Thursday, March 30, 2017

I LOVE GOOD FRIDAY! It is full of contentment and joy!

I've been looking through our church's service for Good Friday today. I've not felt all that great this week and I have fought hard trying not to feel behind in work. I do not always win this battle but this week I can happily say I've been quite successful in winning because of my sweet Lord. He taught me to work hard other days to plan ahead for days like today. He also provided a husband who spoils me beyond what anyone deserves much less me, and a very patient and understanding boss, bless them! And He also created some wonderful soothing medicines like peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, lavender, and of course Nutella! I may gain a couple of pounds but boy do I smell great! Is it possible to overdose on oil? Definitely not Nutella because I've tested that many a time over! And obviously albuteral, however you spell it, helps with asthma and gives a burst of energy! Actually I might need to back off of that a little.
Back on track!!! In school today Clayton and I talked about contentment and joy in all things, even in the times that aren't so fun. What is the REAL source of all my contentment and joy? For today I can tell you it is not Easter. (Send any complaint emails to our church administrator. He's really nice.) Today it is Good Friday. Yes contentment and joy from Good Friday. Contentment and joy doesn't mean that I'm fully healed or full of energy or didn't have the flu, or I'm not having to keep my panic in check as the Nutella starts to empty out! It doesn't always mean that things are great. It just means that for today's tasks I've chosen to find the GREAT in them, in the good and bad, plenty and want (I think some famous disciple wrote about that in a book I believe is the best of all times. I recommend you check it out!)
Sitting here and listening to the music for our Good Friday service and thinking about the topic, I realized we talk a lot about Easter as Christians. We should talk a lot about Easter and we could never talk about Easter enough. But what about Good Friday? How can I claim to love Easter without recognizing, respecting, grieving, and rejoicing just as much or maybe even more over Good Friday? Lots of churches have a Good Friday service. I'm thankful to be part of a church and a staff that sees the importance of a Good Friday service. I'm not honest if I don't admit that the first year we decided to do it I pushed back a little, ok a lot. And possibly the next year. (Bless our Pastor's heart and his patience!)
With full and sincere heart I can say Good Friday has now become one of my most favorite services. What???? But isn't it a lot of extra work? And isn't it on a Friday night? And isn't it about DEATH? Yep, yep, and yep. But it is also about contentment and joy. A Son found contentment in completing the task before Him, even though He knew it would also be the most excruciating and painful task He would face as a human. And He found joy in being obedient to His Father because He loves Him, and He loves me and He didn't want to live without me. Oh what a beautiful thought! He found joy in knowing it was the only way to bring me to Him. Contentment and joy in pain,sorrow, grief, and LOVE.
No doubt I will cry at least one tear. I'll try not to and I'll hope not to but let's just be real, we all remember Christmas Eve even though we're not allowed to talk about it! Good Friday tears will be tears of grief over the pain of needing to be saved because of what my sin and shame caused and knowing He had to wear my in and shame. But it will be followed with contentment and joy for the same reasons. Contentment that because of Good Friday I have peace in a life with a Father who provides for my every need, even unto death. Joy in no more sin or shame to answer for because of the contentment and joy that Jesus displayed. Now He displayed a lot more but for today, contentment and joy.
So GO to a Good Friday service (I know one at 7 pm at Guilford Elementary in Greensboro that is going to be amazing!). GO and take your family, your friends, your enemies. GO and love Good Friday!
I LOVE GOOD FRIDAY! And Easter is so much more amazing because of it!

