Thursday, May 28, 2009

Learning to Breathe

Yesterday our 19 year old daughter Alyssa had a doctor's appointment. She had an ultrasound done to see how the baby is doing. Alyssa is due on June 7th

She called me after the appointment and said, "Oh, Mom you should see it. It's so cute! The doctor said everything looks good and that it was working on its breathing." 

I don't know why, but that just kept coming to my mind throughout the day. 
Probably because at 38 years old I am still working on my breathing. 
Trying to breathe in the breath of my Creator. Trying to do life His way instead of my clumsy way. 

When I feel overwhelmed with life I work on my breathing. 
Breathing in the Word of God because a life not focused on Him finds itself gasping for air just to survive.

When I am wanting more of Jesus I work on my breathing. 
Breathing in the character of the Son of God who once walked this earth.

When I find myself wanting someone else's gifts or talents I work on my breathing.
Breathing in the truth that God will complete the unique work He started in me.

So this little one growing inside my daughter's belly, the one the doctor said is already 8 pounds and 8 ounces. The little one still working on developing its lungs....know that you will forever be working on your breathing. It will be your choice of whether you are breathing in holy air or just trying to make it on the world's oxygen. 

My prayer is that you will choose Jesus.

As long as you allow Jesus to breathe life into you then you will find yourself needing His air even more because He will continuously take your breath away. Just from His Presence. 

Breathe in little angel and let the Savior fill your heart with the love He has for you. 

I love you already....your Grandma.

~Many Blessings~

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

YES to GOD study: CH. 10: The Love of a Father

UPDATE 5/27/09: Mr. Linky is not cooperating, but at the bottom of the post I finally was able to put something up to link your post if you have something on your own blog. Thanks for your patience!


Every week we gather here and discuss a chapter out of Micca Campbell's book,

I can't believe we only have 2 more chapters left to read and talk about in this book. This has been another great book for me to read and apply to my life and I have enjoyed getting to know more about Ms. Campbell. Seems like God has really blessed us with the books He has lined up for us to read. His timing is always so amazing.

Before we get to talking about chapter 10, I want tell you about a summer study going on. I going to take some time off from blogging after we are finished with this study, but here is a study that sounds awesome!
Click here to see what on line summer study Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Wendy Blight will be hosting on her blog.
She will be starting her study on Wednesday, June 17th.
Here's a little hint:

So go ahead, add one more thing to your schedule:
Participate in a summer blog study with other women seeking God's best and make the summer of '09 an unforgettable one!

Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

This was yet the 10th good chapter in this book. So this is what I took from this chapter:

God's love is true and reliable, but sometimes we don't feel worthy of being loved by God. Sometimes, because of things that happened in our past, we think the Lord could never love us. Uggh! For the longest time I let my past run my life. Keeping me uninvolved with other Christian women and just staying in a pit of shame. See, if I stayed out of the picture and not let anyone get to close to me, then they wouldn't know the real me. From a distance I could portray the perfect Christian woman, but nose to nose, I knew I'd never be able to pull it off. All because I believed what Satan spoke over me versus what my Savior speaks over me. I was unworthy and I knew it. I'm still unworthy of God's love, but now I know He is worthy of my devotion.

The Bible tells us that even as children of God, we are not free from troubles. Jesus said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33
I love that promise at the end...He has overcome the world. Webster's says that overcome means to defeat, make helpless or exhausted. The one who does such a good job at keeping us useless by keeping us shameful of our past has been defeated, made helpless and exhausted by Jesus Christ as soon as we believe Him to be Who He is.

Troubles in our lives don't mean that God doesn't care. During these times when we feel alone and betrayed, we must not give an ear to Satan's lies. Instead, we must trust that God is acting in love on our behalf even in dire circumstances. Even though our fears may lead us to believe otherwise, God, and what He allows into our lives, is always motivated by one thing: love.
I thought long and hard on this while thinking of Tre'von. He is the son of Charity, a 36 year old single Mom who just died from cancer this month. How does he believe that what God has allowed to happen to him and his Mom is out of love? This is where I put my own understanding aside and lean on God and trust that Tre is going to grow up to be the man that Charity wanted him to be and so much more if Tre trusts that God has His best for him. Tough to look at a parent less 15 year old and think God knows what He is doing, but I must trust instead of try to figure it out.

We can experience His love without shame or fear, knowing that troubles don't mean God doesn't care. They mean He does care. Every move God makes on our behalf is based on love. God allows the hard things in life to develop genuine faith in us so that we are able to stand when the next storm comes our way.

Experiencing the love of God is so much different than where I allowed my past to take me. The love of God is shameless and fearless and I know He cares for me.

A person who knows and believes God loves her will not live in fear. If fear is present, the person doesn't understand God's love for her.

It's true that those who remain in sin definitely have something to dread---God's judgement. On the other hand, those who seek His forgiveness always find mercy. While sin separates us from fellowship with God, it doesn't separate us from His love. We always have an open invitation into God's presence by way of honest remorse.
I loved the story of the adulteress woman Micca shared with us from John 8:1-11.
I love that God doesn't base His love for us on our performance and that no matter how ridiculous our choices are that we are welcomed back into His presence 24/7. Micca also pointed out that there will be consequences to our choices, but God's love doesn't stop because of what we choose to do outside His will. So comforting. While we may suffer the cost of our actions, god is not out to condemn us. He's out to set us free from the chains of sin that bind us. Therefore, we have nothing to fear.

