Thursday, October 24, 2013

Five Minute Friday....My favorite place...

Today is Five Minute Friday. Five minutes...one word...no editing...lots of fun. The word for today is TOGETHER.

GO:

It hangs on my family room wall. I don't have to look at it to know what it says, because what it says is the song of my heart for this man. Together is our favorite place to be. Of anywhere I could choose to be at any given moment, together with my man is where I would chose.


As the years have clipped by and as our relationship has matured, beside him remains my favorite place. It is ironic that as I write this he is out of town. I look over beside me and his spot is empty. We are not physically together, but yet we are together. God does an amazing thing in marriage, two become one. This man and I are together, we are one. We don't need to be in the same room to enjoy that oneness. So for now, I will look at my wall hanging (which he bought for me) and smile because we are walking this life side by side and that is my favorite place to be...next to Brian walking the path God is leading us down.





you can't avoid the trench...

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds...
James 1:2

Notice what this verse says about trials, it does not say IF you meet trials, it says WHEN. Trials are a part of life, they are not a fun part of life, but they are a part of it.

I have been thinking about trials quite a bit. I spent several hours alone in my car this past weekend and as a result I had lots of thinking time. As I was pondering trials, God gave me a word picture from an unlikely source...Finding Nemo. The majority of the movie deals with the trial of Nemo's dad trying to find Nemo (hence the name). Just as Nemo's dad and his new found friend Dory set out to swim to Sydney, Dori is given some advice about how to navigate the way. She is told NOT to swim above the trench, but rather to swim through it. 






The easy way appears to be avoiding the trench completely and swimming closer to the surface. Marlin and Dory soon find out that there are some major obstacles in the "easy way". There is not just one baby jellyfish waiting to sting them, there are thousands of them. They discover that there not an easy way out and it would have been best for them to keep swimming through the trench. 

As life throws trials at us, we need to remember this scene. We are tempted to look for the "easy way" out of trials, we want to skip some of the steps of grief, we ignore the pain, or we try to fill our emptiness with something else. Avoiding the trench will only cause pain of a different kind, that trench could very well be the only way to find growth. 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
 I Peter 5:10

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
 John 16:33

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12 


Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 
James 1:12

Trials are tough, they are something we will all face in our lives. God knows it is hard, that is why He has promised to walk with us. He will give us the strength to walk through them and He has given us assurance that we will get through them! The Bible is full of God's promises to us. 

If you are in the midst of a trial right now, cry out to Jesus. Tell Him its hard, ask Him to help you, rest in His arms. Don't look for the easy way out, look to Jesus to carry you through. I don't promise it will be easy; but He will be there every step of the way!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Some random things I learned at Women of Faith this year....

Last weekend I was able to attend Women of Faith. It was an awesome time connecting with God. It was an awesome time connecting with 10,000 of my closest female friends! After two days, I managed to pick up some things that I believe will be of value to you.


*When you get there early, you have plenty of room to shop and relax in your seat, because once everyone shows up your personal space is limited.  
If you are a late person, this is what it looks like when you arrive as the gates open.


*Patsy Clairmont was speaking and casually mentioned something she had shared in an interview on marriage. Basically if you and your husband are fighting, the best way to neutralize it is to get naked. (Let me know if it works!)

*Anita Renfroe is hilarious and says it like it is. Ladies as you get older and have a hard time losing weight, she says if you can't lose it decorate it. So go out and buy some tops with bling on them!

*If you buy a smoothie as a way of avoiding the mini donuts, be sure and get the smoothie size with a lid. If you don't and you put it in your cup holder chances are high that the girl with super long hair in front of you is going to get her hair in that $10 smoothie!

Smoothie before the whole hair incident!


*If you aren't touchy feely this is not the place for you. Before the first speaker even hit the stage we had held hands, hugged, and massaged the ladies next to us, whether we knew them or not!

*When leaving and you tuck your phone in your sweater pocket...be careful. Sometimes those sweaters like to hang down and get shut in your car door...taking your phone out of commission at the same time. This is important to remember if your phone is your GPS and only source of finding your hotel in the dark!

*It is possible to attend this event and not text, facebook, instagram, or check the time every five minutes. In fact believe it or not, it makes it easier to actually pay attention!

*Odds are great that you will lock yourself out of your hotel room...in a swimming suit and a wedding party will arrive just as you reach the front desk in this swimming suit! Good thing I got a cute suit...one that decorates what I can't lose!!

*If you go to Women of Faith or any conference with the right attitude, God can and will work on your heart through the worship, the speakers, the ladies you sit by, random people you meet from Canada, you name it and God can use it! He will comfort a hurting heart, He will give you the gift of laughter, you will get hugs when you need them most, tears will fall and nobody will stare at you, He will challenge you to grow and to step outside your comfort zone.

