Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
This is the tree right outside of my office window. Every summer afternoon when done taunting the dog and chasing other squirrels, this squirrel would plop down in exhaustion for her nap. I loved looking out my window and seeing this view.
She hasn't been relaxing as of late though. Instead, she's been preparing. Getting her home ready for the upcoming changes in weather that God has given her the instinct to know. Watching her makes me tired. She runs up and down the tree and always coming back with her mouth stuffed with something she found on the ground.
Her winter home is in the corner of the garage roof. There is a hole there and to get home she has to jump off the top of her resting place branch onto the top of the garage, then she rolls herself off of the edge of the shingles into the hole. It's very entertaining to watch.
Watching her getting ready for the upcoming winter has really made me think of the Proverbs 31 woman. Everyday she scurries around gathering leaves and branches in her mouth and making her home warm and protected. During the fall season she stays very busy and is never lazy like she is in the summer time. She does take time to rest, but only after she gathers what she needs for her home.
As women, whether we are married or single our home says alot about who we are. I can tell you over the computer what an organized person I am, but if you were in my home right now you would see that I would be lying. I could tell you how I keep my home spotless, yet if you were in my house looking around you'd know that housecleaning is one of my weakness'. My home speaks louder than my voice does because it truly represents me.
Are we prepared for the changes that come our way? Like the seasons change we also experience changes in our lives. Are we prepared, is our hearts prepared for anything that may be approved by God to hit us? Take a look around your home and I bet you'll have your answer.
I need to be more like how the squirrel is in the fall versus how the squirrel is in the summer. I need to prepare by consistently staying in fellowship with Jesus. I don't want to return from time with Him with emptiness, instead I need to have a mouth full of His Word, just like the squirrel returns with leaves hanging out of her mouth.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I am thrilled you have come by for a visit for YES to GOD! I just wish we were sitting in my kitchen talking face to face, but via Internet works too.
As I mentioned in my last post I am without a computer. My old school computer I believe has gone to computer heaven and we shut off our Internet service anyway to prepare for the loss of income from November-March from Gene's disability. My Dad has blessed me with access to his computer so I can still post on Tuesdays. My point of sharing this with you is if I don't stop by your blog just know that I'm not being a blog-snob, just with my limited access sometimes I only have time to post.
This week we are discussing chapters 6 & 7, so let's get started...
CHAPTER 6: COSMETICS FOR THE SOUL
Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book.
*Society has much influence over our thoughts and actions.
Society has a hold on us and it doesn't plan on letting go anytime soon.
*Satan is a liar and yet we hang on to his every word with much belief.
Satan has been lying to us for a long time, but we seem to be buying into his lies now, more than ever before.
*Our own bad choices bring guilt, shame and regret.
We have tried and failed at controlling our own destinies, only to learn in the process that with free will comes the responsibility to own the consequences of the path we choose.
Unfortunately, I have gradually fallen for all three of these points Lisa made about how we lose our identities at some point in my life.
Lisa shared the story that was all over CNN last year of Anna Nicole Smith's life and death.
Identity theft...born Vicky Lynn Hogan, died Anna Nicole Smith.
She was influenced by society, lied to by Satan, and very hurt by her choices. In a year's time she had a baby girl, lost weight, buried her son and ended her life and for what? None of her life pointed to God.
Life is short, and God wants us to be fully satisfied in Him while we are here.
I agree with Lisa that it didn't look as if Anna ever knew God when she died. Every cover up of her soul that she invited into her life was just a false and unsatisfying filling of emptiness, where if she had only invited Christ into her life she would have experienced a satisfaction that would have lasted.
In order to find full and lasting satisfaction, we have to look to the heavenly things, not the temporal things of this world. Our ultimate goal has to be to seek Him and His righteousness, above all else.
CHAPTER 7: THE FEELINGS WE CONCEAL
As women, we spend much of our lives trying to conceal things we don't want others to know about us.
We conceal our past. We keep our real agendas hidden. We mask our true feelings and cover up our sins. We just can't bear the thought of someone knowing what is really going on inside our souls, so perfectly hidden by "beautiful" things they see.
Lisa shows us the feelings we are trying our hardest to conceal from the view of others...
Insecurity~ Women are notoriously insecure over our bodies, our abilities, our mothering, our relationships with our husbands, our reputations in the church, and our standings in the community.
Insecurity is the sparks that lead to the bonfire of jealousy.
Jealousy~At some point, most of us have been the recipients or the instigators of very hurtful behavior that threatens the kindred spirit we long to have with other females.
Before my uncle got remarried, we were very close to each other. When he started dating his now wife she was very jealous of our relationship. It has gotten to the point that I can barely stand to be in the same room with her now. My uncle and I don't have much of a relationship now, which is not a loss I don't lose sleep over. His wife and I have talked about it, forgiven each other (because I too am to be blamed for some high school behavior), and I am fine with how things are between us. Because of this broken relationship though I am sometimes very guarded with women, especially Christian women.