No matter how far we miss the mark in living out His plan for our lives, God is never ashamed to offer us His love. He's not waiting for us to mess up so that HE can punish us. He's waiting to restore us. Therefore, we should never be frightened to stand in His presence before His throne of grace and mercy. It's there that we find peace and new beginnings. Our teenage daughter being pregnant again...twice in one year I have to admit has been very embarrassing for me. She is due with her 2nd baby on June 7th and so her belly is sticking out pretty far. This past weekend our son had a basketball tournament and when I saw her walk in, I wanted to ask her to walk underneath the bleachers instead of the full length of the basketball court as we were sitting on the opposite side of the entrance. Almost 9 months pregnant and holding a 1 year old walking in front of many people she could feel all eyes on her, but then my Mom popped up and ran to meet her mid-court and take Amiyah from her. Pure love and grace displayed in front of many people including my selfishness. God is much like that...He runs to meet us no matter what we have done when we show true repentance.

The only true place to find unconditional love an acceptance is in God. He knows our need. I remember hearing a song when I was growing up called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. How often women do that. Desperate for love we look in the wrong places such as bars, work, magazines, etc. If only we would look into God's Word and let Him be the love of our lives. Being secure in God's love means we no longer have to wonder, pretend, impress, or seek acceptance elsewhere. We are certain that God is pleased with us just as we are----flaws and all.

Micca also tells us that In God's love, we have nothing to fear. We don't dread someone who loves us and has our best interest at heart. Instead, we run to him.

Thank you Jesus for the oh so perfect timing of this chapter.
You are amazing!
Next Tuesday join me to discuss chapter 11: Practicing His Presence.

~Many Blessings~

Friday, May 22, 2009

O.J. and Crest

Matthew 18:2-3
He called a little child and had him stand among them.
And he said: "I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Sometimes I over think God.
I try to complicate having a relationship with Him.
Some think they have to know everything about Moses down to what he liked to eat before they are allowed to be close to Jesus.
We put pressure on ourselves to know every Bible story before we dare share Him with anyone else for fear of getting it wrong.
We compare ourselves to the likes of world known Bible teacher Beth Moore or the famous preacher Billy Graham and when we don't come close we shy away from who God wants us to be.

And really, all Jesus wants is for us to become like a child and just come to Him. That's it.

So my mind has been thinking on this. What did He mean when He pulled that child up to Him and told them...
Like this.

Our 7 year old Alivia's world is simple.

*When she worships Jesus it's for Him. She doesn't worry about those around her.
*The look on her face during worship at church is the same pure joy she has when I've walked in on her worshipping in her bedroom.
*She's the same behind closed doors and in public. It is what it is.
*She doesn't need to go on a 300 hundred dollar shopping spree she can't afford on a credit card to make her smile or feel better. Putting a quarter in a gum ball machine will do.
*Heartache to her is when she has to watch the ice cream truck roll by.
*Blessing is when she gets to buy overpriced ice cream curb side at her house.

The other day as I was braiding her hair, I was talking about something and I can't remember what it was, but I do remember that with all of her 7 year wisdom she shared this with me...


It's kind of like...apples and oranges.
Cats and dogs.

Orange juice and toothpaste.


Didn't make sense to me, but I could tell the way she looked at me she knew exactly what point she was trying to make.
To her it was simple.
I was trying to compare whatever my problem was and to her, there was no comparison.
They were complete opposites. And if you have ever taken a swig of O.J. after brushing your teeth, you know what she is talking about...the two don't go well together.

Just like an overcomplicated relationship we think Jesus wants with us versus a simple Jesus Loves Me joy filled relationship. They don't compare. One is forced, the other is what it is.

Don't get me wrong here, Jesus wants us to learn His Word. He wants us to know about Him and the people mentioned in the Bible, but we don't have to be scholars to be in relationship with Him. He wants you as is. The only requirement is that you believe in Him.
Jesus just wants us to come to Him.
Simply come.
Having a relationship with Him isn't about being religious. It's not about having all the answers.
It's about a friendship, a trust and a love like no other.

Trying to be all we think we should be with Him versus
how He wants us to be with Him is like...

apples and oranges

cats and dogs

orange juice and toothpaste.

Exact opposite of what He wants with us.

Don't over complicate Him. If you need help, sit in a child's Sunday school class and be like that.

And see where He takes you.

You just might find yourself chasing down the ice cream truck or wondering what color gum ball you'll get with your 25 cents.

I want to enjoy the simplicity of my relationship with Him.

Two years ago this winter, I became friends with Kelley through blogging. Last summer we flew to the She Speaks conference together. Over time we have gotten to know each other very well. She is someone I trust and love like I do my own sister. The neat part is that I didn't require her to know much about me at all before we flew to North Carolina nor did she put that demand on me. But it was on that trip, on the flights when we talked and got to know more of one another. It's been through e-mails, blogging, phone calls and weekend trips to each others homes that has made us feel like we've been a part of each others lives since day one. Our relationship is very simple and I love that.

