Thursday, February 28, 2013

Five Minute Friday...I'm just ordinary...

Five Minute Friday time again. Where we are given just one word and have five minutes to record our thoughts on that one word. No editing allowed, just our thoughts as they come to us. Read my thoughts and then be sure and check back at Lisa-Jo's place for what others have to say. Today's word is ORDINARY...


Excuses....we all have them. We use them to explain why we won't take a risk. A common one is...God can't use me...I'm nobody...I'm just a common ordinary person. And then we settle back into our common comfortable lives...

God can use fact he shines in using the ordinary.

Ruth...just an ordinary woman...she is part of the lineage of Jesus.
Esther...just an ordinary woman...she became a queen and saved a nation....for such a time as this.
David....just an ordinary shepherd boy...he became a man after God's own heart and a king.
Mary...just an ordinary girl...yet she become the mother to Jesus.
12 ordinary men...they became Jesus' disciples...they carried the Gospel after Jesus was gone.

The Bible is full of God using ordinary people and doing extraordinary things with them. more excuses. If God calls you to something...dive in...he's got a plan to move you from ordinary to extraordinary. All you have to do is listen for His voice!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My leading man...

What do Brad Pitt, John Stamos, Conan O'Brien, Nicolas Cage, and Brian Haynes all have in common? They are all 49 year old men. My favorite of the five is by far Brian Haynes, he is my leading man! Brad, John, Conan and Nicolas have nothing on him. Brian's face may not grace the covers of magazines, there are not cameras following his every move, and he may not play to a large audience. He doesn't need any of that; he plays to an Audience of One!

My man isn't concerned about his fan base, he doesn't worry if he is on the best or worst dressed list, instead he spends his days serving the Lord and seeking His will. He is an amazing father and his kids are his biggest fans. He is a loving, caring, cute, supportive husband. I find his shoulders to be a perfect place to seek comfort when I need it.

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of this amazing man. 49 years ago Brian entered this world. I am so thankful that God saw fit for our paths to cross and for those paths to now be entwined. Brian is my best friend and I love him so much! Happy birthday me you are person of the year every year!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

When your kids won't listen...part two...

Earlier this week I shared with you how Brian and I were looking forward to a nice calm year in 2013. We figured it would be a good year to continue to settle into our new community and just experience very minimal change. Our daughter Ashley and her husband Larry are graduating in May, so we knew that big event was coming up. One big event we thought we could handle! Like I said yesterday, our kids don't listen to us. Seems, they are listening to God!

Our daughter Abby assured us nothing major would be in store for her. She was content with her life and even said, "I think I'm too busy for a relationship now." As you may remember when Abby least expected it, God brought along that relationship for her in a most awesome way. Go here to read the beginning of her love story.

Growing up Abby said that when the right man came into her life she would know quickly and things would move fast as well. Both Josh and Abby knew from almost the beginning that they were meant to be together. In fact, Josh called my husband within a week of their first date to see how long he needed to wait to propose! Can't blame him for knowing a good thing when he sees it. Well, my husband being who he is promptly texted Josh this verse as an answer.... "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her." Genesis 29:20. We thought that seemed reasonable, it certainly was scriptural after all. 

  After giving it some prayer and discussion, Brian told Josh to wait 90 days and then they could have this conversation again. Josh didn't wait 91 days, he didn't wait 89 days, he called on the 90th day! Thankfully, we had been observing them and praying for them for those 90 days. Still the actual moment of Brian giving Josh his blessing was hard. Not hard because we don't love Josh, not hard because of how quickly things moved; no it was hard because this is Brian's last daughter. He just gave one daughter away less than a year ago and now he has the honor of doing it again. 

90 days does seem fast, faster than we ever thought we would be comfortable with. God likes to do things outside the box and he has given us such a peace about this, it is amazing. So I suppose in this case, not only were our kids listening to God, so were we! 

On Saturday, February 16, Abby and Josh became engaged!!!! The adventure is just beginning. The engagement will be short, but I believe their life together will be long and filled with all sorts of God-sized blessings.

Following are Abby's words about this exciting time in her life:

After Josh and I went out for coffee for the first time I knew that this guy was unlike any other. It excited me to think about getting to know him more. The night that Josh asked me out officially, I knew then that I would be more than OK with marrying this man, but I also knew I would be OK with waiting on God's timing. I had to and must continue to surrender this relationship to the Lord and trust Him to lead us and to lead Josh.
      During Christmas break Josh and I spent time apart and it was through this that I realized that I loved Josh and God truly confirmed in my heart that I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with this man. My relationship with Josh has been one God-thing after another. When he got down on one knee there wasn't a doubt in my mind that I was more than ready to say YES! God has brought Josh and I together in His perfect timing. It may seem fast to some but to those who know both of us they know we are not rushing into things but truly seeking out what God has for us. Nothing excites me more than to thinking of spending the rest of my life serving Christ with this man at my side.
    God has taught me so much through my relationship with Josh and I know He will continue to do so as we prepare for our wedding and as we begin our marriage. With Christ as our foundation I'm excited to see what lies ahead. 5 months ago I never would have thought I would be sitting here telling you that I am engaged and getting married.  I am amazed by God's faithfulness and perfect timing. He sure is full of surprises!  