Loneliness~We all experience times of loneliness. And we all like to pretend to others that we are completely fulfilled, totally satisfied, and doing just fine without the help of anyone else. But loneliness is an issue that touches our souls and makes us believe that we are uncared for and invisible to others.
Oh how I see this very thing being played out in my teen daughter's life. From getting pregnant again to buying a dog...all gestures of trying to fill the void in her life. If only she'd turn to her Savior.
I can hardly wait for this scene Lisa describes to unravel in my daughter's apartment...Loneliness may make the loudest noise, but it can't hinder the mighty arms of God from reaching down and picking up a broken soul who's all alone in the middle of a lonely night.
Fear~When we women fear the reactions of others to who we really are, we fear not being able to control the way they feel about us. They might not like us, if they know us. They might not hold us up in high regard or respect us. They might think we are unintelligent or incapable or not able to cope. What we really fear when we pretend to be someone we are not is rejection by others.
I have talked before about being at a Women of Faith conference with the thoughts "if these women really knew me". That type of living in fear is so crazy because it keeps you right where Satan wants you. He wants you sit in the seat of unworthiness, because he knows that as long as he can keep you quiet, shamed and withdrawn then he has stifled your testimony of God's greatness in your life and on that day...the enemy has won. Fear isn't about being afraid of the dark because you feel a loss of control, it's about being controlled by Darkness and feeling loss.
A few years into our marriage I would go shopping and I started falling for the credit card offers given at the cash registers by the teenagers behind the counter. You know the ones, "you can save 15% today if you sign up for a Kohl's card". I knew Gene didn't want us to have a bunch of debt, especially at a clothing store, but for some reason 15% sounded like a huge savings to me at the time so I'd sign up. Pretty soon my wallet was filled with a card from Old Navy, Pier 1, American Eagle, Victoria's Secret and JC Penney. I did school shopping, spring/summer/fall & winter shopping and home accessory shopping and never paid a dime for any of it...until later. Then I found myself covering up all my cards. I'd secretly pay the minimum on them, rip up any evidence and stuff down into the garbage.
Trying to get home before receiving my statements made me a major wreck, so I decided to invest in a P.O. box. What a pain that was to have to drive out of my way to check that. Then I decided to do some home improvements on my own without consulting with Gene. I cashed these checks we received from a Sears credit card, okay Gene unknowingly received in the mail and began to fix our home up. They were the cash on a credit card checks....lots of interest.
Finally, at almost 15,000 dollars later I came clean to my husband. Oh it was not pretty, but he was so sweet and forgiving. Lots of grace showed to me that day and years to come. The cards are paid off now, but what a pricey lesson to go through.
Do you see how I had the actions of Eve though? I talked myself into needing all of these things and when I ate the forbidden fruit I began to panic and look for a cover-up. The post office box was a temporary relief for me because what was out of sight was out of mind. Then the late fees piled up...oh it was such a mess!
Cover-up only leads to more choices made in desperate times. On the outside, even my husband couldn't tell the internal hell I was putting myself through. He never knew all the nights I cried myself to sleep because I had let things get so out of my control.
During those times I felt the feelings of insecurity in finances, jealousy that my friends were so honest with their spouses, loneliness as I distanced myself from my husband and fear that I would be found out. Too much to deal with. Too much cosmetics for my soul.
Again Lisagirl, you have knocked the ball out of the park, slammed dunked the basketball through the hoop, got a strike on the bowling alley and aced your serve on the tennis court. You really allowed yourself to be honestly open in this book and let God use you to speak to us. Thank you, sweet sister for surrendering all to Him. I know you'd say, "It's worth it...y'all, it's worth it". You know I love you and really thank God for bringing us together the way He has.
Okay, you know what's next...sign up under Mr. Linky if you have more about these chapters on your own blog. We are so close to ending this study and I just can't believe where God has brought us. Hopefully we won't be the same women we were when we started this study in September.
Friday, October 24, 2008
We have an elderly gentleman who lives in our neighborhood. I used to sell beauty products and the summer of '07 he purchased some foot stuff from me. This stuff that makes you have the softest feet on all of earth. You start off with this spray that breaks down any hard stuff on your feet and then you apply this thick salve. It really is great stuff. Anyway, the deal I made with this Grandpa for buying it was that I'd come do his feet once a week. At 92 years old he took me up on my offer and so our Sunday evenings began. I would go down to his house on Sunday nights and spray and rub his feet then rub the salve in and we'd just have the nicest visit. Didn't take long at all, not much of a sacrifice, but to him I had stopped the world and payed attention to only him.