Getting to know Jesus takes time. I shared in my last two posts about a woman named Charity who only months before her death when asked if she loved God said,"I really don't know Him."
BUT without knowing much about Him she was still willing to give her life to Him.
She was reassured she could come as is.
She didn't have to clean her life up first, she could just come.

When Alivia is outside playing and gets dirty I don't require her to get cleaned up before she steps foot in our house. Its after she comes inside that she gets cleaned up. She comes as is.


He just wants you.

As is.

"I tell you the truth unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

~Many Blessings~

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

YES to GOD study: CH. 9~ The Right Kind of Fear


So glad you have come by to discussion Micca Campbell's first book, an awesome book called

Anything in blue is quote from the book.
In this incredible chapter Micca shares with us how the right kind of fear is when we fear God.
Not all fear is bad.
The right kind of fear motivates us to obey God.
Those who respect God are motivated to walk in obedience.
I loved how Micca explained "fear of God" to us...To have godly fear means to revere and hold God in awe, not offending Him with sin.
On page 175 at the end of the chapter, the author shares that While the Bible commands us to fear God, it also commands us to love Him. This may seem like a contradiction, but it's our love for God that compels us toward passionate obedience and enables us to receive His blessings. To fear God is not to shrink back from Him in terror. It's to live an obedient life, showing admiration to the one who loves us so. Only then will we love and serve and revere Him as we should.
She goes on to close out the chapter with this encouragement:
Understanding God's love in fearful times can be difficult. When circumstances are hard, it feels like anything other than love. Yet situations are not alwsays as they appear. You and I must devote ourselves more to the revealed nature of God's love than to the reason of our natural minds. Only then will we experience His love to the full extent.

Yesterday my husband and I attended the Celebration of Charity's life.
And much reverance for this friend and family member of many.
To have respect in any relationship, you have to be worthy of honor.

The family had Sue share and it was so neat when Sue told the story about asking Charity from God: Do you love Me? She shared how Charity's response was, "Well, Sue, I really don't know Him." Taking a break from going to yard sales, they sat in Sue's car and just talked. And in the middle of June on a hot summer Saturday, Charity made her decision to invite Jesus into her life. She may not have been in control of when she died, but on that day she did know where she would spend eternity because she chose to say Yes to God. When Sue shared this everyone started clapping. It was really neat.
There was so much love for this woman and her son in the room, it was just amazing. Sue was joined by her husband and sister and they sang the last song Charity heard on earth that Sue sang over her on Thursday, Amazing Grace. I wish you all could have you heard it. It was gorgeous and at the end of the song, to the tune of Amazing Grace, they just started singing
Praise God
Praise God
Praise God
Praise God.
Praise God
Pra---ise God...praise God!
Praise God, praise God, praise God, praise God.
Pra---ise God, Praise God
Praise God!

The one thing I really loved about what was said about Charity was not how sweet or funny she was. 
Not what a great friend she was to so many. 
Not how she would tell you like it is and be real with you. 
Not how she was dedicated to healthy eating. 
Not how even while sick she treated her body well and  faithfully got up at 4:30 to get on the treadmill.

It was that when it came to her son Tre...she told the pastor she had no regrets.
As a Mom that really touched my heart.

Since last Thursday I have had a lot to time to pray and think about what God allowed me to witness. I just didn't see someone die. I watched someone really begin to live.
No more chemo. No more vomiting or diarrhea. No more pain. There was nothing but pure joy on her face as she left all that behind.
She knew she had fought hard.
She knew giving up was never an option for her and yet when her body became too weak, she could leave this world knowing she had no regrets. Doesn't mean she did things perfect, but she worked hard. Not only worked hard to live, but worked hard to raise a son by herself.

A son that shows adults respect in a world where baggy jeans and attitude are part of kids' everyday attire. Doesn't mean she didn't worry or want to stay with him, but she knew she had no choice but to go and she was gonna go out doing a job well done.

She wrote this in on her Caring Bridge March 16, 2009:
I love him so much it kills me to see him hurting like this and not be able to do anything about it, but I'll love him as hard and as tight as I can while I'm here. Leaving Tre will be the hardest thing I have to do. I worry what will happen to him. I don't want him to be scorned. I want him to grow up to be a loving man who is happy.

Please keep 15 year old Tre in your prayers. He has grown up without a Dad and now he has lost his Mom. Gene told him yesterday that they will get together soon. Losing his Mom to cancer at the age of 5 he can somewhat relate to what Tre is going through. He will be living with one of Charity's sisters and her family. And they will be caring for a kid with manners and morals because of a Mom who left him with no regrets. She did her job well and she knew it. I loved that.

We all have roles to fill in life. Whether we are a mom, wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister,
grandma, aunt, teacher...whatever role God gives me in my lifetime I want to do well for Him. I don't want to leave this earth regretting anything. Especially when it comes to saying Yes to God and taking care of my family.

One role I was not given was to "save Charity's soul" like I was trying to figure out how to do. Sue's job wasn't even to "save her soul". That role belonged only to Jesus. Jesus is the only soul saver there is. Our role is the introduction.

