Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Wayward Friend or Child

Who is a score keeper? Who is a keeper of wrongs? I have to admit early on in my marriage not only was I a score keeper, but after arguing with attorneys all day, I took that skill home and would annihilate any argument my husband might have tried with me. I realized once during the middle of an argument when I was on point number two just what I was doing.

Today as part of my quiet time, I went to and read the verses for today. I chose to read it in The Message. Ezekial 20 talks about God and how His children rebelled against Him. More than once it reads, "I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in force there in Egypt. Then I thought better of it. I acted out of who I was, not by how I felt." (OH, Lord, I want to act out of whose I am instead of how I feel!) God is the ultimate score keeper. In another Bible study I read today, it said God didn't explain Himself. He let the repercussions fall as they may or allowed the problem to work itself out in instances.

Time after time the children of God rebelled. Then the next generation arose, and they rebelled time after time. God got His fill and ended up showing His strength and flexing His proverbial muscle. Even God reached His maximum tolerance level with His chosen children. They were out from under His protection. He separated them, spread them apart, and then His sword went into motion. I don't pretend to know what it's like to have a child go away from the way of God, and I hope I never have to because I've seen heart-broken mommas and the grief caused by a wayward child. Sometimes it's not a child. Sometimes it is a spouse or friend.

I would like to encourage you to read James 5. It talks about our speech and how we are to speak to one another, and then I challenge you to claim James 5:17, "The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (The Message) I absolutely love that verse.

Please read the words to a Casting Crowns' song "Prayer for a Friend": (Pray it for your friend or child who needs to return to God).

    Lord, I lift my child to You.

    I've done all that I know to do.


    Lord, I lift my child up to You.

    Complicated circumstances have clouded her view.


    Lord, I lift my child up to You.

    I fear that I won't have the words that she needs to hear.

    I pray for Your wisdom, oh, God, and a heart that's sincere.

    I know she means much more to You.

    So, Lord, I lift my child up to You.


    I want so much to help her, but this is something she has to do.

    Lord, I lift my child up to You.

    There's a way that seems so right to her.

    But You know where that leads.

    She's becoming a puppet of the world, too blind to see the strings.

    Lord, I lift my child up to You.

God is in the miracle-working business, and this is the season for miracles. It's also the season to believe.

Love to you all,



Monday, November 23, 2009

What Are Your Traditions and Family Recipes?

I would love to get some ideas from you. What are some of your holiday traditions? What are some of your favorite recipes? We have a Beth Moore book to give away.

One of our traditions I started after a friend told me she did it. When she would set up the Nativity Scene, she wouldn't put out the Baby Jesus. Baby Jesus would come out Christmas morning. They would sing "Happy Birthday," and it helped them focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

How do you keep your focus and your family's focus on the real meaning of the holidays whether it is Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Help me out, ladies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Choose Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:1-3

I love the word "joy." As a matter of fact, if Patrick were to say we could adopt again (after I picked myself up off the floor and had him repeat himself then write it in blood), I would heavily consider the name "Joy." If not for a first name, most definitely the middle.
 Do you know when you appreciate joy the most? During a trial or after a trial or difficult time in your life. The depth of joy can be directly related to how deep the trial or difficult time through which God has delivered you.

My family loves to laugh. We laugh at each other. We look for things to laugh at. Storytelling that makes others laugh is a gift of my daddy's. We find humor in the things our children do like when Pearce got a "C" in conduct for making "gassy" noises on his arm. But there was a time that we struggled with finding humor.

2007 was a dark year for us, but in January of 2008 we had a celebration party rejoicing that God had allowed us to survive, and He worked it all out for our good. In 2007, we had to search for joy, search for something to laugh about, search for humor. Some of the best pictures of 2007 were when Honey (my mom) brought out her "cranial prostheses" (that's fancy talk for "wigs"), and we let the kids try them on. Pearce looked like a blond, Hispanic Starsky or Hutch, and Madeleine and Erin had a ball. In turn, we found ourselves smiling and then laughing.

