Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Minute Friday...When everything is changing...

So its that time of the week again....Five Minute Friday! One word...five minutes...no editing...and lots of fun blogs to read and lots of different ways to interpret that one word! Today's word packs quite a punch for me...the word is CHANGE.



Go....

Change...I've been writing about it for months now.

Our daughter got married....change.
Our son graduated high school...change.
We said good bye to one church and community...change.
We said hello to a new church and community...change.
We took our youngest to college...change.

So much change in so little time. I've been bringing you along with all the changes and they haven't always been easy on me!

So what hasn't changed?

That is simple..God! He remains the same in the midst of all the newness of my life. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is never changing. He is my Rock, my Fortress, He is amazing. I find no matter which church I am in I can still worship Him.

As I work through the changes, God has also given me something here on earth that remains constant as well....my marriage. Brian is going through the same things I am, he understands, and he can give me comfort and hugs on days when the changes are just too much. On second thought, maybe my marriage has changed...its gotten stronger!!

Thank you God for change...without it I wouldn't grow....without it I would have as much reason to cling to you...without it I would have missed living in an amazing community....change is hard, but can also be very very good!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

He's Ready...am I???


Exactly one week ago, it happened. We walked into Belcher Center on the campus of LeTourneau University to check in Caleb. Immediately we saw two sets of footprints on the ground...one set for the student to follow and one set for the parents to follow. My immediate reaction was NO...don't separate us yet. He needs me to help him maneuver through this process..right? I complied and followed the red set of footsteps down the hall to get our schedule and name badge for the weekend. Then it was off to the parent "holding tank"...where a roomful of freshman parents were assembled.  We met some parents, picked up some LeTourneau swag (pens, LETU parent stickers and a few notebooks). Caleb came and found us after awhile...he made it through check-in just fine without me.

The next several hours were spent moving him in and getting him set up. A list was begun for the first of several Walmart runs. Yes, I wondered how he would survive without me...he had an iron with him, but did he know how to use it...would he use? He still needed mom right...after all his closest was full of dress shirts and they were very wrinkly!

The next few days were spent with all of us attending orientation sessions; some together, some separate. Then came Saturday, the day all parents dreaded...there was one activity on our schedules we didn't like. It said "Time to say farewell to students." We all knew it was coming, we all hoped for the day to move slowly by. We attended our first morning session which turned out to be a chapel time. It was good. God needed to be a big part of this day and He didn't fail to show up. The worship was amazing...God was present and worked in all our hearts.

During this chapel I found myself looking down at my son (students sat in the section in front of the parents). I found myself having a conversation with God concerning Caleb.

Lord, he's not ready.
Yes Brenda he is.
I have so much left to teach him.
No, you've taught him how to learn...he's ready.
But, he's so young. He just turned 18 last month.
I've used young men before...remember David.
But Texas is so far away Lord.
No distance will ever be too far for you to pray for him. And remember I am with him. I love him even more than you do.
Are you sure he's going to be ok Lord? Doesn't he still need me?
Yes, Brenda he's going to be fine, and yes he still needs you, but your role is changing. You and Brian set him on this course. You've prayed for him, guided him and loved him...he's ready.


Then came the time, the time we dreaded. We knew we needed to pray with Caleb and we found a prayer room and got alone with him and spoke our hearts to God. We shared a few tears there and then walked to our truck. Caleb got several hugs from me, and we all shared some more tears. The time had come, the time to release the final arrow from our quiver and let him fly. We cried a bit more on the drive out of campus and headed north.


As we were settling into our hotel that night, we found two notes. One was for me and one was for Brian...they were from Caleb. It was like he knew of my conversation with God earlier...is he ready? Caleb assured me in the note that Brian and I had prepared him for this journey, he assured me he was ready!! God is good, He knew I would need to read those words from my son.

So ready or not, I am now the mother of three adult children. Each one trusting God and trying to discern His plan for them. God is good!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Joining a new community...

Five Minute Friday time again! One word...five minutes...no editing...lots of fun!
Today's word is JOIN.


start...

Tonight Brian and I witnessed a pretty cool event. The Welcome Ceremony for 450 new students at LeTourneau University. Our son Caleb is among those 450. There was an ivy planting at the conclusion of this ceremony. This ivy is currently many different plants, but as it grows they will join them together. The ivy will grow for the next four years, then when its time for graduation, the students will gather around the ivy and the president will walk around the circle and clip the ivy.