Sue's role was to be her friend, her confidant and the one who would introduce her to Jesus Christ. And like Charity, Sue has no regrets. She did her job and she did it well.

On Sunday during church I just teared up with joy for Sue. God blessed her faithfulness to Him by allowing her to be with Charity when she passed from death to life in both the spiritual and the physical. Wow. What an honor is how Sue described it to me after the graveside service with her hand over her heart and tears in her eyes. What an honor.

Since last Thursday evening I have learned:

That no matter what, our God is in control.
That God will do things His way, not ours.
That He is the Savior, not us. I once heard that "we are just the straw to a fantastic drink."

I also learned that there is not just one view of God. Some see Him as harsh as the pastor shared that Charity did at first. Then she saw the tender side of Him toward the end of her life and she had no regrets of her choice to say yes to Him.
I also learned that when we keep our focus on Him and make our life about Him that He works out all the details.

That fearing God comes from loving God. (Thank you Micca for teaching me this.)

God is good my friends. He is worth all of what we endure. It took witnessing the power of God as a Mom only 2 years younger than myself took her last breath to realize that I want more of God. I want a relationship with Jesus that has no regrets.

And a no-regret relationship with Jesus Christ demands me to have a fear of God. A good fear.
I know yesterday was not only a celebration of a life lived well while on earth, but a life that eternally will be spent with You. As Gene said, "God stirred some hearts" yesterday. May the hearts stirred up become curious about You Lord because getting to know You as Charity did, is a decision that no one regrets making.
Once upon at time in June of 2008...Sue asked Charity,
"God wants to know, Do you love Me?"
"Well, Sue, I really don't know Him." Charity said.
Then while sitting in a car Sue introduced Jesus Christ to Charity Snell.
And this cancer filled, young single Mom took hold of His scarred hands and said yes to her Prince.
And with no regrets while Sue was singing over her friend on May 14th 2009, Charity once again took hold of her Savior's scarred hands, except this time for good.
And she is now living happily ever after.
With no cancer.
With no regrets.
That my friend is Amazing Grace.
~Many Blessings~

If you have something to share about chapter 9 from Micca's book...please sign up below with Mr. Linky so we can visit you.
Have a blessed week, I'll be back on Friday.
Next Tuesday: Chapter 10: The Love of a Father.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What's on your schedule tomorrow?

Proverbs 27:1
(The Message)
Don't brashly announce what you're going to do tomorrow; you don't know the first thing about tomorrow.

At my home health care job I get a schedule for every two weeks.
Sometimes I get to the end of the two weeks and have seen every client on my calendar.
Then some weeks someone has passed away or been admitted to the hospital so I either stay home or go see a new client.
We can plan all we want to, but bottom line is that
God is in control and He is the only One that knows what tomorrow holds.

At the end of April (2009) a lady my husband used to work with...Charity...a 36 year old single Mom to her 15 year old son was told her 2 year battle with cancer had come to an end. 
The doctors gave her 6 months left.

Here is an excerpt from her Caring Bridge journal dated April 28, 2009...
The question of my week....
What would you do if given 6 months to live? 
Would you abandon the career you worked
 so hard to achieve? 
Would you spend every waking moment with the child that you love and
 conceived? With family,with friends? 
When I was a child that 
6 months til my birthday or Christmas seemed like an
 eternity away but now as an adult 6 months seems more like 6 seconds of my beating 
There isn't enough time to know what to do with it. 

My husband worked with this young and courageous woman and also her sister Amber for many years. Yesterday he told me he wanted to go visit her at her parents' home as she had taken a quick turn for the worst. We were going to go in the morning, but then decided to go in the afternoon. The fact Gene even wanted to go surprised me because he does not like to face things that are sad as it reminds him too much of when his own sister was sick. I thought for sure by the time I got home from work his mind would be changed, but it wasn't.

First we stopped at the store to get her son some candy and it took me so long to pick out candy for someone I didn't know and then the cashier had to do a price check on a bag of M&M's.
It took so long that Gene actually fell asleep in the car.
Finally, we made it and her family and friends welcomed us with open arms.

Just a few months ago Gene and I were walking into our son's basketball tournament as Charity was leaving after watching her son. Over the years our boys have either played with or against each other in basketball so we've seen her alot over time. We stopped and talked with her and she told us she was going to start another round of chemo. I admired her for the support she gave her son since it was obvious she didn't feel the best.

We have a friend in common who is really close to Charity and Alethea has kept me informed on how she has been doing, especially these last few months. Since she first told me a few years ago that Charity had cancer, I have felt the desperate need to share Jesus with her. See, Charity and I have casually known each other, but never got to know each other well. Just small talk here and there mostly about the boys.
Years ago I would occasionally join Alethea and her friends on a night out on the town and so Charity saw a side of me that had nothing to do with Jesus.
Her not knowing the Jesus in me, I found myself regretting that I never took advantage of the many opportunities I had to share this different side of me.
Knowing someone has a deadly disease will bring out the preacher in you.

These last few months I made feeble attempts through Alethea to get together with Charity.
I didn't want to intrude, but I felt like the clock was ticking and I had no idea where she stood with Jesus. Then I started reading her Caring Bridge blog and under each post was a verse.
I wondered if she too is a believer and when I asked Alethea she said she thought she is.