*If you are unable to attend Women of Faith, God can and will still show up in your daily life! He's just that awesome! So let Him in!!!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sweet Faith




 

Mat Kearney has a song called Closer to Love. It's a great song, one of those that I turn up and sing along to in the car. However, I don't know how much I really thought about the lyrics until last Wednesday. There is a line in the song that says I guess, we're all one phone call from our knees. On that Wednesday my sweet Abby texted me that she was going to the doctor, something wasn't quite right with the pregnancy. In that moment, I truly dropped to my knees.

When our children are little, it is so much easier to help them with their problems. Sometimes all they need is for their boo boo to be kissed and all is well. This was not one of those times, I couldn't fix this problem with a kiss or a hug. All I could do in that moment was pray and be thankful for the strong faith my daughter and son-in-law possess.


This is what Abby posted on Facebook a few days later. Her words best describe all that happened last week.

Throughout the past year “live by faith, one day at a time” is a phrase that God has continually brought me back to in the midst of all the changes. This was true for Josh and I this past week. On Wednesday we found out that we aren’t going to be meeting our baby on this side of heaven. It hurts more than words can say but Josh and I continue to live by faith and trust God in the midst of this loss. While we didn’t find out the gender of our baby we both felt as though it was a girl. We decided to name her Faith to remind us of the truth that we don’t understand this at all but we will continue to “live by faith, one day at a time.” We ask you to pray for us as we grieve the loss of our baby Faith. Our hearts are hurting but we rest in knowing that she is safe in the arms of her Heavenly Father and look forward to meeting her in heaven.


Please keep these two in your prayers as they both work through their grief
 and live faith one day at a time.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Scripture and a Snapshot

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.  
 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23


Saturday, October 12, 2013

39,484,800 seconds...but who's counting??

39,484,800 seconds
658,080 minutes
10,968 hours
457 days  
1 year, 3 months

Time flies when you are having fun! It is so hard to believe that Brian and I have lived in Minnesota for 15 months. In the past week I have been reflecting a lot on our time here in Roseau. I love how God works, and it is so fun pausing to reflect on how He is in fact working. 

July of 2012 was such a month of ups and downs. We knew without a doubt that we were moving exactly where God wanted us. This knowledge might have helped take some of the sting out of the goodbyes we face, but they were still hard. Iowa was our home, we had deep roots there and pulling them up hurt. 

I looked ahead to our move with some excitement and some anticipation. What did God have in store for me? My life was changing in so many ways, I felt at times my identity was being attacked. No longer would I have the exact same ministry, no longer would the same faces greet me at church, no longer would I be homeschooling a child (empty nest came at the same time as the move), no longer would I be wearing red and black and cheering on the Bulldogs, and no longer would any of my children be on the court for me to cheer on. It was just a lot of change. 

Thankfully God and I had spent lots of time together before the move. He and I talked through some of this change. I knew going in that there would be some tough times, I knew that there would be tears. That did help some as I plunged ahead into a tough year. 

 Before I continue, you need to know that the year also had many, many highlights. We had a wedding, two announcements of grandbabies, our son transferred up north to go to school, Brian and I celebrated 25 years of marriage, our new church family has truly become our family and there are  more things than I can even mention. 

The tough part was more internal, more heart issues that God and I had to work through. I needed time to grieve what I left behind. I intentional said to no to opportunities that I would have jumped on before. I saw this move as God's way of changing my ministry focus. I saw this new town and new church as a way to discover if God wanted something different from me. I did however say yes to a few ministry opportunities, but only after much prayer. I am so glad I did! It turns out those two little yes answers are changing my world and my focus and my heart. 

When our children were home I saw them as my main ministry. I invested in them with gusto. We only have our kids for a such short time that I wanted them to be prepared for life after high school. During that time my ministry focus outside the home was techy type stuff, I LOVED what I did. Being an introvert, I found it easy to be a behind the scenes girl. 

Now my children are grown. My ministry to them still exists, but it is not hands on. It is more prayer support, which I count as such a privilege. However, God is showing me that He still wants me to have a hands on ministry with actual people. (not just with a computer!). Enter in those two times I said yes last year, and you have my new ministry focus. The fact that this ministry leaves me refreshed and energized is how I know that God is in it, and much to my surprise some of the things that energized me in the past now drain me. (Isn't it fun how God works.)

What is this ministry that has me so excited? It is simply called Play and Pray. Young moms come to my house to pray and fellowship, their kids go to our church to play. I love the discussion times with these women, they are so authentic. God has given me a love for these young moms, and I am so excited to see how God works! I love praying with and for these woman. I count it an honor to come beside them and encourage them as they focus on their ministry of motherhood!