Then Alivia started aksing me if she could come with me. At first she'd just visit with Grandpa and play with his dog. Then she wanted to start helping me, so she'd do a foot and I would do one. She couldn't wait for Sunday evenings.
It was pretty neat to watch the sweet interaction 86 years apart in age just talking about their day. She'd always end her visit with a kiss on the cheek for Grandpa, a doggie treat for the dog and a gum ball for her from the kitchen.
Since our granddaughter Amiyah arrived this past Spring, my visits to our neighbor have been far and very few between. About a month ago I was going to be late getting Alivia at the bus after school. While waiting for me to arrive, Miss Alivia decided to do our neighbor's feet. Then the other night I had to go over there to use the computer and Alivia again decided she wanted to do his feet. It was just such a sight to see.
So selfless. So sweet. So sincere. Such a servant.
Does it from her heart.
Does it for an audience of only One...Jesus Christ.
Servant's heart that her Mom needs to copy.
Just when my heart thought it was all filled up, she really blessed me when she looked up at the picture hanging and said, "Look Mom...that's like me."
Yes baby...you are just like Him.
Have a God-filled weekend friends!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
While staying over at their home he went to church with them and talked about what he learned for a week. It was so cool. Then he went to youth group with John a few times. He attended youth group at our church, but we've never heard him talk about what he learned or beg us to go back the following week the way he did with this group.
I asked Gene to pray about letting him go where he was feeling connected. This was tough because Gene is a youth leader in our church, but he listened to what God told him and decided two weeks ago to let Aaron attend John's youth group.
This is the leader of the youth group. His name is Justin.
Every wall and even the woodwork is covered...
This one is my favorite...
Justin knows his past and how Satan had a hold of him at one point so he surrounds himself with words from Jesus and about Jesus.
Everywhere you see Scripture, even on the doors. It's amazing. The outside of the house is even plastered with writing on the side that faces the busiest street in our city with the words painted in red:
JUST LIKE THE RIMS STILL SPIN AFTER THE CAR STOPS
WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY WHEN YOUR HEART STOPS?
What is written on the walls of your heart?
If it's not about Jesus or from the Word of God we need to get the markers out and allow Jesus to do some re-writing.
God is good ladies. He is so good.
I am so thankful for the influence Justin is having in my son's life.
When I thanked him for that last night he humbly responded:
"It's not me, it's all God."
Not a surprising answer from someone who has that God must be more and I must be less written on his living room wall.
God is really working here.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
If this is your first time here, we are discussing the awesome work, "Behind Those Eyes" written by our dear friend Lisa Whittle. Chapter 5 is where we are, but please don't let that stop you from joining us at anytime.
Our newest friend is Sheena from Malaysia! I am so bad with geography, but I'm thinkin' she isn't close to me here in Nebraska. She doesn't have a blog, but e-mailed me and said, "I grew up loving God and I pray that I will be used by Him in whatever He wants me to do". So Sheena...welcome to YES to GOD Tuesdays, we are blessed to have you with us sister!
Okay...real quick. I am not trying to be rude by not visiting your blog. I do not have a computer right now and access to one is very limited. I miss visiting you all and hope everything is okay. Please e-mail me any prayer requests and as soon as possible I will start blog hopping. I love what you all have to say.
One more thing~next week we will be combining chapters 6 & 7. I know it means a little more reading and Bible study, but Lisa feels they go hand in hand. So let's trust this wonderful author and pray God gives us some extra time over the next week to read and spend some time gettin' real. Just based on the first 5 chapters of this book, we know it will we be worth it.
Let's get started...
Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book.
Okay, I have to talk like my southern belle/friend Susan a.k.a. Runner Mom here...
I don't about y'all, but I love Lisa Whittle's writin'.
I've learned so much from her...haven't you? I haven't liked everything I've read or learned about me, but I still love the writing gift God has blessed her with!
I absolutely loved Ms. Spirituality's checklist on page 78. So embarrassed to actually be able to check some of those off. Some of the things Ms. Spirituality does are worthy causes and are certainly pleasing to God. The point is not that Ms. Spirituality does these things, rather, why she does these things. Remember, it's all in the performance, not in the act itself.
Ouch. Really made me think about the stuff I do in the name of Jesus. Am I doing them to please Him or trying to make Lelia look better? Thank God that He is the only One who can see into our hearts. Well, I don't know if that's a good thing or not because not only does He see our heart, He sees the condition of our heart.
Lisa talked of women in the Bible who displayed the fruit of the Spirit in their lives and how we do want to imitate their behaviors.
The problem comes when our performance of these characteristics takes precedence over the actual condition of our hearts.
Sooooo Lisa Whittle...what you're saying is that God actually cares about the condition of our heart? Our lip service means nothing to Him, but our motives mean everything? Oh.