Friday, May 6, 2016

An Overwhelming Home

I think about Guatemala all of the time. No really, ALL of the time. Evey day several, more than several, times an hour. Some days it is a stronger feeling. I can close my eyes and then I can even smell the beautiful city and feel the weight of the pews and bump of the bus ride. I can smell the pancakes and feel the Gerona grass under my shoes. I can feel the hugs of Delmi and hear the laughter of Pastor Carlos without understanding a word he says! I see the beautiful women who cook our delicious meals sneak me some fried plantain before anyone else gets in :). I see the ladies laughing and crying and fellowshipping with each other. I see the kids running in the main room in a mass of happy chaos! I hear the neighbors bird calling for its "momma". Or at least that's what it sounds like. I can see the city likes in the numerous times I get up during the night. I can see my Guatside ladies praying and laughing as we drink our coffee and eat our afternoon cookie. (OK, cookiessss.) I see chains of rape, murder, abuse of every kind broken. I see papers of lies being burnt and evil rebuked after a night of fretful sleep. I see people smiling as they live in the poorest conditions you can NEVER imagine.
I can always hear, see, feel, even smell Guatemala when I close my eyes. Then there are days when I don't even invite it in and it hits me so hard that it's there when my eyes are open. And I'm almost afraid to close my eyes because I know when I open them I won't be there and suddenly there is a need to pray so strongly for the school and church building that you even search the web for any news. It is a strange feeling to be homesick at home. It's not something you can describe fully. It is more than a feeling. It is an aching, a longing, a get me on a plane right now feeling.
I don't understand how some who have been don't feel this. I don't understand how some who have never been don't see the need to support it to be honest. I just know why we do.
So here is why............
Wait, why what?????? Too much can be put behind that word "why". But only one phrase really fits to sum up all of the words, "Because He told me to". That is why.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Going Backwards to Guatemala

Well, I guess there's no more denying it.  I'm home from Guatemala.  Technically I've been back almost a week, but not in my heart.  For some people, the adjustment back home is pretty smooth.  For others it's not as smooth but they quickly adjust.  And then there are those like me.  We are "those" people.  The people who are thankful to be home but grieve not being in Guatemala.  I expected it so I prepared myself.  I took many steps to insure my grief would not injure or harm anyone else.
Step 1: Make sure to have plenty of Nutella.
Step 2: Make sure to have the jar of Nutella open and close by when looking at pictures from Guatemala.
Step 3: NO TRIPS TO WALMART FOR AT LEAST A WEEK (unless you are out of Nutella, but don't make eye contact with anyone)
Step 4: Make sure to have Nutella in your mouth if you watch any videos of Guatemala.
Step 5: Warn any visitors that you may still be in your pajamas at 3:00 in the afternoon eating Nutella.  (Don't judge)
Step 6: Be open to any other steps that could help you get through the first week (like Costco pizza, great friends, sisters, and fries with gravy and cheese. Again, don't judge me.)
     I also like to play the Guatemala backwards game.  "This time last week I was...".  This brings smiles, tears, and Nutella.  So now that I'm officially back I'll be playing the backwards game while blogging the trip for those who so graciously supported us.  And I'll try my best to meet each day, each "normal" task, just as my Guatemalan family does, with grace.  Grace is the best word I can describe as I see in my mind the ladies walking back to their homes after the retreat.  Nothing but grace.  I will think about Azucena walking down her dusty road singing her song to the Lord.  I will think about Carlitos and his mom walking him to a safe school for a kid with autism.  I will think about the mom I didn't know I would need but God did so He gave me Carmen.  I will think about her touching my face and calling me precious with a kiss on the forehead.  I will think about riding the bus with my Cowboy and sharing an earbud :).  I will think about turning around on the bus and watching my son being folded right into the teens and sweet Karen as they accepted him just as God created him. I will yell out "GUAT SIDE" and be ok with people thinking I'm crazy (it wouldn't be the first time).  I will cry.  I will laugh.  I will praise the Lord for the love my family has for Guatemala.  And I will trust Him to work more miracles if He wants us to return sooner than a year.  On the outside I may seem the same.  But on the inside I will once again be changed by the experience my Lord was so gracious to ask me to be a part of.
     I will look forward to taking moments this week to go backwards to Guatemala.  I won't expect it to be as amazing as being there.  But I know I will be AMAZING and PRECIOUS".  God already told me so.  I'll share how as we go backwards together.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sometimes I Have To Scream Out!

