Tuesday, May 26, 2009

thoughts and wisdom

I found this weekly wisdom on a great site that I visit frequently, and wanted to share it b/c it holds so much truth.

I always feel compelled to share my inner struggles with others, b/c that is being honest about MY true self. Not to necessarily call attention to it, but to show others that we all have our issues we battle!

It is easy to sit back and judge anothers situations, decisions, lifestyle etc, but that is NOT my job. I think I forget too quickly how it feels to have my face on the other side of judging finger.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:12-13 (NIV)

Copyright 2009 ChristNotes
***What advertising agencies do for their clients, we're called to do for Christ.
You've probably heard these slogans: "Just do it," "Drivers wanted," and "It's everywhere you want to be." And you've almost certainly heard of Nike, Volkswagen, and Visa; however, you probably have never heard of the advertising agencies that coined those slogans: Wieden & Kennedy; Arnold Communications; and Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn.
In a lot of ways, we're supposed to be like those advertising agencies. We are called to proclaim the name of Jesus to the entire world; we're not called to proclaim the name of our denomination, our ministry, our church, or our pastor.

Compare how often you talk about your church or your pastor versus how often you talk about Jesus.
When unbelievers see Christianity, I can't help but wonder how many of them simply see a bunch of denominations fighting about petty issues: Contemporary vs. traditional worship? Drums and guitar vs. organ and hymns? Powerpoint slides vs. hymn book? Jeans and tee-shirt vs. suit and tie?

Instead, wouldn't our testimony to the world be so much better if, with one voice, we proclaimed "Jesus!"? In Romans 15:9, Paul writes, Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name. Paul's singular focus was on making the name of Jesus known throughout the world.

It's not about your church, your ministry, your Bible study, your small group, or your denomination. Your single focus should be on shouting the name of Jesus to all peoples. Your life should be a walking advertisement for the hope, peace, and joy that's available to all people in Christ.***

WOW, impacting and true!
Be a blessing....

Friday, May 8, 2009

My book....ahhh completion!

I am so beyond excited! I got my full manuscript back from the 2nd editor, and I have made all the corrections and I have just a few more little finishing touches, and it is DONE!

Next is title and cover, but those are just the icing on the cake! I really cannot believe that I am finally here. Me and Andy were talking about it last night, and I asked him to honestly tell me if he thought I would ever finish this, and he said no. I agree with him. I may have been working on this for 10 years, but it was never the right time.

God has done some amazing work in my life, and to Him I dedicate it all! Without His loving and protective grace I would not be typing these words! I hope to use this book to help glorify His name, and allow people to see through my story that it is Never to late...God is always waiting on us.

I am nervous (just a little) b/c I am very exposed and raw in my story, but I believe if I wasn't there would be no point at even writing it. I want to be real. I want people to feel each emotion, I don't sugar coat it. Not one bit. I am sure it may make some people angry, but this is MY story. This was how it felt to that little girl (me).

Anyway...i am just over the moon knowing it has finally come full circle! Thanks to all of you that have continued to pray and encourage me...hugs to you all. You all will be the first to know as soon as I get it ready to release!!

My husband....there are no words. I would not have had the courage to get all those police reports, and read them without you. Thank you for trying to protect me...thank you for sticking by my side and showing me how much our Heavenly Father can change us. Without your support I would have never finished this on top of everything else...I love you!
This verse came to my mind as I thought of my “seasons” of life....

For everything there is a season,And a time for every matter under heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die;A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;A time to kill, and a time to heal;A time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh;A time to mourn, and a time to dance;A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;A time to seek, and a time to lose;A time to keep, and a time to throw away;A time to tear, and a time to sew;A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;A time to love, and a time to hate,A time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Love to you all-

Monday, April 20, 2009

Awesome insight

Fail to bring your cares to God, and you are not only saying, "I don't need you" but also, "I don't want you around right now. I'm busy dealing with this problem." As is so often the case, Jesus provides us with the example.

Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, "Sit here while I go on ahead to pray." He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress. He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me." He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine." (Matthew 26:36-39)

Let's first take note of the fact that the night before His greatest trial and suffering, Jesus wants nothing more than to spend time with the Father. Though He must be weary and worn out as His disciples are, there is no greater priority for the Lord than to pray. But what is perhaps more surprising is that Jesus is asking for something He knows He cannot have. When Jesus asks, "Let this cup be taken from me", He is perfectly aware that it is the Father's will for Him to proceed, so why even ask? Jesus speaks these words not to seek a result, but simply to express His anguish and anxiety.

Jesus is not asking for a reprieve; He is asking for comfort. Just as we must do, Jesus is asking His father to be with Him, support Him and give Him the strength to endure what must be done. This is the pattern our prayers must follow. Tell the Lord everything you need and share with Him every care and worry that is on your mind. Don't seek a resolution, but seek God instead and you will receive peace and comfort, along with God's best solution thrown in for free.