Something I've discovered about joy is that people are drawn to it. When I walk around with a smile on my face--a genuine smile--for some reason I get asked, "What are you up to?" They want to know how I got that smile on my face. They want to know why I have a smile on my face.

Smiles are infectious. You can't help yourself. If someone smiles at you, you smile back (Your momma raised you with good manners, didn't she?).

 Since starting this women's ministry, more and more women are opening their hearts and sharing their burdens. We are connecting these women to other women to encourage and pray for them. But the bottom line is that joy is a choice. Sometimes it is down-right hard, if not difficult, to get out of the bed in the morning because of all the weight on your shoulders. Sometimes it is difficult to leave that relationship at the feet of Jesus. Sometimes it is difficult to get up and do the same thing day after day feeling unappreciated, unvalued, uncherished. It is then that we have to CHOOSE JOY.

 In 2007, my sister and I surprised my mom with something or someone at every chemo treatment she received. I don't tell you that to pat myself on the back. I tell you that because that was a way we CHOSE JOY. The last chemo session I wanted to find a quartet to go and sing, "Victory in Jesus," but my budget was $0. You know what God provided? A small choir of about 15 people singing praise and worship songs while she received her last round of chemo. Truth be known, before it was all said and done, several nurses had joined in, family members of other patients had joined in, and some of the patients on that ward had joined in. They were making a choice--choice to exercise JOY.

 Whatever your excuse is as to why you don't have joy, throw it out the window. Throw it out! Daddy says, "Excuses are like bellybuttons; everyone has one." Get rid of your excuse and choose joy.

 Joyfully His Daughter,


Friday, November 13, 2009

Are You Where You Are Supposed to Be?

"There's a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again – it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak." Proverbs 14: 23-13 The Message

Have you ever been toodling along in life thinking everything is just ducky when there is a snag or a bump in the road that rattles you out of your state of unawareness? Has God ever used someone who He obviously brought into your life for a reason in order to snap you back into His reality?

How often has contentment in my life allowed me not to see what God was wanting me to see. How often has complacency in my spiritual life cheated me of being a blessing to someone else and even receiving a blessing. Contentment and complacency may appear benign but it is the beginning of malignancy that leads to stagnation in our lives. As Pastor Rick once said, "That's a pool of water I don't want to swim in." Give me the Living Word. Give me the Word that is God-inspired and speaks to me in ways I am not always aware of.

It's not enough to come to church on Sunday morning. It's not enough for us to have quiet times with God because if truth be known, if our walk is as it should be and we are having that quiet time with God daily, we will be producing fruit. We will be actively involved in our churches using our spiritual gifts and talents He has so graciously and generously provided in order to serve others as Christ did. There is a way that seems right to man, but it will lead to death. Actions are not the way we get to heaven, but they are result of the work that God is doing in us. What do your actions say about God's working in you? What are my actions saying about God's work in my life?

Ladies, you are too precious to God, and I don't want you to miss out on one blessing He has in store for you. Find your place of service and get thee there and serve Him with your whole heart.

Love ya'll,



Saturday, November 7, 2009

When Peace Is What You Need ("When Peace Like a River")

Has anyone ever stood on your last nerve? There are days when I feel like someone isn't only standing on it, but they are wearing cleats jumping up and down on it!  There is a constant assault, a barrage of stimuli, people, or junk wearing you down sometimes a little bit at a time and at others it is taking chunks from your heart and mind causing rock slides of emotions, instability, and stress.

P  E  A  C  E

Do you ever crave peace? "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 'It is well. It is well with my soul'."

Peace. I desire peace.

I love having one-to-one encounters with women because it allows them to share their heart with me and trust me with what they are going through. Ladies, I don't take it lightly or light-heartedly. Your confidences I keep. But one thing that has been a common thread throughout this week with the women I've met or talked to is the trials they are going through, the difficulty. John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble." (Ain't that the truth?) "But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD."  (Praise the Lord!)