Then a few weeks ago I told my friend Charlene about her and asked her to pray.
That's when Charlene said, "You know, I think I heard that she's been hanging out with Sue Hill."
Really???? I asked.
I was so excited because Sue is one that there is no question Who she loves.
With ALL her heart, mind, strength and soul this woman is in love with Jesus Christ and she is not ashamed to tell you about Him.
I got so excited thinking that Charity knew Sue because maybe that meant Charity knew Jesus.

So back to last night.
Charity had been unresponsive for 2 days.
Gene and I were standing at her bedside rubbing her hands and arms and talking to her and Gene quietly prayed over her as I asked one of her friends next if she knew Sue.
She said she did and I had just shared how much I love Sue when into the house walked Ms. Hill.

Sue is not only a woman of God, she's an RN so she just has this special care taking quality about her.
After hugging each other it was so touching to watch Sue sit at Charity's side and just talk to her,
 rub her cheeks and speak verses over her.
She kept saying over and over again in the sweetest voice,
"Charity, I am so glad that you said Yes to Jesus. I am so glad you said Yes to Him."

Here is a picture of Charity(on the left) with Sue at Charity's birthday party April 6, 2009.

The three friends of hers that were sitting on the other side of the bed stopped talking amongst themselves and just watched as Sue loved on Charity.
Then she began to pray over her and everyone in the room respectfully bowed their head.
Believer or not, Sue had captured the attention of everyone with her acknowledgment of God.
The acknowledgement that Charity had chosen Jesus to be Lord in her life.

After praying, Sue got up and came and talked to Gene and I and told us that the summer of '08 she had been praying about how to reach Charity when God simply told her,

Just ask her

Does she love me?

Sue said that moment was the turning point with Charity as they sat in Sue's car in front of a garage sale.
That question urged Charity to let her guard down and choose to ask Jesus to come into her life.
I was doing all this worrying about how I was going to put on my Super Witness cape and save Charity's soul while God had already captured her heart almost a year before.

I saw how in control our Savior really is last night as I stood at the foot of this dying woman's bed
with such a peace that only He could give.
And because He is the One who does the saving, not us,
all my anxiety left the room knowing
He already got her.

I talked with her sweet and hurting Mom for awhile until the pizza delivery man interrupted us.
Sue was sitting at her bedside again and her Mom suddenly came back in the room along with one of her sister's.
We were all just sitting or standing around her and someone said something about how Sue's sister Angie had been over on Tuesday and sang to Charity.
Sue's entire family can sing and she's a very gifted worship leader at her church.
We've been blessed with knowing the Hill's for about 11 years now through church, so I knew the woman could sing.

That's when the Holy Spirit prompted me.
"Sue, have you sang to Charity?"
She just kind of looked at me and I said, rubbing her shoulder,
"You need to sing to her. You know you can."

She just kind of shook her head as she said "Oh Lord" and then started to sing Amazing Grace.

More beautiful than the perfect pitch of Sue's voice was when Charity responded and turned her head toward her friend. She then opened her gorgeous blue eyes that had been shut for two days and began to mouth the words with Sue.

It was the most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed
as I watched this young Mom being sung into heaven as she took her final breath.
It was peaceful and so sweet.

In the 17 years I've been doing hospice care I have never seen a more beautiful ending to a life on earth like I did last night because it was all about God.
It was as if He just picked her up and carried her through the pearly gates Himself.

As I lay in bed thinking of what I had witnessed only hours earlier,
 I just couldn't wrap my mind around everything.

He is just so much bigger than we know.
The room was filled with nothing but His presence last night.
The timing of our visit was all about God.
From changing our minds of when to visit,
to stalling us at the store, to Sue walking in when she did.
He wanted us there for a reason.
He wanted us to be witness of His greatness.

Right after she died, Charity's Mom was crying, being held by Sue
and then she turned and held her other daughter.
Last summer I watched my daughter welcome her little one into the world and it filled my heart,
but watching a Mom as her daughter leaves it, was beyond heart wrenching.

The end of April, Charity was given 6 months to live by her doctor.
Her Mom told me she figured she had until November
and that the hardest part for her was leaving behind her son Tre.

6:13pm on Thursday, May 14, 2009 was the end of her life on earth.
5 months too fast.
36 years to young.
Only God knew that her 6 months would be 30 days.

We have to be ready.
Ready for no tomorrow.
Where will you spend your eternity because truth is you're going to spend it somewhere.

Like Charity did, will you say Yes to Jesus if you haven't already?

So, today I ask you what God had Sue ask Charity about Him...

Do you love Me?

Love Him today my friend because tomorrow may not come.

~Many Blessings~

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

YES to GOD study: CH. 8~Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown


Hello! I'm so glad you have come by. We are currently discussing Micca Campbell's first book
If this is your first time here you can find out more about YES to GOD Tuesday's on the sidebar. Just click on the blue square YES to GOD button for the FAQ's. Hopefully you will join us for our next study beginning on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The announcement of what book that will be will be made this Friday. It will be light and easy for the summer. Nothing deep, just a time to grow closer to God.

Okay, before we get started I have to share.

