Friday, June 29, 2012

5 Minute Friday...Who's leading your dance?

Once again I am joining up with Lisa Jo at tales from a Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. One word...five minutes...no editing. Today's word is DANCE.

Go:

If you've ever watched any dance competition you know that there needs to be someone who leads. Without that, the couple has no direction and lots of feet will get stepped on. It can almost look like a fight as both partners fight to lead the dance. Serious ballroom dancers don't become good over night. They practice and soon the partners are able to read each other and the dance is flawless.


Our relationship with God is much like a dance. But who's leading? If it's not God, then we have a problem. Our dance will be awkward and not pretty. We need to allow God to lead us. At first it may not be a beautiful thing, but as we learn to follow God's lead, as we practice our dance, we become a thing of beauty. Our dance will become amazing because we are allowing God to lead us. We are allowing Him to guide us through life. Listen carefully and you can hear God asking you..."May I have this dance?" Dance with Him and let Him lead!!!

2 Samuel 6:14
And David danced before the LORD with all his might


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reflections of our last Sunday...

June 24th was our last day of worship at Faith Baptist Church. Brian has been the Family Life Pastor there since May of 2005, so to say this was a bittersweet day is an understatement!



Worship songs have this way of ministering to me and Brian as well. There were three songs on Sunday that ministered extra to us. Each one is special in it's own way, and God used each one to calm our hearts and be able to truly enjoy our last Sunday.

The first song is Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman. There is a portion of this song that speaks right to my heart:
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
God has been using this song to remind us that He does indeed give and take away. As He is moving us to a new ministry my heart will choose to bless the Lord!! Also as our children are growing up and leaving home our hearts will choose to bless the Lord!!
The second song is The Stand by Hillsong. This song is what led me to my One Word for the year 2012. My one word is completely. When I chose this word I knew there were changes coming, so to remember to follow Him completely and trust Him completely is a good reminder for me! This entire song is amazing, but the part that gets me the most is this one:
So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You
As so much is changing in our lives (all at once), we need to cling completely to God! We offer our hearts completely to Him!!
The last song has been special to Brian and I for 15 years! It is called Step by Step by Rich Mullens. We have a history with this song. When we moved from Yankton, SD to Craig, Co it was the last worship song we sang at our farewell in Yankton. Then "coincidentally" it was the first song we sang in Craig; only God could orchestrate something that amazing. It was also the last song we sang in Craig, and now it was the last song we sang here in Hampton. It reminds us that we need to keep following God...Step by Step!!
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

And I will follow You all of my days
And I will follow You all of my days
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days 

Worship is so powerful. It really soothed our hearts on Sunday. I thank God for not allowing us to be too caught up in sadness, but to truly worship Him! 

Our amazing worship was followed by a time of fun and celebration. Our church family threw us an amazing party. There was too much fun for there to be too many tears (there were a few).  They had a program planned for us with a skit that had us really laughing. It was thoughtful and lighthearted. After a time of prayer for us, we did what all good Baptists do...have a potluck!! It was fun to just fellowship and laugh some more. But our party had even more! There was a photo booth going the whole time...I can't wait to see the pictures that come out of there. (Warning Faith Baptist...these pictures might be your new picture directory!!) We also had a clown making all sorts of interesting balloon creations. And as any good party should have, there was a pinata! Somehow it managed to stay intact until Brian's turn...hmmm...wonder how that happened!?!
All in all our hearts are full and now we must set forth with the task of moving. We are two weeks to spend some one on one time together and prepare our stuff to be moved. Soon we will be in Roseau, Minnesota making memories with a new church family. God is good, and we excited to follow His lead in our lives!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

5 Minute Friday...Take a risk!

Today I am linking up with Lisa-Jo over at her newly remodeled site; tales from a Gypsy Mama. We  are given one word and five minutes to write, no editing allowed. Today's word is a good one...Risk. Read my post and then head over to Lisa-Jo's site to see what others have to say.