There is victory and peace in Christ. What we go through in this life is temporary. It is but for a season. (Granted some of those seasons feel like the drought will last forever, or in Louisiana the floodwaters will last forever, but in truth, it doesn't.) I Peter 3:11 says I must "seek peace and pursue it." If we are seeking and pursuing peace, can we have our focus on other things like the problems and the things that weigh us down? He also says if we will seek Him we will find Him (MT7:7). He is the perfector or finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). He is the one who provides the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

Peace is a process.

But once we seek Him and pursue Him who gives peace then we have to be willing to release our grip on what is causing us grief, turmoil difficulty and trouble. We have to release it to Him and trust that He knows what is best and that He, and HE ALONE, will work it all out for our good (Rms 8:28).  We have to be willing to give it up, lay it down, and when we do, we find rest (Matt 11:28-30). We have to trust in order to find peace. Does that scare any of you?

Philippians 4:7 says, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Peace affects your heart AND your mind, and the only one who can provide that to you is your Maker, your heavenly Father. I don't know about you, but my mind is a scary place because I can fester, mull, fret and all sorts of things that are not peaceful. I have to release it. Lay it back down at the foot of the cross. Tell God I trust Him, and it is well with my soul that He is in control.

Then the last part of the peace process is to be thankful. Finding something to be thankful for during the difficult times can be difficult at best sometimes, but Colossians 3: 15 says, " Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." Be thankful. Paul wrote that in all things we are to give thanks...that, girlfriend, can be hard to do at times, but it is a crucial part of having peace.

Thank you, God, for bringing me through. Thank you, God, for providing. Thank you, God, for never leaving me nor forsaking me even when I get stuck or try to work it out on my own. Thank you, God, for your unconditional love and forgiveness. Thank you. Living a life of gratitude leads us to be able to say "It is well with my soul." 

 "It Is Well"   -- Awesome  -- Please click on link

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Amazing Stories (Encouragement)

We have some of the most phenomenal women in our church. Just since I started leading the Women IN Ministry, I've had opportunities to meet women one-on-one and hear their stories. EVERY WOMAN HAS HER OWN STORY! You have your own story. And I find each story and each woman fascinating.

Some women have endured abuse, divorce, addiction, defeat, neglect, grief, loss of a child, illness, and so many things that would blow your mind if you heard, and yet they don't know how awesome their own story is. The women who have been bold enough to trust me with their stories always include how God brought them through it, how they can now see God's hand working it out for her good. That gives me goose bumps. Our God is alive and working it out in our lives every day if we just WAKE UP! (To quote Pastor Rick)

Then I am so honored when these women tell me they are willing to share their stories with another woman who may be going through a similar situation. I love that. How generous our women are. How generous our God is.

If you have a story you are willing to share with another woman who may be going through the same thing, I'd love to talk to you or you can write me at

In all of our journeys, in all of our stories along the way we have all needed encouragement. Haven't we? I know I have. There have been times when I couldn't find anything to be thankful for, and God was faithful to provide someone to stand in the gap for me. Then He was faithful and provided someone along the way to encourage me.

Ladies, I don't know about you, but there are some Sunday mornings when I am not in the frame of mind to go into worship. I've had a hard, trying week. I've had to referee at least one fight that morning before leaving the house. I'm sure I've torn the house apart looking, searching for the boy's shoes or underwear. And the truth is I'm just worn slap thin. If that is you or if that is a girlfriend sitting beside you during Sunday school, discretely step out of your Sunday school class and head to the Women IN Ministry office.

The Women IN Ministry office is the office across the foyer from Sunni's large desk. This office is going to be open, and there is going to be a growing, godly lady who will be in there to listen to you, to pray with you, and to encourage you. It takes only about 15 minutes, maybe 20 at the most.

Will you have the courage to share you heart with another woman? Will you allow her to encourage you? Wouldn't you get more out of worship if your heart and mind were focused and encouraged? Yes, it would.

Your story, your relationship to God is precious. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement along the way. I hope you take this opportunity to do something for yourself. You deserve it.