Sunday my husband decided to take us to our friends' church so we could worship with them. It was a great time of worship, sharing and praising God. I talked to many people afterward and then my family all piled into our car to head home. My contact was bugging me so I pulled down the visor mirror to take a look. That's when I saw it.


Coming from my nose.



Then much like those Orbit gum commercials when the brightness of the gum and clean mouth make that little dinging noise...the hair protruding from my nostril gleamed in the sunshine and I think I heard a ding.

It gleamed because it was gray. Or platinum as Gene calls his evidence of aging.

I gasped and so of course Gene asked, "What?"

As if my shallow world was crumbling...
"Gene! I have a nose hair! And its gray! And long!"

"Oh yah, I saw that earlier."

That's when my neck whipped to the side to look at my BFF for life. The one who is supposed to alert me of food in my teeth and hair in my nostrils.

"WHAT? You saw it and didn't tell me?"

"Yah, I saw it this morning."

"Gee ean!! WHY wouldn't you say something??" (The kids are laughing.)

That's when he patted me on my knee and said, "Cuz honey, I just saw it as a sign that we're growing old together and it made me feel good because now I don't feel like I'm robbing the cradle."

I think I just stared. I don't remember.
All I know is I had no verbal response to him. Especially after he sealed it with a wink and nod of his head. So strange.

Okay, enough of my meaningless cosmetic troubles, let's get going...but can you believe he kept silent though? In 50 years I'll be the 88 year old with nose hair long enough to braid. Then we'll see if he finds comfort in that.

Anything in blue is a quote from the book.

Even if our greatest worries do come true, we must not allow ourselves to be taunted day and night by "What if?" We must trust God's plan. Regardless of our spooks, God's plan alone stands firm and true.
When my oldest was growing up I parented her out of fear. I did not want her to be anything close to how I was...unmarried and pregnant.
My biggest fears are being played out in front of me and yet in Jeremiah we read that God has plans for us, plans that will prosper and not harm us. Just because my daughter has chosen to stray He STILL has plans for her and plans for her two babies. That hope alone is what I can cling to because if He hasn't given up on her, why should I?

The future is unknown. We can't control it. That's why Jesus says three times in Matthew 6:25-34, "Do not worry." When you and I are tempted to worry, we should heed Christ's advice and not do it. Worrying won't change the outcome. It only steals our peace.

I've heard it said that when Jesus repeats Himself, we better listen up. Do not worry...isn't that so much easier to shout to someone that is sitting in a sinking boat with no life jacket on in the middle of a shark infested ocean while you're standing safely on the sandy shore making sand castles? But that is exactly what God wants us to do. Trust Him. While the future may be out of our hands, it's not out of the hands of an adequate and trustworthy God. Thank God for that!

When we come to a place we've never passed through before, God is always present to help us.
Yesterday I received an e-mail requesting prayer for a couple in Ainsworth, Nebraska. On May 4th, Tom and Amy Ford's 16 year old daughter Ashley was killed in a car accident. They buried her on Saturday, May 9th. On Monday, May 11th exactly one week later they lost their 21 year old son Andrew who was killed in a separate car accident. Their other son, 19 year old Adam was driving and is okay.

HOW this Mom is even breathing is beyond me. From the shore I can yell to Amy...don't worry! God is in control! I can yell it because my 3 kids are alive and well, but what if I was in same sinking boat that Amy is in? Would my faith waver or become stronger? I want to believe that based on what I know of Him that my faith would go deeper, but I can imagine the fight to stay focused on the King would be a might tough one. Please keep the Ford's in your prayers.

I just wonder how Tom and Amy Ford will ever let their only child left out of the house. do You allow someone to be led into this kind of dark, deep valley and expect them to trust in You? How do you keep them from panicking every time their only child that they haven't buried walks out their door? Micca tells us that It takes endurance not to give way to fear but to press forward with our eyes firmly fixed on our leader---Jesus Christ.

I pray that the Ford's gets to this point during their time in the valley of the shadow of the untimely deaths of their children and that many will come to Christ because of their witness of how great our God is even during the unimaginable. Something amazing happens when we faithfully cry out to the Lord, believing in His perfect care. Our faith suddenly becomes stronger than our fear. None of us knows how to act or what to do during a crisis. However, if we will fall on our face before His throne in total weakness and cry out, He will strengthen and lead us. This is God's promise.

I loved how Micca reminded us that we have to surrender to Jesus and it's not just a one time thing. It's every day. Every minute. Something miraculous happens when we yield our lives to Christ. Surrender is not just a one-time action we take when we first give ourselves to Christ. Yielding our will to God's will is a day-by-day, moment-by-moment, even minute-by-minute way of life for the believer. Surrender is challenging, but it wasn't meant to be that way. It's where fearless living begins.
Remember that reality show Fear Factor? The contestants had to go through a bunch of challenges and whoever made it through all of them won some money. They did that for a TV show that was only an hour. Can you imagine if they had to put down their fears every day? As a believer we have to do it for 24 hours, not just one. It doesn't work for us to only give the Lord certain areas of fear in our life. To win the big prize we need to surrender every minute of every day. It is challenging, but our prize is much more eternal than a bag of money. We get a relationship with Christ that goes to a new level when He sees us surrender and trust Him.