Okay...so I think I've been overtaken by Ms. Spirituality whenever I blog or someone asks me how things are. It's the only explanation I can give when asked how things are and I smile and begin speaking in what Lisa calls "Christianese". I say all the things a really spiritual woman would say.
How are things with Gene's back and job?
Ms. S: Oh, we're just trusting God that He is bigger than all of this mess. God, not Pfizer is our Provider and He is going to heal Gene. Hallelujah...can I get an Amen?
In the privacy of my home...
Ms. Lelia: You know what Gene? I think we should separate. This is too much stress for me. How are we going to survive with no income from Pfizer from November until March? What if you're back never heals?
How are you doing with your teenage daughter being pregnant for the 2nd time in a year?
Ms. S: Oh, you know it's been tough, but this is no surprise to God. I trust Him with her completely and am just trying to shower her with grace everyday with God's help. It's going to be okay and I just believe that only God can pierce her hardened heart and teach her to make better choices. Let me quote Jeremiah 29:11 for you...
In the privacy of my own heart...
Ms. Lelia: I'm embarrassed. I'm mad. I don't even know the due date so don't ask. Will I love this baby as much as I love Amiyah...yes,, of course I will and do already, but how could Alyssa be so stinkin' selfish? Will I ever get through to this child? How will I get her to make better choices?
Lisa speaks some truth to us here:
When people are all dressed up on Sunday morning, none of us can see what is really going on inside their souls.
We get to church and Ms. Perfection walks us up to the house of God. Ms. Confidence greets everyone in the foyer and finds the perfect chair or pew to sit down in. During worship Ms. Happiness raises and praises while Ms. Spirituality takes notes and talks in her foreign language after service until she gets back to her car. So tiring sisters...just plain exhausting aren't we?
We go through the motions and leave the house of God with nobody knowing that inside of us we are just an absolute mess. If we can't be real in God's house where the heck can we face reality?
In the church there are a lot of people who are playing the role of super spiritual Christian who could possibly not even be one. Sounds harsh, I know, but the truth is that you can't tell the soul of a person by the shell she wears.
Oh Lisa girl. We'll just have to start callin' you "Tell it like it is Lisa".
The power of an honest Christian, struggling as he or she may be in life, can break down some of the emotional walls people construct out of fear of rejection by sharing their own personal truth.
I bet sometimes God just laughs at us on how much effort we put into trying to fine tune our walk with Him. I'm sure we over-complicate everything.
Though we seek it, our lack of spiritual perfection may be the best thing in the world for us since it reminds us that we are absolutely nothing like Christ.
I loved the quote Lisa shared with us from Ravi Zacharias...
"It is not about a ritual; it is about relationship...It is not about the times of the day; it is about the timelessness of His presence. It is not about appeasing God; it is about resting in His provision."
Oh girls...this chapter just really hit me.
It is about much, much more than the number of women's conferences attended per year. True spirituality is about the awesome power of God showing up in a person's life to the point that people around her notice a difference.
I hope God lets me live to be 127 years old like He did Abraham's wife Sarah...I think by then I'll be really genuinely spiritual.
Okay...if you have more to share on your own blog then sign up under Mr. Linky.
Have a great week ladies and let's continue learning how to be real! It's not easy, but anything to get us closer to Jesus is worth the pain; for He is quite the gain.
DON'T FORGET...next week read chapters 6 & 7!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Our 7 year old Alivia E'Lise is something else.
She has always had this passion for prayer and for Jesus.
What she understands of Him she loves and adores. The cool part is that to a point she imitates her Dad and I. I've always loved it when during church I've noticed if our hands our in the air, then her small hands raise in praise. She used to just do what we did, but it's becoming more her.
She has always had a boldness about her that I envy and desire. At times I've felt such an awe of how God could touch someone so small and it's so genuine.
She's come home from school and said, "Mom, I taught so and so my favorite song "No Weapon" today during recess. The picture of elementary kids singing in unison that "no weapon formed against them can prosper" I bet just did Satan in. Instead of calling each other names and hurting each other's feelings they were being taught worship songs.
She'd come home and inform me of which teachers and classmates of hers believed in Jesus and go to church. She'd be talking about something that happened in her day and she'd add, "Oh and Mom, they're a Christian." When I asked her how she knew all of this her answer was simple, "Because I asked them". If they said"no" they didn't go to church and didn't know who Jesus is then you know by the time that bell rang at the end of the day that they went home with an introduction to their Creator and a verbal invitation to attend church with her.
A few years ago when she was just 5 my Mom and I took all the kids up to Omaha to watch my oldest daughter's high school boys basketball team play in Districts for State. Our close family friends, the Harris' son Preston played for them and during the game he began to experience some health issues.
The ambulance was called and took him to the hospital. When they left we left too. So there we sat in the waiting room of the hospital's ER room. There was about 20 of us that filled almost every chair available.