 Go:

David took a risk when he approached Saul and said let me deal with Goliath.
Esther took a risk when she approached the king.
Ruth took a risk when she chose to go with Naomi to a foreign land.
Elisabeth Elliot took a risk when she chose to live with the very people who killed her husband.
Corrie ten Boom took a risk when she chose to help the Jewish people.

Risk takers are all around us. Today, I consider the greatest risk takers to be those who live in countries where their very lives are in danger if they speak of Jesus. Yet, they do it anyway. Why? Because they love Jesus, and want to spread the Gospel.

There is risk in our own lives as well, perhaps we aren't risking our lives everyday like some in this world are. But we still have been given the same task; to spread the Gospel. What are we doing to make sure this happens? Are we reaching out, taking a risk, or our we staying too comfortable in our lives? I ask myself this same question. Which has the greater reward risk or comfort? I'm sure all those mentioned above now the answer, sometimes we need to get a little or a lot uncomfortable to carry out God's command in Acts 1:8.

 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Yikes...we're moving!!





 
Some days it hits me more than others that we are in fact moving. Today was one of those days! Stress from moving is a funny thing, it can build and build and then all of the sudden you are crying and don't know exactly why. Once again, my husband's broad shoulders and strong arms were there to just let me cry.

We have moved several times in our marriage and I have always said, I love moving! I love packing, I love the adventure of it all, but this move is different. Perhaps its as simple as being more hormonal these days (age will do that to you) or perhaps its because our children are not exactly moving with us. Sure, we are moving tons of their things, but they will only visit us and their stuff on occasion. Today I found myself going through all the things they had set aside for the garage sale, and I found it to be hard. This took me by surprise, I am a thrower. I never have a hard time getting rid of toys and stuff, but this time I am just a big sentimental cry baby! All those stuffed animals and puzzles and dolls; they no longer need them.

God is amazing though. In the midst of my wallowing He allowed me to find a workbook from a parenting conference Brian and I went to years ago. I didn't look through the book; I didn't have to. That conference was amazing and I remember some of the things they taught us all to clearly. We filled out a target for each one of our children. Our children are arrows that we raise and release, and we prayed about what we wanted on the target for our little arrows. Let me tell you, they are all three flying straight and true towards the goals we set and prayed for them. So, maybe, just maybe, I will be ok moving only their stuff to Roseau. After all, if they were still living with us, they will have missed the mark we prayed so fervently for. This thing called the empty nest is not for cowards. It's tough stuff; but its part of life. We have always celebrated every milestone in our children's lives and right now we are facing a milestone and a new beginning of our own. Even though its hard we need to celebrate that as well.  So maybe today wasn't as much about moving, but about moving on.

Does this mean there will be no more tears? No, it means that God has worked on my heart and given me peace amid the tears and difficult days ahead. He is amazing!! He allows me to have my little tantrums, but then He gently calms me down and fills me with that amazing peace!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My kids are blessed because...

My kids are blessed because of who God has given them as a father.
 My husband is an awesome dad.
Happy Father's Day Brian!!
We all love you!!!!

Walking Ashley down the aisle.


Always time to play some games!

Brian and Abby
WOW...they are alike!!
Caleb and Brian
They are buddies!

Brian and his new son...Larry!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Dad

Last year this was my Father's Day post. I want to share it with you again this year.

The day started out just like any other day. Brian left for work and I loaded up the kids for story hour at the library. It was a nice fall day outside, late September. Library days were special, the lady running the story hour was one of those ladies that was meant to be a librarian. As we headed home we were just chatting away about the story and the crafts done that day. That's where the day ceased to be normal.

When I got home, I noticed my husband's car in the garage and I thought, "Hmm, hope the church didn't fire him!" (with a chuckle) Little did I know the news he did have for me when I got inside. He came out to help get kids out of car seats and I noticed he was not acting like himself. I got inside first and noticed a note on the counter with the name of a funeral home. I turn around and asked him; "Did my dad die?" The look in his eyes told me everything. I burst into tears.