It almost certainly won't be the solution you had in mind, and it may not be easy to endure, but it will be the right solution in the long run. --"Delve into Jesus: Devotional (BibleGateway)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Be a blessing and Serve

Luke 17:9-10 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

Well, I should be studying for my finals, doing laundry, working on my book…etc! But I needed to blog…my release and reflection on what God has shown me today.

Me and Andrew had the opportunity to fill in for a couple that usually serve at the Rescue Mission once a month to serve meals. With how hectic life has been, I somewhat faltered when Andrew brought it up, but then I quickly realized that is another opportunity to serve others and show them Christ.

What an unbelievably humbling experience that was. I tried very hard not to show pity, b/c they still need to feel they have self worth. I won’t say it was easy. It broke my heart, but also was a reality check on how many things we all take for granted every day. Driving to the grocery, actually having money to BUY groceries. And how many times do I pull into the gas station just for a fountain pop? So much waste.

I also was able to see what not being able to break cycles, and chains of addiction can do if unresolved. When we feel alone it is easy to turn inward, but we must let our prides go and reach out. That one took me a long time to figure out!

I want my children to experience what I did. It killed me to see young kids coming through there. Survivors. I get it; I was them at one time.

I encourage everyone to take a moment out of your life, and serve even if it is only that one time. It will help to humble you and put your life into a perspective that tends to get lost in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

Serving God
Max Lucado
On one side stands the crowd.
Jeering, baiting, demanding.
On the other stands a peasant.
Swollen lips. Lumpy eye. Lofty promise.
One promises acceptance,
The other a cross.
One offers flesh and flash,
The other offers faith.
The crowd challenges, “follow us and fit in.”
Jesus promises, “follow me and stand out.”
They promise to please.
God promises to save.
God looks at you and asks…
Which will be your choice?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Listen for it..

This week has carried so many different emotions and it is only Tuesday night! Within the last couple of days I have found out that Tre has to have his tonsils, adenoids taken out, and tubes in his ears. I also was informed the 2 day trial for termination of Tre and Aneesa’s mom and dad’s rights, just so happens to fall on December 22 & 23.

The anxiety kicked into overdrive yesterday. I have to be realistic and understand the system does not always do its job, and from what I have had to deal with…let us just say I am not impressed. Reality hit me like a ton of bricks; these kids could go back. What!? After everything, there is a chance? Why yes there is according to our wonderful court system.

As I sat in my room last night shooting off emails, I took a break and read some news on the web. In a matter of minutes I had read how a 2year old in southern Indiana tested positive for meth, and the case worker did NOT remove the child even after the POSITIVE test. The child died 2 weeks later at the hands of his mother for she hit him with a blunt forced object. This my friends is our system working at its finest.

I don’t know what is going to happen. Chelsey won’t even let me discuss it with her b/c she absolutely refuses to let go of the kids no matter what. This could devastate so many in one fail swoop. I am an obsessor and acknowledging that fact helps me to try and focus on not letting it overtake me completely.

Today after Andy got home, Aneesa was sitting on his lap, and I asked her if she knew her bible verse for this week. (she didn’t do so hot last weeks) and she proudly recited it for me verbatim. It was one of those moments you don’t always feel in the day to day grind, but I could only imagine how God was smiling down on her. Reciting His word. Praise God.

Ironically it took me till tonight to have that aha moment. I was reading a book, and it hit me. How appropriate her verse was for this week…I was stressing, struggling, trying to understand that somehow this will all work out, and the verse hit me “Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God."

6 simple words, but words I needed to be reminded of.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Patience is a virtue

How many times do I not react the way I should? How many times do I lose my temper, and say or do something that is so unbelievably unChristlike?

More times than I would like to admit. This last week has been one of the harder weeks in awhile. Trying to get back into a routine with the kids going back to school, finding out that I will have to go to school 3 nights a week this coming quarter(so I can graduate in the spring!!), and just the day to day that occurs in our family.

We are on our second kindergarten for Aneesa b/c of the behavioral issues that we continue to have with her due to the FAS, the post traumatic stress, and the anxiety disorders that she deals with day to day. The majority of the time I grab the bulls by the horn and don’t flinch, this week though I was ready to throw in the towel.

We got a call from the school almost every day, and by Friday by 9 in the morning, we had to pick her up. Just the basic skills that our children take for granted, she does not have. This is the first year of her life where structure, rules, and socialization have become her new way of life. At almost 6 years old, that is a reality that I know overwhelms her.