The freshman ivy.

Tonight was the joining of Caleb with these 450 students and the whole LeTourneau family. It was a special night. One of great significance. The faculty dressed in their academic regalia...this signifies something important is happening. Tonight we as parents dedicated ourselves to continuing to love and support and pray for our children. The faculty dedicated themselves to leading, supporting and educating them. The students dedicated themselves to the educational principals and lifestyle standards of the school. We are joined together.

Saturday we drive away from Texas and our son. Tonight we joined a new family, one that will have a huge impact on our son. We feel blessed and excited. Driving away will be hard, but seeing the amazing place that will be investing in our son for four years has given us amazing peace!

Caleb at the Memorial Garden where the ivy was planted.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Five Minute Friday...but I want to be comfortable...

Five Minute Friday again! One word...five minutes...whatever thoughts come to mind...no editing. Today's word is STRETCH...

 Begin...

Comfort zones...we all have them. We like them...after all they are comfortable and we like that. We like the predictability and ease of them.

However, if we stay there too long, we get stale, boring, and lazy. 

Sometimes, God comes along and stretches us...He pulls us out of our comfort zone. He allows us to be... dare I say uncomfortable. It is when He is doing this that life is exciting. What purpose does God have in stretching me beyond that which I am comfortable? What new chapter is He writing for me? 

Will I run back to my safe spot, where I feel at ease? Will I allow Him to continue to stretch me? 

Lord, Stretch me...mold me...use me!! Keep me out of my comfort zone!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Word Filled Wednesday...fix our eyes...


Our new house is only a block away from this sunflower field; which made my daughters very excited and lead to this picture being taken. I love that there is this field so close to my house. I see it every time I walk up the block to get our mail. The sunflower is a unique flower in that it follows the sun. This is what we as Christians need to do; we need to fix our eyes on Jesus; we need to follow the Son!!!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Of piano playing and cheese graters...

I have a confession to make. It's a big one...are you ready? I'm a pastor's wife and I don't play piano! There, that felt good to get it out in the open! I feel so free now that you know.


Ok, so I know that pastor's wives are not all piano players, some are, but many are not. However, that is one of the stereotypes of us. How boring would it be if all pastor's wives were the same? How boring would it be if all Christians were the same?

I am reading through "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan (AMAZING BOOK!). In the chapter I am reading now he talks about how sometimes as Christians we try to be like other Christians. He illustrated it in a great way. Imagine if you opened your drawer and all you found were cheese graters, and you wanted to eat soup. A cheese grater won't help you there. The Church needs more than cheese graters too! If we were all the same, how would anything get done in the church?


So, as I pondered this chapter today, I realized that I am not a cookie cutter pastor's wife and that's ok! I am actually not a cookie cutter anything! I don't want to be like other people, but I do want to be like Jesus! I want to be the person He created me to be!

How about you? Do you find yourself falling in the trap of trying to be a cheese grater, when God has called you to be a different utensil? What is your passion? Is there a need you see that you feel needs to be filled? If so, then perhaps you are the very person to meet that need!

So ponder with me today...what does God want from you? What did He create you to be?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Minute Friday....Take time to connect!

Today is Five Minute Friday. One word...five minutes...just writing what comes to mind.


Go:

Yesterday morning was just one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days! Little things and big things derailed me and my attitude. It started with a simple task, one which should have taken five minutes but took me an hour. Technology was not my friend and this started my day off on the wrong frustrated foot.

Just when I thought I was out of my funk, I opened my load of whites to discover a pen was among those clothes. It decided to explode on my clothes, not a little but a whole lot! Well, that pretty much sunk my attitude for the morning. I blamed the one who put the pen in their pocket, thinking that would make me feel better. It didn't...it only made him feel bad and then I felt bad for making him feel bad! After all I know to check pockets, I do it every week, in reality I could have prevented this accident.

Thankfully, as the day progressed things got much better. God sent several people into my day to brighten my mood and make me feel connected to my new community.

As I reflect back on yesterday morning, one important ingredient was missing...one important connection was not there. I usually wake up and spend time with God. Yesterday, I woke up and tried that "simple" task, thinking I will spend time with God in five minutes. Well, that didn't happen. I went through the morning on my own strength. I never even tried to connect with God. I just kept plowing into my bad day.