The next week was a blur with making plans. We lived in South Dakota, the funeral was in Iowa and my dad died in Colorado. Lots of plans needed to be made. I remember being just numb, not knowing how to feel. We even found laughter as we realized we had final say in two things. First of all my dad was extremely afraid of heights and said he would never fly; well we flew his body to Iowa! Second, my dad was notorious for mixing stripes and plaids and just never quite matching, we made sure his clothes matched at his funeral! He actually would have laughed at these two things!

I grieved many things that week and to be honest for years to come. The end of my dad's life was marked with much sorrow. He lived in a rented room, in a city hundreds of miles from family. He chose to turn to alcohol to soothe his pain. He cut off all contact from me two years before he died. I tried calling, writing, seeking help from my uncle; all to no avail. I felt as though I was unworthy of his love. So when I found out he was gone, my first reaction was, "He can't hurt me any more."

Growing up,  I knew my dad was not perfect; life just seemed to be difficult for him. One thing I knew though, he loved me. He was a goofy guy, who would always go the extra mile to make birthdays more special. We would always pick out the annual Christmas tree together, and every year, it was uglier than the year before! One year we picked out a tree in October, determined to get a good one. When we went to cut it down; someone had stolen it! So, another ugly tree.

He loved that birthday cake!

After my parents divorced and my dad moved to Colorado, our relationship consisted of letter writing. I would write him often telling of my life and sending him pictures. When I got married he proudly and nervously walked me down the aisle. Things seemed to be going great. He was so proud of his granddaughters and would brag about them and try to see them whenever he could. Then in 1993 all contact ceased.

Walking me down the aisle.

It was in 1993 that I felt led to address my dad's drinking. I shared from my heart how it concerned me. I went on to share Jesus with him. You see, my dad was not a Christian, and that bothered me immensely. I wrote this all in a letter to him, as that was our primary means of communication. It was the last letter of mine he ever opened. He kept every letter, but never opened them. He never even saw a picture of my son. Those years were so very hard on me. I felt he had rejected me. I was a 28 year old mother, who still wanted her daddy's approval and love.

When I went to Colorado to settle up my dad's affairs, I met with the lady who was with him when he died. My dad drove cab and this lady was in his cab when he had the heart attack. It was a long trip to the airport, so they had plenty of time to talk. My dad shared with her all about me. That really confused me, the man who refused to answer my letters or calls still bragged about me. He hadn't rejected me after all! What he had done however was condemn himself, he thought since he was an alcoholic, he was unlovable. The prison his mind must have been in at that time, I can't even imagine.

For years, I lived with a deep sense of regret. How dare I write my dad that letter? How dare he assume I wouldn't love him? Why hadn't he turned to Jesus? Did he turn to Jesus? I drove myself crazy with all these thoughts. Then one year on his birthday I released it all, I forgave him for the hurt he caused me, and I left it all in God's hands. I won't know until I get to heaven if my dad turned to Jesus; but God has assured me I did my part.

Following is a poem my dad wrote to me in college. He mounted it on a wooden heart he made for me. It gives me some comfort that yes, I was loved. My uncle read it again at my dad's funeral, it was a reminder of the dad he wanted to be, before alcohol stole him away!