When they took Preston back to do some x-rays, Alivia noticed this little boy who looked very sick resting on his Daddy's lap. Instant compassion filled my girls heart and she came up to me and said she wanted to pray. Okay I said, let's pray for him. No she said.
She didn't want to just pray with me. That wasn't good enough for her. She insisted that everyone join together in a circle, hold hands and lift this child up to the Jesus that she undeniably believed could do the healing this little guy needed. I didn't want to cause a scene, so I told her that was sweet, but let's just pray together or with Grandma. She would not listen. With tears in her dark brown eyes she said, "Mom we need to pray for this little boy".
She approached Preston's Dad, John and asked him to gather everyone together because she wanted us to pray. He just looked at my Mom and smiled "she is something else". He then called all 20+ of us together and told them what this 5 year old child wanted us to do.
She was too shy to pray so she asked Mr. Harris if he would do it. It was awesome! Tears were in all the adults eyes as we stood holding hands with Preston's friends praying over him and the little boy.
Another time at a summer basketball game of Alyssa's, one of her teammates hurt her ankle. Alivia began tapping me on my arm, "Momma, let's go pray for her". Getting frustrated with her plea to go pray, I finally hushed her urgent request. I mean, c'mon, the gym was crowded and we would have had to walk in front of many people. There wasn't any room to do it. I told her to just go ahead and pray for the girl.
I have to wonder how close my child has paid attention to me.
Have I taught her that being bold for Christ is embarrassing?
People might look.
People might talk.
I know my girl has been taught something I never intended on teaching her from a conversation we had last week.
She said something about what her and her friend were talking about on the playground. Surprised that there was no mention of sharing Jesus with her friend,I asked her if she still taught her friends songs about Jesus. The look she gave me made my heart just drop. "No Mom. I don't do that anymore."
The playground used to be Alivia's missions field for teaching, preaching and sharing her first Love.
"Why not Liv?"
"Because, it's embarrassing talking about Jesus and I don't want my friends to think I'm weird".
I told her how sad that must make Jesus' heart, but I didn't get on her too much about it. How could I? I had taught her this. Me. Her own Mother had taught her that we don't pray over someone in public who is crying out in pain because it would inconvenience us and might make people feel uncomfortable. We don't make a spectacle in a hospital waiting room and stand in a circle and bow our heads. Instead, we silently pray for those hurting to save ourselves any embarrassment. She took what she saw in me and adapted it into her own world and now we don't talk or sing about Jesus on the playground. Instead, we run, laugh, slide and sometimes fight, but leave Jesus at home. Just like Satan likes it.
OH Lord. I'm so sorry. What a pathetic example I've been. I have taught her how to keep Jesus quiet.
What a wake up call I didn't see coming.
Asking Jesus into your life makes you instantly different.
He's hard to keep contained if you are seeking Him with your everything. He's not One you want to keep to yourself when you are loving Him with all your mind, soul, body and spirit.
He's One you share about in the privacy of your own home and in public places.
He's One that when you see someone hurting you offer them prayer.
Right there on the spot. Out loud.
He's One to never be ashamed about.
He's One worth being bold about.
I want my daughter to be bold but if she doesn't see it in me what hope does she have? Who is encouraging her when she sees that I'd rather sit on the sideline watching Alyssa's team mate cry over her ankle rather than show her I care and that Jesus cares.
That same young girl just found out she is pregnant.
Would a prayer on a sideline have made an impact and made a difference in her life so much that her choices would have been for Him?
I'll never know.
Now please don't tell me I'm being too hard on myself. I have to be right now. I mean, I say on this blog that I want to live my life for Jesus. I say that to my kids when I'm at home, but then I go out in the world and I want to keep Him as my secret pal.
If what I say is true and I want my hearts' desires to be played out then I can't continue on the way I have been. I'm not talking about carrying my Bible around screaming at people that if they don't have Jesus they're going to burn forever. I'm talking rising up to meet Jesus when He puts it on a child's heart to go and pray. Saying YES to GOD everyday.
Having a heart for Jesus that beats the same at home and in public.
That's what I'm talking about.
I want to be like my 7 year old was last year when I grow up. I have to be. She needs to see a change in her Mom. A change that will show her how her Mom's talk matches the DNA of her walk. It's easy to be fired up about living for Jesus at the comfort of my computer, the tough part is living for Him outside of the walls of my home.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Over the years Bob has been innocently called George while George looked like a Keith to Gene so that's what he called him. I have tried helping him with memory games, but now if someone we know is approaching us I become a ventriloquist and start mumbling their name to my honey as he repeats it "Joe Joe Joe" until he reaches the person and greets them by name.
I am his helper. God told me so. One of my jobs is to make him look good so that the people we know will be called by their birth name.
