Friday, September 1, 2017

Be Still

How many of you parents out there have told your kids to be still? What are we asking of our children when we make this {sometimes not so nice} request? When I ask Shelby to be still, I'm asking her to either stop moving, quit squirming, sit down, listen... I know how frustrated I can become when she doesn't obey my request.

I wonder if God feels the same way about me. His word commands his followers to be still (Exodus, Psalm, Mark, etc).  Context is probably important here...

  • In Exodus 14, the Israelites have just left Egypt, and they are being chased by "all of the forces of Pharoh's army." They were panicked thinking death was surely upon them. Moses' response was "Be Still." 
  • In Psalm 46, David is singing praises to the Lord, and he's not in the most pleasant of situations: the seas will roar, mountains tremble, nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall, complete desolation all around. In the midst of all of this devastation and destruction, verse 10 tells us to "Be Still..."
  • In Mark 4, the disciples are on a boat and a "furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion" v37-38. Jesus got up and commanded the storm to "be still" and the storm died down and everything was completely calm.

These are all people that have witnessed God's miracles (plagues, deliverance, manna from Heaven, miraculous healing...) yet they had to be reminded to be still. Being still is hard. It requires patience, trust, COMPLETE SURRENDER. 

For my personal journey, that means letting go of things I have been trying to control, waiting quietly, trusting that His plan is much better than mine, realizing I serve a God who loves me more than anyone else does, recognizing that God has a plan to work all of these things together for my good (Romans 8:28), and that He can accomplish immeasurably more than anything I can ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  It means handing my stuff off to God and begging Him every morning not to let me take them back.

What are you holding on to today that you need to surrender to God? I would encourage you to ask him to take it - and not let you have it back.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sticks and Stones

Words are incredibly powerful. They can build up, encourage, and motivate. They can also tear down. I remember the old children’s saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Well, I’d like to talk to the person that came up with that saying because it simply isn’t true. Words hurt. Sometimes very badly. The Bible tells us “the tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21, NLT). 

Recently I had a friend remind me of this verse. I was struggling through an issue and replaying a conversation over and over in my head. I called her to discuss the conversation because something just didn’t feel right about the way it ended, but I couldn’t quite determine what was bothering me. Nothing I said was untrue or mean; however, my words were not affirming nor life giving. Saying the words aloud to this person further reinforced the belief in my own words instead of God’s promises to me.

Consider this: Lazarus had been dead for 4 days when Jesus brought him back to life using three words: “Lazarus, Come forth.” 3 words. 2 if you don’t count Lazarus’ name (John 11:43-44). He spoke death to the fig tree in 6 words: “May you never bear fruit again!” and immediately the fig tree withered up (Matthew 21:19). Our words are extremely important - a matter of life and death, in fact.

Today I’m starting a book called The Forty-Day Word Fast: A Spiritual Journey to Eliminate Toxic Words from Your Life by Tim Cameron. In the book, Tim encourages readers to fast from words of judgement, criticism, sarcasm 😟😨, negativity, complaining and gossip for 40 days. Obviously, I struggle with some of these more than others.

Feel free to buy the book and join me! It should be an interesting journey.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pulling the Weeds

Pulling the weeds is one of my least favorite chores. It ranks right down there with cleaning toilets and doing laundry. 

I feel like I JUST cleaned out these flower beds yesterday, but in reality it's been several months so it's been somewhat neglected. This morning it was time to change that. I spent about 2 hours trimming, weeding and cleaning up. The weeds and grass I could see weren't that bad, but as I removed each brick one by one it revealed a mess of weeds and roots growing underneath. 

The aftermath
I found myself wondering if God feels the same way about me. On the outside, my struggles don't look that bad. God sees what is on the inside; what no one else sees. That, my friends, is not as pretty; it's a mess of weeds and roots.

The longer I neglected these weeds and roots, the uglier and harder it became to clean up. I had a friend confess an idol in her life, and it made me realize I have one too. My idol is control. Right now, I feel so out of control that I spend a lot of time grasping for things I can control instead of relying on God's power. I put my desire to control things ahead of God's will for my life. My quiet time became a little less quiet, then a little less frequent. Prayers were more a "check the box" kind of thing than pouring out my heart God. 

Proverbs 16:9 says "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." For the last several months, I have been making my own plans and establishing my own steps. 

God's plan is and always will be better than mine. He's slowly been removing the bricks and pulling the weeds. Hopefully this part will be done soon! It's not pleasant. 

Be encouraged - it's never too late to turn around. I've been forgiven, and I'm on the path towards healing; I don't really know where I am going or when I'll be there, but I'm letting the Lord direct me. 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Red Cars and Remembrance Stones

So a cool thing happened...