Brenda Dear...
 You are such a sport and scholar about you I want to shout and holler. 
Even though we are miles apart; Your smiles are treasures in my heart. 
 You are to me a joy and special love, for you are my little snow white dove. 
You've always been a special pearl, and yes you'll always be your daddy's little girl. 
 Just to see you gleam, seems to be my fondest dream. 
You will never know just how much you've made me glow. 
 I love to share your cheeers and wipe from your eyes your tears. 
Whenever I feel blue, my heart remembers you. 
 You will never so far that when I see a star, 
My heart is of good cheer, for I feel you very near. 
 And then to add some clout, in case there's any doubt--there really hadn't oughter,
For you'll always be by daughter...Brenda

I still get sad at times when I think about him. I even get angry, wondering why couldn't I have had a father who was there for me. Its at these times when God whispers in my ear, I'm there for you, I'm your Father. God is such a loving Father, His arms have held me tight in this grieving process. He has always been there for me  and my heavenly Father has written me a letter. It's a love letter, the Bible. It is there I find the most comfort and its there I get the "hugs" I so desperately long for!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

5 Minute Friday...Do you have enough Light for your Path??

Today is 5 Minute Friday. One word...five minutes...no editing....just whatever comes to mind. Head on over to The Gypsy Mama for more posts on this one word. Today's word is PATH.

go...

When our kids go to camp we make sure and send a flashlight with them. Its so they have that extra assurance that they can see where they are going at night. This light allows them to see the immediate path ahead, not the whole path, just a few feet in front of them. We want them to be safe and not stumble and fall over some unforeseen object.

As we journey through this thing called life, we too need a flashlight. This is not a floodlight, it is one that lights just enough of our path so we don't stumble and fall. Our flashlight is the Bible. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet 
And a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105

God's word is enough light to help me through my days. Lately I have had a wee bit of added stress in my life. Moving will do that to a person. There are days I let that stress build up and its not pretty. But what I am discovering is that the days I spend some quality time in God's word and praying, those are the days that are easier to walk through. We are still waiting for a buyer to come, and there are days I wish I had a flood light so I could see far enough down the path to see who that buyer will be. But, for now God is lighting my path just enough to help me get through each day. His word calms me down and assures me that He is in control...He knows what He is doing. I just need to stay grounded in His word and keep heading down the path He has chosen for me.

How about you? Don't forget to use your flashlight today!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lord...Steady My Heart


Last night my daughter Abby told me to listen to this song. She was right...it was the perfect song for me to listen to in the midst of this storm called moving. This is something we all need to remember...Lord, Steady my heart!!!


Steady My Heart
by Kari Jobe

Wish it could be easy
Why is life so messy
Why is pain a part of us
There are days I feel like
Nothing ever goes right
Sometimes it just hurts so much

But You're here
You're real
I know I can trust You
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsty.com/kari-jobe-steady-my-heart-lyrics.html ]
Even when it hurts
Even when it's hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart (x2)

I'm not gonna worry
I know that You got me
Right inside the palm of your hand
Each and every moment
What's good and what gets broken
Happens just the way that You plan

And I will run to You
You're my refuge in Your arms
And I will sing to You
Cause of everything You are

You steady my heart (x2)




Monday, June 11, 2012

Praying for my hubby...a privilege


I have always known it was important to pray for Brian. When we were first married, my prayers were a bit immature and most of the time pretty selfish. They began mostly with this phrase...Lord please change Brian's (fill in the blank). When I was first learning to live with the man, I seemed to notice all sorts of things that I thought God needed to work on! I have since learned that my prayers need to be less selfish, especially about the small things. My prayers for him have become much less about his annoying little habits (yes, we all have those!) and more about Christ working in him.  I now see praying for him as a privilege and a joy. 

Today, as I was reading Colossians, I ran across one of those prayers for him. I love it when something I have marked in my Bible years ago triggers me to pray today! This prayer seems appropriate as Brian starts his new ministry in just over a month. Some of my favorite ways to pray for my hubby are by taking scripture and praying it for him. That really helps me keep the focus of prayers on God working in Brian and me not going down a list of things I'd like to see changed! And the best part is the more I pray for him, the less I think about changing him!!!