Well, last night I was looking over some paperwork he was to fill out for the doctor appointment he had this morning. I gasped out loud and then marched myself into our bedroom.
"Gene, what's my name?"
"My name, what is it?"
"How do you spell it?"
Looking confused he said, "L e i l a."
He answered with the same confidence he had the day he called Andy the landlord Bruce. I recognized it immediately.
"No Gene. L e l i a."
He started laughing and buried his head in his pillow.
"Ten years Gene. Ten years of marriage and you've known me for almost twenty years and you don't know how to spell my name???
You know I'm blogging about this."
"Honey wait...it was an honest mistake."
I returned to the kitchen and corrected the spelling error laughing.
Then I noticed it and all laughter ceased.
He not only misspelled his helper from God's name once, but twice ladies! Uno...dos!
I returned to the bedroom. "An honest mistake Gene Chealey is ordering chocolate ice cream when your wife likes vanilla. Misspelling her name twice on one sheet after being with her for almost 20 years...that's just not cool."
I think he called me picky. It's not like I want him to remember my favorite perfume, it's the spelling of my name for goodness sakes!
Oh well, at least he didn't write Mona or Nancy in the blanks. My grace stick probably would have been a lot shorter if he had! Plus I'm thankful that he got my last name correct.
Oh Gene Chealey...gotta love my guy.
Leila hearts Jean.
For Christmas I'm getting him a tattoo so he can be just like Jesus!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Miss Lisa closed out our chapter with nothing but the truth...
Lisa encouraged us to memorize one of the verses on pages 72-73, here is the one I chose...
Friday, October 10, 2008
My reasons are there is ugly stuff in my past. So ugly sometimes I can't believe I lived that life. Ugliness I just want to take to the grave with me. Looking at someone you just can't tell what is going on inside of them. We may have a teenager that comes from the best family, goes to youth group, excels in sports and has the brightest future within her grasp, but inside where only God has a bird's eye view is an absolute mess.
She may feel empty, so she looks to whatever is willing to fill her up. She thinks her emptiness is the longing for attention from a guy and so begins a life of momentary satisfaction. A life that longs to be saved from herself. A self that allows her morals and beliefs to be shoved to the side to get what she thinks she needs and wants only to be left with much remorse to deal with.
So in order to not reveal this ugly side about her, she masters how to make things look good on the outside. She smiles and laughs. The Christian girl in her has been trained to carry her Bible into the church and listen to the message and if she doesn't have a hangover, take notes.
When she becomes an adult, she attends conferences with other believers and lifts her hands in worship like they do. Her own thoughts keep her from trusting anyone she is surrounded by because she is convinced that if they really knew her they too would feel disgust like she does for the woman she sees in the mirror.
A life filled with choices that are followed by consequences that want to literally kill, steal and destroy her and at times she wished they would. She wants to live right, but there is such a strong pull to the other side that eventually she just gave in. Over and over again. When will the madness end?
As she grows closer to God she knows He is more powerful than her enemy. She learns how to stay in God's Word every day. She now watches the enemy go after her own kids as a fierceness rises within her that she didn't know she had. She is sick and tired of what the enemy has stolen from her even though sometimes she handed herself to him without a fight. She is regretful of what the enemy has killed in her life. And she is fed up with what he is destroying in this present day.
So does she keep pretending and working hard on making things in her life appear to be real or does she surrender in defeat of herself to the Almighty One? I want to be real before God all the time. Every day and every second of my life. I can't fool Him, for He sees me for what I am and undeniably still loves me. I know I'm not worthy of the sacrifice of any one's child, but for some crazy reason God thinks differently. I know that day on Calvary my face and name crossed the heart of Jesus Christ and He let me know of my worth by hanging there until the finish.
Instead of being used for satisfaction I am being used for the Kingdom.
Instead of labeling myself as a slut I call myself His Princess.
Instead of feeling ashamed I feel His glory wrap around me.
So this year alone God has taught me that He wants me to say YES to Him with no hesitation. He gave me Lysa TerKeurst's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" as my guide. Then He wanted me to learn about having faith in Him all of the time and gave me another of Lysa's incredible writings, "What Happens When Women Walk in Faith" to show me the steps to take to live that faith filled life He wants me to live.
Perhaps this is why my friend Amy Brooke's blog is titled "God's Work in Progress", because He isn't done with me. Now He wants me to learn how to be real with Him and so He gave me "Behind Those Eyes" by Lisa Whittle.
Years ago I was in severe pain. Two of my wisdom teeth were impacted which means my teeth were completely covered with swollen gum tissue something that required the dentist to cut my gums away in order to pull my teeth out. I was out on my own and didn't have insurance at the time so I took the pain as long as I could handle it. My Mom took me to her dentist and within a few days I was back to normal and my mouth felt great. The thing is that on the outside, I looked fine. Glancing at me, you couldn't make a correct assessment of why I was in pain. Even if I opened my mouth, you couldn't tell because the gums covered my teeth completely.