I want fearless living...but how do I get it?
We can either continue to live our lives our own way---by holding on to fear, doubt, and control---or we can die to self and allow Jesus to live His life of wisdom, faith, power, and holiness through us. This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do daily. I get in my own way of having my desired relationship with Christ. I kneel before Him and give Him whatever is going on in my life at that moment and then when I feel He isn't going fast enough then I take over and create a mess. Again and again I do this. All about choice.

The reason surrender is the way to go is it allows us to follow His plan for our lives, which is so much better than our own plan. AMEN MICCA!

Is God trying to move you off your old land onto new land? If so, He can be trusted with your unknown future. Remember, it's not unknown to Him. He has a plan far beyond our suffering. He will not let our trials go to waste. No, God will use them for our good and His glory---if we allow Him.
Unknown future. We carry a planner that holds our schedules in it, but no matter how much planning we do Jesus Christ is the only One who knows our future. 24 hours from now you or I may be gone. Amy Ford planned many things with her kids, but never their deaths. Unknown future to us, but not to God. If allowed, God will use the Ford's tragedy for His good and glory as Micca tells us.

How can she say something like that?

Because she's lived it. She tried dealing with her first husband Porter's death on her own and until she surrendered her loss to Christ, Porter's death was unusable. Once Micca gave her grief to God He took her pain and her story and is using it bigger than she could ever imagined. If Micca continued to do things her way we would not be discussing this book right now. God knows what is best for us, we just need to trust Him.

Surrendering our will for God's changes the way we live. It also quiets our anxieties as we wait for God's next assignment.I believe when Jesus sees our white flag go up waving showing we want to surrender all to Him that He comes running to meet us. I doubt He just stands there with His hands in His pockets looking bored waiting for us to get to Him. I think He gets to us first and embraces us so tight that it just squeezes out any anxieties or fears that Satan has planted in our minds. I bet our Enemy just hates the moment we surrender to Christ because he knows God's big presence overpowers his little self.

Fearless living is achieved when we take captive every thought that doesn't line up with God's truths. Either our thoughts can take us captive, or we can take them captive. The difference lies in where we place our focus. Micca....I loved that! Either we take a hold of our thoughts or our thoughts will get us. That's one thing I've really been working on as of late is my thought life. I have to take captive the thoughts that don't line up with God or else I'm in big trouble. A few years ago I was blessed to hear Bible teacher Beth Moore speak in Omaha and she taught on anxiety. She had us memorize

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable----if anything is excellent or praiseworthy---think about such things.

When I captivate the thoughts that aren't lovely or pure and I replace them with thoughts that are God thoughts, then my whole life is changed from that simple act of obedience. In our last study by Jennifer Rothschild of her book Self Talk, Soul Talk she taught us what to put on the shelves of our thought closet. If you struggle with your thought life then I highly recommend her book. Because as we know...thoughts become words and words become actions. (See sidebar for study notes if you missed it.)

When we trust God in a crisis situation, no matter how big or frightening it may be, it always leads to a greater confidence in God for the future.
I have lived this one out. A few years ago when my daughter was lying in a hospital bed, I can remember crying out to God in the bathroom. I was grabbing on to the edge of the sink and I remember just telling Him You have my trust. For once I stayed out of His way and He amazed me. So after that when I have found myself at the crossroads of faith or fear, it is faith I choose because I know God is trustworthy. Right thinking leads to right living. As we practice taking each stray thought captive, our thoughts begin to reflect the mind of Christ, and so do our actions.

In order for you and me to change from fearful living to fearless living, we must be willing to
surrender our fears of the unknown,
take our thoughts captive,
and keep our eyes on our Leader.
Even if you're in a place that you've never passed through before, you have the assurance of God's guidance.
I doubt that Amy Ford ever had the fear of losing 2 children from separate car accident's only 7 days apart. So now what does she do? The beginning of May she had a family of five. Before we even flip our calendars to June her family has been downsized to three. Will she keep her eyes on her Leader or will she stumble through the valley she is in right now by trying to lead herself through it? Oh Lord, please be with this family and may they get to know a side of You they didn't even know existed.

It's only when you and I respect God's name, power, and ways that we come to understand His love, which, in turn, eliminates fear.

This book is so rich. To me it's like my favorite Starbucks drink...White Chocolate Mocha. I can't wait to sit down with it and just drink it all in. I am learning so much from what God gave Micca to write for us in this book. It's what I needed and God knew that. I love that about Him.

Join me next Tuesday for chapter 9~The Right Kind of Fear.

I'll be back later this week just to talk and share. I better get going, I have nose hairs to pluck.

~Many Blessings~

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Jesus and Mother's Day

Do you think Jesus celebrated Mother's Day?

As a Mom of three, there are many things the older I get that I regret either doing or not doing when Alyssa and Aaron were young. I wonder if Mary felt that too. With Jesus being her oldest by the time she was raising His siblings, did she sit in reflection and wish she would have done things a different way with her firstborn? Or was Jesus just too perfect that He didn't really need her guidance and so the other sin filled children she later bore shocked her system? My flesh tells me that Jesus was a kid and did normal kid things, but my heart knows that He was not the ordinary boy next door. Boys will be boys is probably something Mary didn't say much about His actions. I wonder if His perfect ways were found to be frustrating to the other moms in their neighborhood or were they just all in awe of residing next to such Majesty?