For 39,484,800 seconds I have been looking for my next behind the scenes ministry and God was tricky. He pulled out from behind a computer to my own living room filled with moms(and a few babies) and said here, this is what I want from you. Invest in them!! Now to pray I can do just that!!!





Friday, October 11, 2013

Five Minute Friday...just a mom????

Today is Five Minute Friday.  One word, five minutes, no editing. Today's word is Ordinary.

 go:


There she stands in a room full of new people. She is making polite conversation and then that one question she dreads comes up. What do you do? She shifts her eyes downward and simply states, "I'm just a mom." Inside she feels inadequate, like she has nothing exciting to offer as an answer. She feels ordinary, frumpy, alone and yes even judged.

Oh mom, if that is how you feel then you are selling yourself way too short. You are not just a mom. You are the original superhero!You amaze your kids with your knowledge, to them you are 10 feet tall. The task of childbirth alone is a Herculean feat...and that is just the beginning. You are in charge of the next generation. God has entrusted you with these precious little faces. He doesn't see you as ordinary, He sees you as special! I could list all the chores and activities you do in a day, but I only have 5 minutes! You are more than all those chores anyway, you are on the front-lines, so much of what you do for your kids can't be measured anyway. No you are not just a mom...you are blessed, you are extraordinary!!!!

"Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."  
Proverbs 31:29


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Let us be more diligent...

I feel like by now I have gotten to know my readers pretty well. I would say the majority of you own a Bible, or two or ten. In fact, I would imagine the idea of not having a Bible is hard to conceive. I mean they are in most every hotel, every bookstore, every church, and most of our bookcases. A few years ago I published a picture of some of the Bibles that reside in my home, this picture doesn't even represent all of them, at last count we had at least 30 Bibles! And in the past year both my husband and I have purchased at least 3 or 4 more. Amazing isn't it!


This past weekend our church had a mission's conference. One of our speakers was a young woman getting ready to out with Wycliffe Bible Translators. She presented some facts that blew my mind. There are around 7000 different languages spoken in the world today. Of those 7000, there are approximately 2000 languages that have no scripture at all...not even one verse. Imagine, all those people who have never heard the amazing truth contained in the Bible.

This list represents all the languages that do not have the Bible. Went the whole length of our church.

This is why we need to be diligent. We need to pray. We need to first of all ask God to send more workers to translate the Bible for these people; perhaps God will reveal to you that you are called to go! Perhaps God isn't calling you to go, but instead to give of your resources to help those that are called to go, if so then give! We need to pray that God's word will get into the hands of all people, all nations and all languages. If not us...then who???


After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
Revelation 7:9

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pastor Appreciation Month

I love getting to see how things work behind the scenes. That kind of thing just intrigues me. I love going on factory tours, we just visited Mt Rushmore yet again and I'm still fascinated with how that thing was built; I just can't get enough of understanding how things work. So, its kind of fun that I get to see behind the scenes in the life of a pastor everyday! Seeing how my husband operates is an endeavor that leaves me baffled, fascinated, amused, appreciative, and most importantly in prayer for him.

Brian has gotten all sorts of questions related to what does a pastor really do. There are lots of people who think Sunday morning is the only hour he works. There are people who see that his hands are not calloused and think he doesn't really work. There are people who think his life must be perfect because he is a pastor. I can assure that he does in fact work more than one hour a week, he isn't afraid of hard work, and as much as I love him I will admit that he is not perfect.

Over the years he has had many side jobs to help support his family. He has worked the midnight shift at UPS and Walmart, he's delivered papers, he's cleaned toilets, he has shoveled snow, and the list could go on. He is not afraid of hard work and getting dirty. Not everyone knew he had these extra jobs, but I did and they made it possible for me to stay home and love on our children! 

My husband has been gifted with a heart for people, he loves being around them, he loves serving them, and he loves talking with them. He is a very gifted man who I am sure could have excelled in any profession he pursued, but I honestly can't imagine him in any other role. He did not pursue the pastorate, God pursued him and he simply answered the call!

So, behind the scenes Brian is an ordinary man. He goes to the office everyday not knowing just what God is going to put before him. There are days he spends much of his time just being with people, there are days he spends much of him time planning and dreaming, there days he spends much of his time studying the Bible and seeking God's direction, and just like all of us there are days that don't go so well. Basically he's an ordinary man who is available and what a joy it has been to watch God use him in extraordinary ways.

Brian, in case I don't say this enough(and I know I don't)...I APPRECIATE YOU!!!!

My man in action...