On the outside all looked well and healthy, but on the inside I was experiencing excruciating pain. It took coming to the reality that I couldn't handle the pain anymore and allowing the dentist to do oral surgery.
Sometimes ladies, we just need to be real with ourselves and surrender to the Great Physician. Don't tell Him how to do it, just trust in Him and let Him do what He does best to fix the mess within.
Let's learn to become real with Him and live the life He wants us to live. A faith-filled, no hesitation, real life that is all about Him.
Click here to visit the author, Lisa Whittle. I haven't read her post yet, but she said she had something God gave her for the Yes to God study girls. Go visit her even if you aren't doing the study for God just may have a Word for you too.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Gene, what did you tell Alivia on your walk about Alyssa? Did you tell her that Alyssa had sex????
What? No! I told her that Alyssa is going to have another baby by Jerrell and that she was not doing it the way God wants her to. I told her that you should be married first before having a baby.
Comes running in the house after her daily walk with her Daddy with a smile from ear to ear...
MOM!! Guess what??!!??
Alyssa is going to have another baby!!
I know honey, who told you?
Oh, and Mom, she did it with Jerrell.
Oh. Did what Liv?
Naughty stuff that only married people should do.
Uh huh, like what stuff?
I can't say.
You can tell me, I'm your Mom.
Hides behind the couch pillow and whispers....sex.
Okay...what is sex?
Well, it's a little more than that and it's not naughty if you're married like Daddy and I are.
I know, but Alyssa...she's naughty cuz she did it with Jerrell again.
Hannah Montana captures her attention.
Not sure where she learned the "S" word, but you know I almost panicked at the thought of having that talk with my 7 year old child. Lord knows, I do not need anything else added to my life, so for now I'm totally okay with her thinking she's going to be with child if a boy locks lips with her during recess.
I think I'll tell her if she doesn't keep her room clean she'll get boobs.
Big ones...bigger than her head.
Keeping my fingers crossed it works.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Oh what a time it has been since we last met to discuss this awesome book by Lisa Whittle called "Behind Those Eyes" .
I apologize for being so late.
This morning I had to accompany my husband to meet with his surgeon in Omaha which is an hour drive away. Then this afternoon when we finally got home I had to go pick up our son. Then, when I finally was able to get on the computer to post, the computer problem I thought was fixed is still a problem. So, I came over to my parents' home to use my Dad's computer.
Whew! Was that enough excuses? If not, did I mention that my teenage daughter is pregnant..again???
Oh, yes, I did already tell you that last Thursday. Oh well, I tried.
Ms. Perfection is in the bathroom having a meltdown blubbering something about "I wanted to have the YES to GOD post up and running by 12:01am so the early birds could link their blogs..." while Ms. Confidence is at the door trying to reassure her that blog world did not fall apart because she is posting at 5pm instead. I should've read ahead to chapter 5 so Ms. Spirituality could be praying over the two of them.
Anyway...I'm glad you're here. Shoot, I'm glad I'm here.
Let's get started.
Remember, anything in blue is a quote from the book.
CHAPTER 3: MS. CONFIDENCE
I really enjoyed the story of the woman that Lisa and her friend met with and how the story ended. It would've been so easy for Lisa and her friend to just walk away from this woman, but their response to her was so Jesus. This woman displayed confidence from head to toe. She did it for as long as she could stand, then crumbled in a mess of tears and showed the side of her that needed these women to embrace her and pray for her and these two women of God did just that.
What do we expect a confident woman to do? Wear a big neon sign that says, I Need People?
Ms. Confidence, and those under her tutelage, would not get caught dead wearing a sign like that for fear of blowing their confident cover.
We choose to portray a confident woman with it all together in order to save ourselves the pain that might come with people seeing our vulnerabilities.
I got a lot out of the section titled "TRUE CONFIDENCE".
Confidence is not something merely worn.
Confidence can't be layered on with our clothes for the day, and it can't be taken off or removed by anyone else when it is truly present.
Lisa pointed out to us that we were not created to live in a completely self-reliant state.
We need to be completely attached to Jesus to make it day by day in this life.
We have to be.
True confidence come from only one Source-and it cannot be bought, sold, put on, or manufactured.
I loved the poem she included, especially this section:
A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face...
But a woman of strength wears grace.
A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
Oh,that's what I'm believing in this journey me and my family are on at the present moment. I believe that the grace I choose to extend to my daughter and the faith I have in every step of this journey will make me stronger. My confidence, faith and focus has got to be on Him and Him alone.
Jesus gives us the answers to every spiritual dilemma, and confidence is no different.