So if you were in Mary's sandals and Jesus handed you a bouquet of flowers and a Hallmark card telling you that you are the #1 Mom in the would you respond?

I mean, the flowers...He created them so that alone would be extra special.

The card...He created the Hallmark artist who wrote out His feelings so that's pretty cool.

But beyond that, do you believe Him when He is telling you that you do a great job and that He wouldn't want anyone else to be His Mom? Or would you question His compliments based on what you know of yourself? Based on your latest reaction to something your child did. Based on your thought life of your blessing from above. Or do you simply believe the One who cannot tell a lie?

When my kids present me with gifts or handmade cards whether its for Mother's Day or my birthday I love every part of it and my heart just melts. I momentarily forget all the stuff they have done that year and even that day that has made me want to pull out my hair and theirs. And for that moment in time I believe that I, Lelia Chealey, am the world's #1 Mom. Why? Because my child told me so. Because my child wrote it out on a folded piece of construction paper recorded permanently in Crayola's Midnight Blue framed by their effort of a red heart.

So how does Mary take a compliment of truth from her child? How did she handle hearing greatness about herself from her kid? The kid that she knew could live up to the title of being #1 and the best kid in the world.

Sometimes our kids are given awards in sports or in the classroom and as their Mom, knowing that behind every great kid there is usually a great Mom, we proudly accept their award on their behalf in our heart. But can you imagine if your kid brought home a certificate that named him or her as just one of these things?

Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

or even

Prince of Peace?

Mary...humble servant girl. Girl, not wise old woman. One highly favored by God to carry out His plan of Salvation. The virgin that bore a Son that could be compared to no other child. So when the King of all Kings came to His Momma with a token of His love, of course on the outside she accepted it, but in her heart, did she believe it or deny it?
When Jesus tells you that you are doing a great job with your family through your you take that in and praise Him for His help? Or based on what you know of yourself do you reject it?

As a Mom I know I can be extremely hard on myself and if not careful will believe the lies of the enemy over truth spoken by my Savior.

I am late picking up my kids. Again.
Satan tells me I can't do anything right...God tells me to pray to Him for better time management, then obey Him.

I lose it with Aaron over something small and not his I did yesterday.
Satan tells me that you have scarred your child for life and laughs at me as the tears of guilt will not stop falling...God tells me humble yourself ,ask him to forgive you and memorize verses on guarding that sharp tongue of yours. Then He captures my tears in a bottle.

Now I know Mother's Day is a man created holiday intented to acknowledge your Mom and that back in the day when Jesus lived under Mary and Joseph's roof such a day of celebration didn't exist. But, if it did, in my small imagination I see Jesus just loving Mary right where she was at and I believe that Mary and Jesus shared special moments like we do with our kids.
I believe when He stopped playing soccer with His friends to take a moment to run into their home and disrupt her homemaking duties with how He felt about her, she probably just melted much like we do. Things like...

You're the best Mom ever.

You're the #1 Mom in the world.

You are a blessing to Me.

You are doing a great job.

You are so special to Me.

I think you are beautiful.

I love calling you Mom.

I love you.

It's special enough to be told these things from your own child, but can you imagine being told these things by HIM?

The cool thing is that Jesus has told us these things in His Word...we just need to believe Him.

You're the best Mom ever
Luke 1:28b
"Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

You're the #1 Mom in the world
Proverbs 31:28a
Her children arise and call her blessed

You are a blessing to Me
Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

You are doing a great job
Psalm 46:5
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

You are so special to Me
Luke 12:7
And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

I think you are beautiful
Psalm 45:11
The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

I love calling you Mom
Ecclesiastes 7:1
A good name is better than fine perfume

I love you
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So, once a year on Mother's Day when our kid hands us the card they carefully crafted or picked out that tells you that you are #1 and in your heart you may feel far from being close to that...give thanks to God and know they are just seeing Jesus in you and when your life reflects Him, then you are the #1 Mom. In the world.

Not because you get it all right, but because of the Jesus in you.

And just like Mary...take it all in and give Him the glory.
Luke 2:19
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

If you are a Mom that has lost a little or big one into the arms of Jesus way too early, may He pour down His love upon your aching heart.

Whatever the reason your child was ushered into Heaven, I just imagine that all the Mom's in heaven are just loving all over him or her until you get there.
Especially Miss Mary because if anyone understands of being asked for her child too soon, it would be her.

If you are a Mom who chose to abort a child, may you allow God to take your shame and sorrow and may the life you gave permission to end on earth bring God glory as she or he dances with the angels in heaven. And crank up some worship music and dance right along with the angels and your baby.

And if you do not have any biological children, but are a Spiritual Mom, may God expand your territory. I hope that the girls and women in your life see Jesus in every part of you. When we profess our love for Him then we are watched closer, studied harder and scrutinized deeper. Keep sharing Him with others and may you hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant" when you meet Jesus face to face.

Have a blessed Mother's Day.

I love you Mom.

And Alyssa, Aaron and Alivia, I am so blessed to be your Mom.
I love you kids more than you know.

~Many Blessings~