Not long before the proposal...if you look closely you can see the microphone Josh was wearing for the video camera!

The card he gave her said he would love her until the last rose dies, notice the rose she is holding, it is a rose that has been dipped in will never die!!!


Monday, February 18, 2013

When your kids won't listen...

After all the changes in our family in 2012, I was looking forward to an uneventful 2013. We knew we had a college graduation coming in May, but other than that we found ourselves excited for a year of things staying steady, staying the same! Well, that plan didn't last very long at all.

It all started with our son in January and the phone call that would change so many things. The phone call that proved he was not listening to me. All he had to do was continue his course of action in college, keep getting A's by taking classes that were over my head, stay in school in Texas (where it's warmer than Minnesota). That's all he had to do. His phone call proved to me that he wasn't going to listen to me. He instead chose to go over my head and listen to God!!!

That phone call began with the words,"I think I need to change my major." This is nothing new for a college freshman to say. However, for our calculated son, this was BIG!  For quite some time Caleb was having his own little wrestling match with God. In that first week back after Christmas God won! Caleb is now beginning the process of switching majors from Forensic Chemistry to some sort of Pastoral Ministry program! I love it when my kids listen to God, and I am thrilled that all our kids are so strongly following God's leading in their lives.

A bit of stress did follow this announcement. With the change is majors, Caleb also felt called to change schools. This took awhile for my husband and I to process. Hadn't we just prayed with Caleb over where to go? Texas is far away, but we felt like we were leaving him at home last fall. How could he want to leave there? He has a huge scholarship there after all. Enter in God and prayer and time. Caleb is a calculated person, his process of praying through and deciding to transfer was an amazing one to watch. We still don't know where he will be in the fall, but God has it narrowed down to three good schools. So, once again, I have peace, my son isn't listening to my voice, he's looking higher up than me, and that has been our prayer for him all along!

Caleb will always be my baby...but I see him now as a strong man of God!!!

Following are some of Caleb's thoughts on this life altering call:

Listening sure is a difficult thing to do sometimes. I’ve always tried my best to listen and follow directions (I’m a kind of rules guy), but sometimes I’ve found it very difficult to actually listen, especially when it was listening to God’s call. I’ve always had the notion that maybe God wanted me to go into the ministry in some capacity, but the thought scared me so I put it out of my mind and found other things to fill that place. Right around the time I was most struggling with the call, I discovered my abilities in Chemistry. So I thought to myself, “This must be my way out of the call!” So I pursued Chemistry, developed a skill and passion for it, and planned out my future based on science and Chemistry. 
God has this knack of getting through to people eventually, and I’m no exception. My first semester was great, I got straight A’s and even got a job in the Chemistry department at my school without filling out an application. I thought this was God validating what I was doing, but I was thrown for a loop after Christmas. I suddenly became restless and couldn’t figure out why for the longest time. Then after my first week back at school and a series of God moments, it hit me like a ton of bricks. God wanted me in the ministry. This time the call was unmistakable and I couldn’t shake it off any longer. So after talking with my parents I made the leap of faith and changed classes to better suit a Biblical Studies major. In the course of just a little over a semester God completely changed my life and my future. 
I pulled a Jonah, I ran away from where God was calling me because I was scared of what it meant. So I ran to Chemistry, the first route out that was appealing to me. However, God used my stubbornness and running away to actually draw me to where He actually wanted me. God has the uncanny ability of doing things just like that.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Five Minute Friday...He is mine...

Today is Five Minute Friday. The rules are simple. Write for 5 minutes on one word, no editing allowed (so please forgive typos!). When you are done reading mine, go over to Lisa-Jo's blog and check out what perspective others had on this word. Today's word is BELOVED.


My beloved is mine, and I am his...Song of Solomon 2:16.
He walks in a room and I can't help but smile....this is my beloved.
He holds me when I cry and I can't help but feel safe...this is my beloved.
He prays for me daily and I feel blessed...this is my beloved.
We can sit for hours and not say a word, we are together...this is my beloved.
He cries during movies, he is sensitive...this is my beloved.
He's my favorite preacher, and he can preach it...this is my beloved.
He is patient with me, when I don't deserve it...this is my beloved.
His love for me has never wavered...this is my beloved.
His name is Brian and he is mine and I am his!!!
And this fact blesses me immensely!!!!!
The snowy Valentine he made me!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

One powerful word...

I would like to introduce some of you to a word that I believe has become extinct in some of your vocabularies. This word is one of the most powerful and freeing words in the English language. The word is no. That's! Such a small word, but such a difficult word for many of us to utilize. Many of us have given up use of this word for its companion...yes. This friends is dangerous, not only to us, but to our families, friends and even to those we are saying yes.