Let me forewarn you. This may not start out pretty.
Every once in awhile I think about Clayton having autism and I just get angry!  It seems to be happening more often and the catalysis for the angry mom can be different at times, but no doubt it is always deep and always real and always ends in tears.
This time it began with a lot of "whys".  Why does he have to struggle so differently?  Why can't he go to school like everyone else and learn?  Why can't he have the same experience he did today every day?  (He had an awesome day at school.  They read Christmas stories and drank hot chocolate :)).  Back to the angry mom!
While this time of the "angry mom" began with "whys'", it quickly turned into "whats".  Some of them I had only visited very briefly with but never allowed myself to really get to know these "whats".  What if he isn't able to go to this amazing school next year?  What if he won't ever live on his own?  What if he won't get married?  What if he won't have a regular job? What will happen to him when, not if, something happens to us?
Since I'm being honest, I'll say it.  I hate these questions.  I hate them because I don't have the answers, or not the answers I think I should have.
So I texted my BFF to pray for me and these "whys" and "whats".  And like the great BFF she is, in the middle of her own struggle today, she prayed for me and encouraged me to look up an old song called Praise the Lord.  I found that song, and a new song with the same name. I could highlight the words from each that speak so preciously to my heart but it is pretty much all of them!  So I'll post them below and encourage you to read them.
Before I post them though, let me take another minute to tell you what God said to me through my friends prayer and the songs.  "In every moment, Jesus Christ is Lord," (Oops I quoted a line from the song!)  God also said to me that His promises over Clayton's life WILL NOT CHANGE!  He has great things for Clayton!  Sometimes we have to scream out to God the "whys" and "whats" before we can be reminded of the great promises and see the great to come.  I've been fighting these all day.  Actually, the "whats" I've been avoiding fighting for more than today.
My precious Savior didn't avoid the "whys".  "Why Father?  Why have You forsaken me?"  Jesus had been beaten, starved, and endured nails being driven through his hands and feet,  I'm sure he didn't ask in a calm sweet voice.  He was in pain!  And how painful was that moment for Jesus to get to the point of crying out to His Father, God Almighty?  After all, He was Jesus!  But not long after that moment He said something else.  He said, "It is finished."  He knew even through the pain that something great was going to happen!  He claimed the hardest part was over.  His Father would redeem Him!
I know my Father, Clayton's Father, will redeem him too.  I know because He says He has "plans to prosper him, not harm him."  I know because Clayton is God's child and he will "inherit everything the Son inherits".
OK, maybe I will quote another song lyric, "Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you drop powerless behind you when you praise Him."  Drop powerless behind me chains!  I praise You Lord for the miracle of Clayton!  I praise You for the fact that He does not change!  I praise You that I can walk today!  I praise You that Clayton had a great morning of fun at school!  I praise You Lord for sending me a hot cowboy to be my husband!  I praise You Lord that said hot cowboy husband is faithful every day in providing for us financially and spiritually!  I praise you Lord that said hot cowboy husband also loves me like crazy, in spite of my crazy!  And now I will praise You Lord for cheeseburger macaroni with my family :).

Prsie the Lord by Russ Taff (yes you read that correctly)

When you're up against a struggle, that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan's manifested schemes
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fear
Don't let the faith you're standing in seem to disappear
Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him
Now, Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think
That we are paupers, when he knows himself we're children of the King
So lift up the mighty shield of faith for the battle must be won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen and the work's already done
Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him
Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God abides in our praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him
When you praise Him
When you praise Him
When you praise
When you praise, you praise the Lord
Praise the Lord

"Praise The Lord"  The City Harmonic

Praise the Lord when it comes out easy
Praise the Lord on top of the world
Praise the Lord ‘cause in every moment Jesus Christ is Lord
Even in the middle of the joys of life
There is always grace enough today to
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Won’t you praise the Lord?
Praise the Lord with the world on your shoulders
Praise the Lord when it seems too hard
Praise the Lord ‘cause in every moment Jesus Christ is Lord
Even in the middle of the long, dark night
There is always grace enough today to
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Won’t you praise the Lord?
Praise the Lord if you can sing it at the top of your lungs
Praise the Lord like every moment is a song to be sung
Praise the Lord: though it might take blood, sweat and tears in your eyes
There is grace for today so praise the Lord
There is grace for today so praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Praise the Lord
Won’t you praise the Lord?
There is grace for today so praise the Lord

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I see You!! I hear You!!