Today, I woke up and first thing I did was ask God to forgive me, I asked him to steady my heart today, to be my strength today. Little annoyances will come, laundry will get ruined, technology will fail us, but as long as we connect with God everyday, He will give us the strength to get through it. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of my attitude without that connection and it was not a pretty sight!!!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Here I am...

I was so sad to miss  5 Minute Friday last week! We were out of town and  about half way to our destination, I realized it was Friday and I had completely forgotten! So I am excited to get back on track today with 5 Minute Friday. The rules are simple, one word...five minutes...no editing...which means no over-thinking!! Today's word is HERE:


 Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God...


These are the words to one of my favorite worship songs.

Here I am to worship...it doesn't have any conditions on it...just that I am here to worship...no matter my mood...even if the worship team doesn't sing songs I like....I am simply here to worship.

Here I am to worship...it doesn't say where I am to worship...just here...worship is not exclusively for inside the walls of a church...I can worship Him here...and here is anywhere I happen to be! I can bow down and say that You're my God anywhere...I can do it here...right now...where ever here is!

Each morning as I wake up all I need to do is say God I'm here...and here and now I choose to worship you!!

Here I am to worship...what is worship? Is it simply standing up and signing songs on Sunday morning? Is it listening to Christian radio? Worship is so much more that what we think it is. 

Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship! Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Three weeks...





 Three weeks ago, a giant orange truck pulled up in front of our home in Hampton.

Three weeks ago, I watched with amazement as the movers packed everything we owned into that truck like a giant game of Tetris.

Three weeks ago,  I stood in an empty house as tears rolled down my cheeks. Not because I was going to miss the house, but because of all the memories it holds.
 Three weeks ago, we drove away from this house, with a for sale sign still in the yard. The promise of a buyer still unmet.

Three weeks ago, we drove away from a neighborhood, church and community we loved.

Three weeks ago, Brian and I began yet another new adventure!

Our first Sunday at our new church!
 
It has only been three weeks and the memories and emotions of the move are still raw. I still get tears in my eyes as I remember watching that truck pull away from our home; knowing that all we had left to do was drive away.

The past three weeks have not been filled entirely with tears. We have experienced some pretty amazing emotions as well. We drove into a new community and felt welcomed from the moment we stepped out of our truck!

In the past three weeks we have been loved on in some amazing ways. Our new church family has made us feel more than welcome!! The warmth of the welcome here did so much to lessen the sting of the good-byes we had just gone through. We had movers who would have unloaded everything themselves, but our church family showed up and helped them out. The movers were hesitant at first, but it was a hot day and in the end they were amazed that so many people would show up to help out a family they barely knew. What a great witness to these guys! Their load was lessened and there was plenty of food and water to refresh them before they went on their way.


In the past three weeks, Brian and I have learned we are too old to move! It's hard work, both emotionally and physically. We are still learning our way around our new home, will we ever learn what all these light switches turn on? Will we ever find the shop vac hose? Will we ever figure out where things go in the kitchen? Even brushing our teeth has been different, the toothpaste and toothbrush are in new locations! What do all the buttons on my oven, my dishwasher, my washer and dryer do? Why are there so many buttons on all these appliances? I am used to on/off! Now I have to think!!

In the past three weeks, God has showed us He is faithful! That house we drove away from without a buyer is now under contract!! We had prayed to get a certain amount for our home and the amount we settled on is exactly the amount we prayed for. The inspection on our home showed a problem that could have cost us a few thousand dollars, within 30 minutes of finding out about this issue we got good news! The buyers decided to sign off on the contract and are not asking us to do anything! For a few months now we have been praying for the buyers of our home, now we can keep praying for them, only now we know their name.

In the past three weeks, there have been some tears. It is a natural part of moving...well for women anyway!! I kept telling Brian the tears would come, I didn't know when, I just knew they would. When they came, they came in force! There is so much involved with moving besides just packing and unpacking; all the little things just built up and overwhelmed me! Thankfully, Brian kept his shoulder available for me. He knows the drill by now, walk over hold me and let me cry!! God really gave him a great set of strong shoulders!!

So, after three weeks are we settled yet? No...still lots of things to do. After three weeks, we feel more at home. We are seeing our new church as our new family, we are beginning to see what an amazing place God has called us to. We may be a bit north, the accents may be a bit different than we are used to, there may be different crops, different weather patterns; but one thing remains the same... God! God is faithful, He brought us here and both Brian and I are excited to see what God has in store for us here!!


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
 Hebrew 13:8