I was at a retreat this weekend with an amazing group of women who are leaders in their respective ministries. We had an assignment to go to a table and pick up a picture that represents how we were feeling. I'm guessing there were about 50 or so pictures on this table. Some women struggled to find a picture; others easily found 2 or 3. It took me all of 5 seconds to find mine. My picture looked a little bit like this:
not the exact picture
I explained that I was feeling stuck in multiple areas of my life right now. I’m in this place where I don’t really want to be, but I’m confident that it is exactly where God has called me. I told the group that the awkwardness and discomfort I am feeling is better than being disobedient. I am committed to be obedient, but it's hard to be joyful in the midst of the stuck-ness. I said, “So here I am, this little red car…” sitting here waiting for God.

Flash forward to Monday morning – I’m unpacking Shelby’s bag from her weekend trip to see her grandparents. I empty her bag and out falls this little remote control RED car that belonged to my husband when he was a boy. When I asked Shelby about it she confidently stated that “Daddy and I brought it for you.” Y’all need to understand that my in-laws have quite a large home with many toys from when the boys were little. Shelby could have picked a hundred other things to bring home.

The remote control car is from the ‘80s and it still works - how cool is that!
It's worth noting that this car won't go until it's been plugged into the power source for 2-3 minutes. After it's been charged, it will drive around for about a minute. Wow - the parallel to real life is one that is pretty convicting. It's easy to feel connected to God when things are well and life is going how I want it to. It's much harder when I feel like God doesn't see me or hear me; when he's just letting me be stuck in traffic.

I’m using this little red car as a reminder that God is WITH me. He is with me at home, at work, in the car, doing the dishes (wait - who am I kidding, I don’t do dishes – thanks, William!). He is with me in the good times and the bad times. He is with me in my feelings of stuck. In fact, the Bible says He will NEVER LEAVE me (Duet 31:6).

Theopedia defines joy as “a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.”  So while I continue in my feelings of stuck; I’m committing to finding JOY in being the little red car because I know that is exactly where God wants me. 


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Shelby's Frozen 4th

We started planning Shelby's 4th party party in July... it's a good thing too because life got crazy, and I haven't done anything since then. I didn't even remember to send out the invitations. Ooops. #momfail  

Too bad since they turned out so cute!
But the party much go on. We invited the fam and had a great party. Shelby's favorite part was the balloons. Mine was THE CAKE! My aunt and cousin made it!! It was PERFECT. (which is good cause we're going to be eating it for weeks!)
I'm convinced there is nothing they can't do

William and I spent Friday night decorating.

And my mom and sister came over to help with the food on Saturday morning.

We also had Olf's nose (carrots sticks) Olaf's arm (pretzel sticks), Warm Hugs (Hershey hugs) and melted Olafs (vanilla ice cream cups.

I loved throwing this party for my girl. She had the best time!

Monday, July 4, 2016

4th Birthday Party Planning

I forgot how much I love planning and hosting parties! The best part about this one is that I've got a little helper! I'm letting her pick pretty much everything - that I let her look at on Pinterest. 

Browsing Pinterest with Momma

 I'm not going to lie, when she told me she wanted an "Elsa Tea Party" I was a bit disappointed. I'm a little Frozen-ed out. BUT it is totally worth it to see her face light up every time we talk about it! She keeps telling friends and family all about it and inviting them to come. She's excited so I'm excited! Plus there are TONS of cute ideas out there.

She was a bit (A LOT!) disappointed that we didn't get to go to the lake today. As a reward for being understanding, I told her we could start picking out and making things for her party. 

She picked out
the invitations
the cake
And we worked really hard on the decorations

They don't look perfect, but there are SO perfect because we did them together!  We had the best day. We're going to close it out by watching daddy shoot fireworks.

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Day of Yes!

The last few weeks have been tough - a few trips, long work hours, Vacation Bible School... Shelby and I decided to skip school and work (with permission) and spend the day together. I decided a "Day of Yes!" was the perfect thing to do. The rule is that whatever she asks to do, the answer is yes unless it's dangerous. Luckily, she took it pretty easy on me, and we had the BEST day!

We started our day with pancakes, bacon and chocolate milk at Cracker Barrel. 

The she wanted "pretty toes" so pedicures were a must!
We got the "jello and sugar" pedicure.

She wanted her fingers pretty too.

After that, she wanted to go swim at Grandma's house. Grandma was not home, but she graciously allowed us to use her pool anyway.

Shelby wanted pizza for lunch - dessert pizza. She did eat some real pizza AFTER dessert. 

Thankfully, SHE said yes to a 2 hour nap!

After nap we had a tea party, played with watercolors, and rode around the block a few in her pink Caddy with Minnie. We stopped and played with several neighborhood friends along the way.

We ended our Day of  Yes by going to VBS, at church. She loved every minute of our day, and so did I.