So this morning there was a lunar eclipse.  According to the news, both local and social, the best times were 3:00, 4:15, 5:15, 5:30, 6:00, 6:45...  So we went with 6:25 because that's when Clayton was getting up.  It was pretty cloudy as I was out first walking the dogs.  But suddenly the clouds cleared and it was the brightest red moon I'd ever seen.  I yelled, in the dark, for everyone to come out but at first they didn't hear me.  Once they did the clouds came back.  But no worries, they eventually cleared and we all got to see how amazing it was.  This was only the first of the many ways Jesus was fighting for my attention this morning just so He could say I love You.  The sunrise on the way to school was amazing!  Then I saw the most beautiful rainbow that went straight into the sky, not turning, but like a light shooting straight up from the ground and getting lost in the clouds.  The earth was saying it loves Jesus too!  Then I got the sweetest text from my gift, my Cowboy.  Oh how I love him!  Once I got home my niece who was staying with MeeMaw shouted out the window,"I love you Aunt LaLa!".  
Oh it's just too much Lord.  I knew what He was doing.  He was saying, "Good morning my most precious creation.  Don't forget, I love you, no, I adore you.  When you look around at all of these beautiful things and find joy when they shine their brightest, remember that I have even greater joy when I look down and see you shine.  You are amazing!"
That is MY Jesus!  That is MY Father!  That is His Heart inside of me!  
All I could say to Him was this, "I see You Lord, I hear You Lord, and I love You, no, I adore You!"
Lots of things will fight for my attention today,  But I will sing of Your strength; 
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning. For You have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalm 59:16.  I pray Lord I will remember that You are willing to fight the hardest for my attention, I just need to acknowledge You.  And nothing will ever compare to the beauty of the fight You will display for me, both in the good and the not so good.  I will see You, I will hear You.  I love You, no, I adore You!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Made for more than "this"

     I was driving home tonight and the song Beautiful by Mercy Me came on.  The premise of the song is that sometimes we all feel like we're unworthy when in Jesus we are actually worthy.  BUT God told me something else in that song.  I was struggling with some bitter thoughts towards a person when the song came on.  Part of the chorus says, "You're beautiful, you're beautiful.  You are made for so much more than all of this."  I heard God saying to me, you are beautiful and I made you for something more than all of this bitterness.  Bitterness is not beautiful, but I made you beautiful so let it go!!!!
     That got me to thinking.  "This" is different to all of us at all different times in our lives.  Tonight my "this" was bitterness.  Yesterday it was shame.  Tomorrow it may be attitude or impatience with the slow cashier.  Or it my be unforgiveness, physical pain, emotional pain, scarring from a hurt so deep its been hidden.  Whatever "this" is for me, and for you, in this moment, we were made for so much more than "this".  I am beautiful, I was made for so much more than "this", so I will let it go, or I'll try to let it go, or show me how to, or give me endurance to push through today's "this".  But whatever my "this" is I am going to remember that I was made for so much more.  Why am I so much more than "this"?  Because I am His.  
Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well"
Colossians 3:12

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I am chosen by Him!!  I am His!!!!

Beautiful by Mercy Me

Friday, June 1, 2012

Turning Eleven

Clayton is turning eleven in six days..  How did we get here so fast.  It seems like we were just starting to try to get pregnant, and now we are done.  Turning eleven means a lot to him.  He said he was just ten and now he will be in his ten's!  Well turning eleven means a lot to me too.
Turning eleven means time is going by fast and I need to make sure I'm spending every moment I can watching him, laughing with him, "instructing" him, and plain old loving on him through all of those things and so much more.
The above means turning eleven is saying to the calendar, slow down. 
Turning eleven means he's almost big enough to sit up front in the car.  But it doesn't mean he has control of the radio.
Turning eleven also means he's ALMOST a preteen.  ALMOST!
Turning eleven means he's officially the oldest kids among most of our friends.  He's in a new category all together, but I love that he doesn't care and loves to play with all of them.
Turning eleven means a lot more too, and a lot to both of us.  But there is one thing it does not mean.  It does not mean he is not my baby.  He will always be my 5 pound 8 ounce little monkey.  He's just heavier and I can actually understand what he's saying.
Slow down calendar.  Slow down just a little bit.