I have a personal philosophy that I try my best to live by. Whenever asked to do something, I always say no first! This is followed by a simple statement that I will however pray about it and get back to them. And for those of you who feel guilty saying no, let me assure no one has ever assaulted me, ministries have not come to a screeching halt due to my lack of involvement in them, and the world is not radically different as a result of this no. Now, there are exceptions to this (as with everything), times I will say yes immediately. For the big things, the things that will involve time and energy on my part, I pray about.

So, why is saying yes too often dangerous? It is dangerous for the simple reason that yes can cause us to get spread too thin, our families are not given the attention and time they need, perhaps this is not our gifting,  maybe our yes will keep someone who should be doing it from getting the blessing of serving, and ministries that are run by people who don't really want to be there will suffer.

When we were children we were good at saying no. It seems the entire year of the terrific 2's is devoted to the word no. When we were little we didn't feel guilty about saying no, if we didn't want to do something we would dig our heels in and say no! So why is it so hard for us to say no as adults, when does this change?  I believe guilt and comparison are our two worst enemies to the ability to say no.

Guilt is sometimes used as a recruiting tool. We start to feel bad that nobody is stepping up so we say yes. We often say yes without even realizing that we are already overextended, overtaxed and overtired. Then once we are involved guilt creeps back in, we then feel guilty for neglecting other things; our family, our other ministries, our sleep.

Comparison is subtle, but just as dangerous as guilt. We see someone in the church who is involved in everything and we see that we have just one area where are involved in. Soon we begin thinking this person is more spiritual than we are, so we begin to say yes. We should never compare our involvement to others' involvement. We don't answer to anyone but God for what we do. If has gifted you and given you a passion for one area of ministry, then do it! You will be serving God in the way He desires you to!

No is a powerful word, but it can be dangerous as well. Your no's are only powerful if you are also able to use the word yes. They are a pair, they need to be balanced. So say no first, but pray for God to show you when to say yes. Imagine if we all did this; the church would be full of people serving where God wants them to served. People would be leading more balanced lives, they would be joyful and those they are serving will benefit as well.

What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’  And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.  And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” 
Matthew 21:28-31

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
James 5:12 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I did it!!!

Just over three months ago I attended a prayer retreat. It was an amazing weekend that I wrote about it in a post called God Showed Up. One of the things that I felt convicted of that weekend was to get into God's Word more. I was feeling stalled in my daily Bible reading and God put a crazy idea on my heart. This idea was to read through the Bible...but not in a 90 days!! At first I pushed this idea aside, after all in 2012 my goal was just to read through the Old Testament and I stalled out on that one somewhere in the middle of Job. Then God showed me that for now I didn't have a lot of outside the house commitments, we were all unpacked and I had the time, so I took a leap and started this crazy 90 day journey. I needed accountability so I grabbed my Kindle and signed up for the 90 day reading plan on my YouVersion Bible. How odd it was for me to read in or some days listen to it on my Kindle vs in my actual Bible. I learned that for me that was needed to keep me reading through it and not camping on one section too long.  On February 2nd, I finished this intense Bible reading plan. I did it in 90 days!!!

So what did I learn from this experience? What did God teach me?

Bible reading is important. This book is a love letter that God wrote to all of us. The whole entire thing...all 66 books...1189 chapters...both Old and New Testament alike were written as a love letter! And in the past 90 days I fell in love with it all over again. I have always loved to read, I can spend hours reading. So why not spend hours in the best book ever written? Even if you don't have hours to spend reading it in 90 is important to get into that book and read it.

Study in a way that works best for me. This experience taught me how I prefer to study the Bible. I needed this 90 days of reading it so fast for God to show me that I do better when I take my time and really dive into a book or even just a passage. I have a list of books that I really want to learn more about. So I am excited to get going on that, to dig out my highlighters and mark meaningful passages for me. So I encourage you to figure out what method of study works best for you and then go for it.

Sometimes it ok to switch translations.  I have been reading the same translation for as long as I can remember. It was comfortable for is the translation I have memorized verses in...but it was time for a change. A new translation for me was like looking at the scripture with a fresh perspective. There are lots of good translations out there, its ok to check them out.

God's word is fresh every morning...just like his mercies. It seemed like everyday God's word would be new and fresh to me. I found verses almost daily that spoke to me in a new way. Sometimes it would be a verse I had read hundreds of times, but for some reason on that particular way it would convict me in a new way.

I come away from this experience refreshed and excited. God even gave me a new favorite verse. I think it fits my stage of life perfectly,  especially as my children are growing up and creating their own families and discovering all God want for their lives.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 1 John 1:4.

I also come away from this experience with a new Bible! My hubby let me get it...he's awesome like that. It is a massive study Bible, which is perfect for me right now, I have a lot of questions. Now all I have to do is get in there and make that first mark. Its so new and clean that it may take a few days for me to actually break it in!!

Isn't it pretty?!