Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting, Part 2

To read part 1 of Waiting, click HERE.

So what happens when you finally get the answer you've been waiting for, only it wasn't the answer you wanted? Been there many times! I have doubted the Lord many times because He didn't do what I thought was best. "Lord, you must not have heard my prayers right, because I know what I was asking for what the best thing for me!" And I have wondered if He just laughs at me. In the last few weeks I have heard some of His truth regarding this and thought I would share.

1. Casting Crowns new CD, Come to the Well, is excellent, and one song is called "Already There." I almost had to pull over when I listened to the lyrics. OK Lord, I hear you!

(Mark Hall, Matthew West, Bernie Herms)
From where I’m standing
Lord, it’s so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You’re leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are going to play out
In a world I can’t control

When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory

‘Cause You’re already there
You’re already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You’re already there
You’re already there

From where You’re standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture-perfect plan

When I’m lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory

One day I’ll stand before You
And look back on the life I’ve lived
I can’t wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit

You can listen here!
I love the line "To you my future is a memory." Such truth! He isn't surprised by how things turn out! He already knows how the story ends!

2. Listened to an amazing sermon by my new friend Malcolm Duncan entitled "When God says No". You can listen HERE. One thing he said that sticks out to me was, where would you be right now if God had answered Yes to every prayer you prayed? Who would you be married to? Where would you be living? How many times have you prayed one thing on a Monday and then prayed something different by Friday? OUCH!

3. I was thinking about my boys, and how I say "no" to them quite often, and almost always its because I'm protecting them from something. I don't say no to punish them or because I'm mean. Its because what they want to do will either hurt them or someone else.(No! Don't hit your brother with the sword!) Or its because what they want to do just isn't best for them and I can see the big picture. (No, you can't stay up until 11 to watch that movie. You have school tomorrow.) God reminded me that He is the same way. He says no because He is protecting me from something or someone, or He has something better planned for me that I can't see yet. I know that in my head, but some days when I don't get the answer I want, I choose to not believe it. Its a choice some days to truly trust Him, but I can look back on my life and see where His no's were a wonderful answer full of His love and mercy.

I can't wait to see one day how all the pieces fit, how all the "no's" turned into a beautiful picture of my life.

Portion Control

The Israelites living in the desert learned about portion control as God provided only enough manna for each day, with a double portion before the Sabbath. They had to completely depend on Him for what they needed, not wanted.

"Each day God can be the perfect portion of everything we need - every longing we have, every desperate desire our souls cry out for. God will be our portion." Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave, page 132.

When my kids are driving me crazy, instead of eating chocolate, I can ask God for a portion of His strength to get me through the day. And He never runs out!

"Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (yes, He showed me that verse two weeks ago, don't you love it when He does that.)

Lord, when I am tired, lonely, stressed or impatient, please help me to turn to you to be my portion and my strength.

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:25,26

NIV Study Bible notes, "Since the Psalmist was a Levite, the Lord was his portion in the promised land in that he lived by the people's tithes dedicated to the Lord. Here he confesses more: the Lord Himself is his sustainer, his preserver - his very life."

Lord, help me learn more about your portion control, that you can provide all I need, not necessarily want, when I depend on you for help. Help me to think about why I want to eat, or watch tv, or shop or nap or even facebook. I know that its usually because I'm lonely or stressed, and I turn to those things instead of you, instead of the portion of strength and power you want to give me. Thank you for always being there for me, being patient with me and always being faithful to your promises! Amen!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This made me laugh

Guess who?

I blocked out the edges of the picture and asked my kids who it was. They both thought it was Cade. Nope.






When my kids were babies, people always asked who they looked like. I think I can claim the middle one for sure!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Every child needs something to hug

As we drove into Belgrade, Serbia with Trey and Randi, we stopped at a light, and two little kids came up to the window begging for money. It was heartbreaking. We saw all kinds of people trying to make an extra buck in many different ways all over Europe (another blog post), but kids begging was a little different. Randi said not to give them any because they have to give it to the adults in their family who use it for things other than the kids. She explained they were from the Roma community nearby, a group of gypsies basically, who set up camp in parking lots or fields. There could be hundreds of them, and once they are there, the owners of the land can't do much to get rid of them. They build their homes out of cardboard, or pieces of scrap wood they find around. One community had even built a restaurant in their parking lot. She said many of them have jobs and could probably live somewhere else, but because of culture, choose to stay their with their community. I wanted to take pictures of them, but she said many of them think if you take their picture, their soul is taken by the camera, but a snapped a few while we were driving by one day when we didn't see anyone.