Last Thursday when I shared with you how our teenage daughter Alyssa is pregnant again, I had included a a verse in 2 Corinthians that I had never read before in this particular version (The Message). Sunday when I was reading my chapter, out loud, I said "wow" when Lisa had the same version of the verse on page 54...
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
I always think when I read something back to back or hear a message over and over God is trying to tell me something.
I got it.
I need to stay out of His way, put my confidence in Him, because in my weakness His strength will come into its own!
Oh, I just love that promise!
I loved how Lisa closed out the chapter with what she termed new definitions for the buzzwords for Ms. Confidence. I'll just share my favorite one...
Emotionally Healthy: The desire to please only one source--that is, Jesus Christ; the opinion of anyone else pales in comparison to what He thinks of us.
You know what ladies? This past few days my emotions have been really up and they have been really down. I have felt proud of my daughter for not even considering an abortion to really embarrassed that she wasn't using birth or self control. I have cried then laughed, yelled then unable to speak and have felt joy turn to deep sorrow. I have been angry with her, myself, my husband, the guy, God, but especially Satan. I have asked forgiveness of God, my husband and myself. I have wanted to tear her apart and love on her all in the same day. I have felt compassion and fury back to back. So much that I just feel like walking away. I don't want this. Then I read about Ms. Confidence. I feel none of her right now. Our family looks like a mess. What do I have to be confident about?
I have God to be confident in and about.
Despite all the craziness swirling about me I can be confident in God.
When Pfizer tells us after November 10th you won't get another check from us until March 2009 I can rest in the confidence that GOD not Pfizer is our Provider!
When my daughter's impersonated confidence crumbles and fades away, which it will, I put my confidence in the God who is her Savior and instead of kicking her when she's down, I remind her how much He loves her and is crazy for her.
Confidence in a King is amazing.
Last night I wanted to just leave. Too much pressure for me, but then Lisa's words of not being made to be self-reliant came back to me.
I was never created to handle all of this on my own. Never. I don't have the shoulder's of a King. These burdens are His to handle, not mine and in Him I put my full confidence. It's going to be okay and right now He is forming my 2nd grandchild in my teenage daughter's womb. Breathtaking that He is creating as I type and breathtaking that she'll have two kids at age 19.
Oh Lord. Oh Lord.
Please answer this challenge question in the comments whether you are reading the book or not:
Is it hard for you to admit your vulnerabilities to others? To God?
Remember...if you have more to say on your own blog then sign up under Mr. Linky so we can visit you. HEATHER PRESSLEY: Your blog is set as private. E-mail me if you need help undoing this. We'd love to read what you post, but can't.
You all are such a blessing. I wish we could just have one big slumber party.
Oh, let's do it!!
Friday night at Lisa Whittle's house!!
Wear your PJ's and I'll bring the popcorn!
Next week: Chapter 4: Ms. Happiness. Oh boy...
Monday, October 6, 2008
This weekend was full of emotions over the news that my teen daughter who just gave birth on April 9th is pregnant again.
I'm frustrated at her selfishness.
Why can my teen have babies with a guy that doesn't care about her or the baby she has now while there are couples out there praying with much desire for a little one of their own with no success?
I'm sad and mad all in the same breath.
I am furious with the bold role disobedience is playing in her life.
I don't know what she is thinking and get tired of trying to figure her out.
This is what I know in this moment of time.
There is no act of sin that my pregnant again teenage daughter can commit that will make her Savior turn His back on her. Nothing.
She may choose to let sin separate her from God and grieve His heart at the moment, but it does not make the love He has for her fade.
This morning I listened to my son Aaron's favorite song by Marvin Sapp called "Praise Him in Advance". These words really struck me:
I’ve had my share of ups and downs, times when there was no one around, God came and spoke these words to me, praise will confuse the enemy.
Praise will confuse the enemy.
The enemy expects for Gene and I to fight. Which we have.
He wants me to lash out at her. Which I did, but with much reserve.
He wants us to feel hopeless. I have felt that in the dark of the night.
The prince of Darkness has much hopeful expectation of defeat for all of us who have Jesus Christ in our life.
So what if we don't play by his rules?
What if instead we choose to praise?
What if we choose to praise the God that was not taken by surprise of what His lost daughter has done now.
What if instead of fighting, Gene and I hold hands and offer praise to Him?
What if we choose to praise God in advance for what He is going to do in our daughter's life?
This song by John Waller really gave me an incredible picture of my daughter being embraced by her King again. I can't wait for that day! Her self esteem is low right now and she may feel like she is too far gone for Jesus to welcome her back, but any of us who have ever been in a pit knows this is a lie from the enemy. I pray that the grip Satan has on her thought life will be released and she will go running back into the open, waiting arms of Jesus Christ!
Thank you again for all of your love, support and prayers.