Colossians 1:9-12

 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking
God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And 
 we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Father, as we prepare for a move, I pray for Brian. I pray for you to fill him with the knowledge of your will. Lord, we believe it is your will that we make this move and we are so excited about it. As he begins pastoring a new church, continue to make your will known to him.  May his life reflect you, may it be worthy of you. May Brian's words and actions be pleasing to you. Lord I pray for his works to produce good fruit, may he continue to grow in the knowledge of you. Lord, strengthen him daily with your power, not his own, give him patience and endurance when needed. Thank you Father for all you have done and will continue to do in and through Brian's life.
In Jesus Name I pray!


How about you? Have you prayed for you spouse lately? Chances are he needs prayer! We all do. It will draw the two of you closer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

5 Minute Friday...when expectations are too high...

 Today is 5 Minute Friday. This exercise of writing for five minutes is so awesome. It really helps me put different aspects of my life in perspective. Funny how one word can trigger so many feeling and thoughts! Read my thoughts on the word for today, but then head over to Gypsy Mama to see how other people have interpreted the word for today.

Today's word is EXPECTATION!

 

As you know we are trying to sell our home. When we put the for sale sign in the yard, we got a call within an hour!! So our expectations were that this house was going to sell within the first few days. Nothing really came from that one call. So, we are now waiting. With high expectations can come disappointment and doubt and stress.


God has been working on me. He is reminding me that every other home we have owned did sell. Each time it was in God's timing. God's timing on this sell is different from ours. So I have been having to do lots of praying and readjusting of my expectations. I believe God is trying to get me to trust Him even more.

Brian and I adopted a new attitude yesterday. We need to be more in prayer for the people who will live in this home, that our house would be a blessing to them. We realized all it needs is one family to look at the house. God could have sent dozens of buyers, but that could discourage us as well, with a dozen rejections. Selling a home is personal, if someone doesn't like the home you put all your love and sweat into...it can sting a bit.

So my new expectation is that God will find the perfect couple for this home. I am daily and hour by hour turning this home over to God. No longer do I expect to walk away with a huge profit, I expect to walk away knowing we treated the new family with kindness and respect and in even the sell of this home we were a witness to them!!

Today I read Philippians 2:4...Each of you should look not only to your own interests but to the interests of others. That hit me that I need to pray more for the family who will one day live here and not think about just getting money out of this house.

Thank you Jesus for allowing me to see my expectations on the sale of this home have been too high!! It will happen in you timing! You are never too early or too late!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Minute Friday...I see my kids...

 It's Five Minute Friday! One word...no editing...just writing my thoughts. I was prepared for any word today, you see last night I watched the National Spelling Bee and was ready for a word like fjeld (yeah that d is silent!). I was ready for a word with 14 letters. I must say I was a bit relieved to find a word I didn't have to look up or guess how to pronounce! Today's word is SEE.

 
I remember like it was yesterday, when the kids were little.


I would be busy in the kitchen or cleaning and Abby would run in and say mommy watch me. She would do a cartwheel or the splits and I would glance at her and say good job. But did I see her? Did I see the excitement in her eyes. Did I realize that she just needed my attention?

Ashley would draw me a picture and say mommy look at my picture. I would glance at is and say good job. But did I really see the picture? Did I see that she drew a picture of me? Did I see how excited she was to show me her art work?

Caleb would be building a lego house and say look mommy I built a house. I would glance up and say good job buddy. But did I see what he really built? Did I see that he had an amazing mind and at such a young age could build amazing things?

I know there were times I did see those things in my kids. I also know there were times that I just told them good job because I was trying to get my work done. Thankfully I learned pretty early on in their lives to "see" my kids...to look beyond what they were doing to see their heart.

Today when I see my kids, I see their hearts. I see Ashley's heart was made to be a wife and mother. She has such an amazing capacity to love. I see Abby's heart in full of compassion for lost people, her heart will help her have an amazing ministry. I see Caleb's heart, he's my gentle giant. He is so analytical, but underneath all that is a sweet man who loves Jesus.

Take a minute today and try to see someone heart!