The strange thing is, the children were actually clean and dressed nicely. We saw some taking a bath one day at a community water spicket. Some places you see extension cords coming from somewhere into the shacks, so some of them have electricity. The really amazing thing is that the Roma's have the largest Christian church in Serbia in a Southern city. I guess because they have nothing, some of them fully depend on the Lord for everything. Imagine that. There are people sent to Serbia to strictly minister to the Roma's. It was all very eye opening for me.

Yesterday morning I saw a facebook status from Operation Christmas Child, with this picture.
"in SERBIA: Iovana, 3, hugs a teddy bear from her shoe box gift. She lives in a Roma community with her mother and four siblings, in a house with no running water. She loves dolls."

It brought me to tears and yet made my day at the same time, just remembering the sadness I felt when I saw that community, and yet the joy on that sweet little girls face. So emotional. We've made Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child for many years, but seeing a child holding a doll she received when I've actually seen how she lives, makes a huge difference. I can't wait to take my boys this year to buy things for their boxes and turn them in. I highly encourage you to participate. Collection week is Nov. 14-21st. We are collecting them in the preschool area at UBC until Nov. 17th. If you have any more questions about it, check out their website here or ask me. I don't usually buy a stuffed animal for my boxes, but I think this year, I will. Every child needs something to hug.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Choosing the Right Path

I just walked for the first time in a few weeks. I haven't felt well, and walking when you feel like you have 50 lbs on your chest isn't a fun idea. But today I walked, not fast, but I walked. I came upon a fork in the sidewalk and realized that if I took the left choice, it would add on 10 minutes to my walk, and today I took that way. I then saw how many forks there were in the sidewalk, and opportunity each time to make the walk longer, harder and more time consuming, yet a way to push myself harder. How much longer would my walk be if I took the longer path each time? I didn't try that today, but maybe someday.

I was thinking about my new lifestyle of healthier living and how really each day I am given a fork in the road, a choice to make. Do I eat these chocolate chip cookies I'm making for my boys, or take the harder, yet healthier path, and refrain. Do I stop by Sonic and grab a hamburger because I'm in a hurry, or wait 20 minutes until I get home and eat something better for me. One path is easier, and maybe not even a bad path, just not the best.

Lord, help me today to see each decision I need to make as a path in the road, and take a minute to decide which path is the best for me, even if its not the most enjoyable one. Thank you for a minute of clarity on my walk this morning. Thank you for your beautiful creation and worship I enjoyed this morning. Amen.

Psalm 23:3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Psalm 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight

Proverbs 4:26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Review of "Sunrise on the Battery"


Sunrise on the Battery, by Beth Hart is the story of redemption for a family soaked in the culture of trying to "beat the Jones" and making sure their children have a better life than they did, no matter the cost. Mary Lynn and Jackson Scoville pulled themselves out of a country life and are striving to live a city life with all the social connections they can make. But Mary Lynn's heart is still sad, and missing something. She attends a Bible study and church occasionally, and one day asks for prayer for her husband. God reaches down and answers that prayer in a big, inconvenient way. Is she really willing to have her husband lead their family spiritually, even when it doesn't fit into their grand plan for the future?

I have read many Christian fiction books where the plan of salvation and grace seems forced into the story. But this story line is completely built around the salvation of this family, so the whole book is a wonderful testimony of God's miraculous changing power. It was also a great reminder to me of the trap the world sets for us of looking good on the outside, even when we are struggling on the inside. I would recommend this book and am interested in reading other books by Beth Hart.

I was given this book for free by Booksneeze for an unbiased review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who is Reading This?

I periodically check my stats on my blog. I like to see how many people read each one to know which types of posts get the most reads. Who am I kidding? It boosts my self esteem when I get a good number. Of course, my highest read post was "Hurt Feelings". What does that say about blog readers?

But every once in a while I look at the stats that say where in the world my readers are. And just this week I had readers in Latvia, Russia, India, Balarus, Israel and Trinidad and Tobago! What? I have been to Latvia, but it was 11 years ago, so I don't know if people there actually know me. And I know who my readers are in India, the UK, Serbia, Brazil and France. (Hello friends!) But the rest are beyond me. I guess its just random people who some how come across my blog. I'm not sure how that works. I spend entirely too much time reading blogs and Facebook stats from people I know, I don't have time to wander around and read from people I don't know. But I think its neat! It makes me realize in some sense how small the world is becoming and yet how big it really is. I didn't get email until I was out of college and just to see how much things have changed, how I can communicate with people all over the world in the blink of an eye, is crazy to me.

It also makes me realize that even though I don't have a huge following, each person that reads this blog for whatever reason, God may have brought by for a purpose, and I need to take seriously what I am writing about. I want His name to be renown. So even if my most read post this week was on couponing, maybe those sweet people stuck around for a minute and read about Him and what He is doing in my life. That is my prayer.