She became so out of control again, that my patience was gone. I couldn’t do it anymore. Once Andrew got home, I went upstairs to my room and just let the tears flow that had been in check for quite awhile. As a mother we just want to fix things for our kids, we want the best for them, and we want them to be happy and know they are loved. Well on all of those, I decided to give myself a beating on. I felt like I had failed everyone, and I was becoming wrapped in my negativity that I hadn’t seen in a longgg time.

Andrew came up, and said you know we have to take this one day at a time. No more, no less. I know this. I have lived by it for the last 2.5 years, but sometimes someone else has to point it out. I asked him how in the world God forgives us, has an abounding patience, and just doesn’t strangle us when we are clearly not doing His will? It is beyond my understanding. I just need to be faithful, trust Him, and pray.

So simple you say? Obviously not to the stubborn blonde typing on this computer. But by the grace of God I will have tomorrow to try and do it right again.

Psalm 19:14 (New International Version) 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Would you do it again?

Given the opportunity to do anything over again, knowing what you know now, would you make the same choice? There is a reason why we don’t know the future or end results of something until it is done. Some are lessons learned, and some given the opportunity to change our minds would affect so many in a domino effect. Our choices have an end result, whether it is positive or negative. We hold the power sometimes to either roll up our sleeves and feel a little discomfort, or we can stay in our comfort zone b/c change and sacrifice are “too hard.”

My grandma never would accept that excuse, and bless her heart she passed that little piece of knowledge onto me. If everything were easy where is the payoff in that? Easy is not always right, the hard way is not always right; so than how do we know what we are called to do? We tend to complicate the uncomplicated. Why is that? We justify our actions and decisions based on emotions or what “you” did to me or what “he/she” did to me. How many are tossed to the waste side b/c we don’t feel like diving in?

Is your family really that important? Do they know they are? Is God first, and if He is than do you follow His commands when it comes to being there for each brother and sister? Or are you too busy with “life?” Too busy trying to obtain those material things that at the end don’t matter anyway? Will you stand in front of our Lord and Savior and offer him your expensive home? Our fancy cars? Or our expansive lawns, perfectly manicured with that picket fence, and 2.5 dogs? Basketball games, baseball games, lessons of every kind and everything else we cram into our lives?

Am I being sarcastic, yes and no. These are real questions and thoughts to ponder. Do we want to? No, most will read some of this and walk away believing I am insane or on a soap box, well yes I am, and yes I am to both! We always will give it thought, and say you know what “I really do need to cut some of this out”, but we don’t. It is forgotten as quickly as it is thought about. How sad is that? Are we really that important? Do we really believe all this “stuff” will get us where we truly need to be?

The reason for my rant. Multiple reasons. Today I had to go listen to the results of Aneesa’s psychological evaluation, one of the many tests that has been done on her. As I sat there and listened to the doctor (of 20years experience) tell me that Aneesa's IQ is below average, that she is functioning at a 4yr old level, and that the child lives every day in constant fear because of what she has been through, and that because of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (statistical average) her mentality will only reach 7-9yrs old. Even when she is 45! Do you have any idea how much my heart sank? That little girl has been robbed! Why? Choices. There is a 99.9% chance Trevon will be the same coupled with the effects of the autism.

Back to my original question, would I take these kids if I knew than what I know now? As I drove home so many things were running through my head, and that was a big question for me. What if Tre would have been a great football player, but can’t go anywhere with it b/c he will struggle to just understand daily life skills? What possibilities have been taken away from Aneesa? Where is the fairness in this? There are no platitudes that make this better, but what I did realize is God put our family in these children’s lives for a reason. I stand firm on His hope that given the love, stability, and nurturing these kids have a better chance to live “normal lives”. I also told myself to stop complaining about the discomfort of all the changes, and turn that complaining into rejoicing at the opportunity that lies before me in nuturing these kids through faith and love. ( i know "me not complain?" the earth may stop on its axis!!)

I embrace the hope that I have in God that through Him all things are possible. Again I don’t know what the future holds, but does that matter? No, these kids did NOTHING wrong. There is NO excuse that I am willing to listen to of why more people don’t get out there and help. Picture your child living in fear everyday with NOONE to turn to. Is the road going to be rough, definitely, but I have a great husband who has been my biggest supporter standing behind me ready and willing to fight this fight together. I have watched Andrew’s heart and mind change in the last year, and I can’t tell you how lucky I am that his mission is now the same as mine. Finally we are a team, and we can take our experience, strength and hope out to the battlefield and try to touch lives. Bring others and small children to Christ. Isn’t that what we are supposed to be doing in our lives anyhow?

Now as you go back to your life, as i know you will, my words will fade...just as most words do, but the truth remains the same. Live with that.

Ecclesiastes 4:11-13 (New International Version)
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.