and not rant like I would like to at this moment.)

I knew that I could not take much more of this "peaceful" afternoon at the park. We did manage to find one swing open, so I pushed Erin for a few minutes. After a total of 40 minutes at the park, I asked the kids if they were ready to go home. Remember, I had promised them an entire afternoon. Both kids were quick to answer yes. As we were loading up, I asked if they wanted to try a different park. Both said no, they had had enough.

As we were driving home, Erin asked me why there were no mamas with all those kids. I told them that there were teachers there, and they were responsible for the kids. Ethan then corrected me. He said, "No Mama, they were THERE, but they were not RESPONSIBLE."

That made me think, how often am I given something to be responsible for ... Do I take responsibility, or am I only there? What has God entrusted you with? I encourage you, don't just be there, be responsible.

... whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We Do What We See

Earlier this week, I watched as my daughter and one of her friends sat down at the kitchen table. They were leaning in close and talking. The friend said let me tell you about my dream last night. Erin asked her to wait, and ran to her room to get her picture Bible. The friend shared her dream, and Erin opened up to the story of Joseph in her picture Bible. They giggled and chatted for about 10 minutes, and then moved on to the next game.

As I watched this exchange I was struck by two things. First, Erin knew where to find a story about dreams in her Bible. Praise! Second, and possibly more important, Erin was modeling something that she had seen me do. Just a few days prior to this, I had a friend over. We sat at the table to visit. As we were talking, I got my Bible to share a verse that pertained to what we were speaking about. That was a good thing to model. Unfortunately, I don't always model good things for my children to see.

Copying what we see does not just happen with children. It happens with all of us. We tend to mimic what we see and what we hear. I know that I still occasionally use phrases from movies and TV shows that I watched years ago. When I am around someone a lot, I tend to say things the way they say them, or do things they way they do them. This is why it is very important to guard what you see, and to be aware of what we watch.

If we see something often enough, we become immune to the offensiveness of it. I remember hearing a man on the radio tell a story about taking his daughter to shop for a dress. While he was waiting on her to come out of the dressing room, another girl came out in a dress that was very inappropriate. So, when his daughter came out, she looked good in comparison. It was not until they got home, and the son asked him why he allowed her to buy such a dress that he realized that he had based his decision on what the other girl was wearing.

As God's people, we are called to be set aside. We should not do things as the world does them. In order to accomplish this, we must guard our hearts, our eyes, and our ears. We must be careful what we allow in, and we must be cautious of our actions. Just as we model other's behaviors, there is always someone watching and modeling ours.

Proverbs 4:23-27 (The Message)
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It is Just a Hill ... Get Over It!

This morning I got up and drove to Magnolia to walk in the Blossom Festival 5K. My niece and her friend were going to meet me there. However, I received a text yesterday, telling me that they just weren't feeling a 5K. I still planned on going if the weather wasn't bad. Rain was in the forecast, so I checked the weather map before I left. It didn't look bad, so I decided to go. I figured that I had lived in Magnolia for 7 years, surely I could find somebody I knew to walk with.

As I registered, the rain began. I looked around, and did not know many people at all. The few I knew were either running, or already had groups that they were walking with. So I could tell that I would be walking alone... in the rain. The first mile was horrible. When I walk, I usually listen to the radio on my iPhone. The signal was awful. Therefore, the station I was listening to kept going off. So, I was walking in the rain, alone, and with no music! And the rain had not cooled anything off, instead, it was causing steam to rise from the ground. I was miserable!!!! I made it to the first mile, and was still mumbling and complaining in my mind.

As I came to the halfway mark, they had water for us. I grabbed my cup, drank it down, and even threw my cup to the ground like a real racer. I felt refreshed. I thought I am going to make it, and go home. That was when God intervened into my thoughts. He asked me if I wanted to continue mumbling, or if I wanted to change my attitude. Then He told me that I had spent the whole time complaining about being alone when I could have been talking to Him. Yes, it was raining, but He had kept the storms away. I knew that I could change my attitude and finish strong, or I could continuing mumbling and drag over the finish line.

By mile 2 I had changed my attitude. I didn't even mumble once when I realized that the last leg of the race was all up hill, and I was walking into the wind. I even got tickled when I saw a man holding a sign that said "It is just a hill... get over it!"

That is what my grumbling, mumbling, and complaining had been ... a hill. I had to get over it, and I did. I finished strong. As a matter of fact, I had knocked 8 minutes off my previous 5K time. I felt energized, and proud of myself.

This is true not just for walking, but for life. If we spend our time complaining, we miss out on opportunities to finish strong. We can choose to mumble and complain or we can choose to change our attitude.

Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Philipians 2:14 (The Message)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Looking Like a Man

Why is it that men can look for something and not find it, and yet a woman can look for the same object and find it quickly. I realize that is not always the case, but it does seem to be a reoccurring theme in many households. I remember a story a friend of mine in college shared about her 4 year old niece. The little girl's dad had lost his keys and couldn't find them anywhere. Then mom found them quickly. The little girl said it was because the dad had been "looking like a man."

This morning, Ethan was mowing the grass in our backyard. He came in and told me that he needed a large trash bag for the clippings. Jason had told him the bags were in the work trailer, and so I sent him out there. He was out there for 30 minutes. He came back in and announced that the bags were not in the trailer. It's not that big of a trailer. I asked him where he looked, and he said everywhere. I put my shoes on and headed out the door. Ethan asked if I was going to text Jason to find out where they were. I told him I wouldn't have to. I was actually thinking, I am a woman, I can find them. Sure enough, I stepped into the trailer, saw the bags, and brought one inside to Ethan. Ethan was in shock that I had found one, and that I found it quickly.

As I thought about this, and admittedly was feeling rather smug about it, God asked me a question. (In case you don't know, whenever God asks you a question as you are feeling prideful, you are about to be humbled!!!) He asked me how many times had He left something for me to find, and I had missed it? How many blessings have I overlooked or took for granted? How many passages of scripture had a message for me, but I was too busy to read it? How often have my eyes been focused on the problems in front of me, instead of keeping them focused on God?

Now it is my prayer that I not look at anything with the eyes of man (meaning all mankind), but rather through the eyes of God. I want to see all that God has for me, and those around me. So I ask you, how are you looking? Are you looking like a man? Or are you looking through the eyes of God?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Being a Good Steward - Part 5 Our Bodies

Okay, so here is the one that I have really been dreading ... why? Because God has really been working overtime on me in this area!!!

5. Our Bodies
1 Corinthians 6:15 (New King James Version) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!

My body is an area I have struggled with all my life, at least all my life that I have memory of. Even as a young girl, I can remember a friend pointing out to me that I had more belly rolls than she did. When I was younger, I was always involved in some sort of sporting activity. So yes, I may have been heavier than some of the others, but I was not fat. As I have gotten older, my activity level has greatly decreased.

For several years now, I have known that I need to be healthier. I need to eat right and exercise more. I have attempted many times to diet, or make a "life style change" but always end with the same result ... Defeat. One day not to long ago, I was reading God's word, and the above verse jumped off the page at me. At the time, I had not been considering my health, so I was not pleased for this topic to come up. I read the verse again. I said, "God, yes I know my body is a member with Christ. I know it is a temple. But I am not having anything to do with harlots." He answered me very clearly... He told me that for me food is a harlot. OUCH! I had never considered it like that. I do have an obsession with food. I love to eat. Even as I was sitting down to type this, I was thinking about whether I wanted a strawberry out of the refrigerator or a double stuff Oreo out of the cupboard. I passed on both, because the truth is, I am not even hungry. I have to be very guarded and prayerful about the food I eat and why I am eating.

I am happy to report that I have started exercising regularly. Trying to run some, but mostly I am walking. I am also watching the portion size of what I eat, when I eat, and why I eat. The path I am on is slow, and sometimes discouraging. However, I am developing a healthy body. A body that will reflect what it is, a temple of the Most High God.

For me, food is my harlot. For others, it could be soft drinks, sugar, no exercise, too much exercise, tobacco, alcohol, sex outside of marriage ... the list goes on and on. It is whatever you do that keeps you from being healthy, and therefore keeps you from being a good steward with your body.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Being a Good Steward - Part 4 Gifts/Abilities

I am sorry it has taken me a few days to get back to my series on Being a Good Steward. Hope no one has been on the edge of their seats waiting...

4. Gifts/Abilities
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Romans 12:6a

God gives us each gifts and abilities. These are things that we are good at, and that we enjoy doing. God expects us to use these gifts in a manner that will glorify Him.

For me, God has gifted me with the ability to teach. I have a passion to share God's word with others. It thrills me to prepare and present a good lesson. This is my area, and I bask in it. God has grown me in my abilities to teach. When I started, I taught only children. Now, I teach children, youth, and women. I am amazed at how far God has brought me, and where He is taking me.

My son, Ethan, has told me for years that he is going to be a missionary on the golf course. Though this makes me smile, I do not know God's plans for Ethan. I do know that God has gifted him with the ability to play golf, and that he has a passion for Jesus. He is 10 years old, and has been playing since he could walk. Although he is not perfect, he does try to reflect Christ with his behavior. On more than one occasion, he has impressed other players and their parents not only with his golf, but with his honesty on the course. Ethan is using his abilities to glorify God.

What abilities has God given you? Are you using them to glorify God? Are you using them at all?