Psalm 96:1-3
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Potty Training, Take Two

So we've been potty training in our house now for a few months, and I thought we had made great progress. I thought we had #1 down to a science (we won't talk about #2). But we've had lots of accidents this last week or so, simply out of laziness in my opinion. I made the mistake this morning of telling my sweet one that if he had an accident at school today, I would have to come pick him up, hoping that would scare him into submission. Nope. Ten o'clock got a call. Now what? I really wish I hadn't said that, but I did, so I have to follow through because I'm really big on that, so back up to school I went. He was not happy. I was not happy. It was a wake up call for both of us. For him, because he realized this is serious. And me, because I realized I haven't been consistent enough. We've both been lazy. So we are starting from scratch. We headed for Starbucks for me, and then to Dollar Tree for him. He picked out a little notebook, some star stickers and some Blue's Clues stickers. When he goes #1, he gets a star sticker for his notebook. Three star stickers, and he gets a Blue sticker. So far, so good. I have to be consistent about taking off the pull up after nap, and being willing to take him every 30 minutes if that's what it takes. Now #2 is another story. We have toys waiting for when that happens, and a promised poo-poo dance, which I will make up on the fly. I can only dream of that day!

New Mercies...

I had a really rough day yesterday. So first I called my momma, and she talked me through it and her last words were, "Remember His mercies are new every morning!" Thank you for that. Then last night, I saw my sweet friend Cari was on FB, so I dumped my day on her for a minute (love friends who let you dump your day on them), and her last words were "Remember His mercies are new every morning!". Well, thank you for that! So I went up to bed and thought I might like to look that verse up to read it for myself. When I found it, I almost wept with just an overwhelming sense of His sweet love and faithfulness! And I slept wonderfully! And yes, today is a new day filled with His wonderful love, grace, compassion and mercy for me. Hope these verses help you today!

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3:22-26

Monday, October 03, 2011

European Foods Part 1 - Budapest

I thought I would write a quick blog post with pictures about some of the foods we ate on our European adventures. But after going through my pictures, I realized it would be way too much for one post. So here is part 1. Hope you're hungry!

Budapest:

We didn't actually eat this, but I couldn't help but take a picture of this lovely item we found in the local market. We laughed about it for days!

This was an amazing pastry we found at the market. Basically a hotdog made with a pastry, and two kinds of cream on the inside. Trey, Randi, J and I all tried to share it, but it was oozing out all over, so we were laughing hysterically while trying to enjoy it.

And this was the sweet girl who sold it to us and then laughed hysterically at us trying to eat it. We came back another day to get another one, but alas, the market was closed. Very sad.

Pictures do not do this justice. We found this restaurant and ordered. The table next to us got their food first, and we were shocked by the serving sizes. Then our food came. The four of us could have shared one of our meals. It was all delicious, but crazy amounts of food. People were stopping walking down the street to take pictures of every one's food.

This was Jason's shish-kabob. He did a fairly good job of eating it all.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Waiting

I was reading some scriptures the other day about waiting on the Lord and started thinking about all the things we have to wait for in life. There are the minor things, like waiting in line at the drive through, in line at the grocery store, waiting for that guy to call, waiting for bedtime, waiting for the cookies to be done. There are the middle ground things, like waiting on a ACT test result, waiting on him to propose, waiting for a vacation to arrive, waiting for your husband to get home from a long trip. And then there are the major things, like waiting on a lab result, waiting on a loved one to pass away, waiting to get pregnant, waiting for the baby to be born, waiting for a college acceptance letter. Lots of opportunities to wait.

I was thinking about how most of the things we wait for are out of our control. We feel like we are waiting on a person to do what they have to do so we can get our results. Or are we are waiting on the hand of God. These are some of the verses I was reading.

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 33:20 We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

Psalm 130:6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Isaiah 26:8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

These are only some of them! I know if you read the context, some of the verses are referring to us waiting on the Lord to return, but most are just waiting on Him to move in some way. And I realized most of those things listed above that we wait on, we really aren't waiting on a person. We are waiting on the Lord. If He wanted us to have the result sooner, He could have that person move faster. The timing of getting married and having children, when we trust Him, that is entirely in His timing. Waiting on getting test results or getting job interviews or college acceptance letters, I am believing that those things are in His hands too. We aren't really waiting for people, we are waiting for Him to allow those people to do what they need to do. I don't know if this makes any sense. I just had joy when realizing that nothing that comes to me hasn't already come through His hands first. His timing is perfect, even when I am impatient. I can wait on things expectantly, with hope, patience, strength and desiring for His name to be renown.