Thursday, September 06, 2007

God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called

I remember when I first read this quote. It was a blessing to me because I felt completely unqualified to complete the task at hand. I first read it when my pastor asked me to start a Christian school for our church. I never realized how heavily I would be leaning on God when I undertook that task. But, somehow he gave me exactly what I needed to do what I had been called to do.

Still four years later I am holding to that quote only this time in a new area that I have been called to. In the eyes of man, I may not have the ability or the qualifications to be where He has placed me. But because of my unqualified status God has required that I lean on Him. In leaning on Him, I rely on His ability not my own. Because it is only through God's ability that His people can be loved the way He desires us to be loved. On my own, I can't be who I am called to be but through Him I can! On my own I can do nothing. But, He qualifies me to do what I have been called to do little by little. Step. By. Step.

Countless leaders in the Bible did not have the qualifications that man thought they should've had. Moses, David, Peter, and the list goes on. However, what they did have was the desire to serve God. In the end, he gave them each the qualifications they needed to serve His people.

So, if you feel you don't have the "qualifications" to be what man expects you to be - remember you are not serving man. You are serving God! He will give you the ability you need!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Living Beyond the Here and Now

As I sat there listening to her weeping and telling of her pain, something hit me. Actually it was like a bolt of lightening. It was almost as if I had been looking in a mirror because I could feel what she was going through. It was just weeks ago that I was going through the exact same anguish only the pain had been brought on by someone entirely different. I knew why. I could never have been able to feel her pain had I not gone through the same situation. I could not have ministered to her as effectively had I not really known how her heart was breaking. It was at that moment that God reminded me that every trial has a purpose and there are lessons to be learned from each struggle.

My humanness questions every struggle and every hurt. But, God has a great purpose for everything we go through. The trial may be small or it may be epic in proportion but each trial nonetheless has a lesson. Why do we endure hardship? Why do we lose loved ones? Why the pain? There is a lesson. When we learn that God gives us grace to endure and trust Him to give us strength to handle the load we gain through the pain.

God reminds me that He knows where I am, and He has a plan for my life. I believe He expects me to live beyond the here and now. When a trial comes our way we should look beyond the trial. We should look to Him and to how He will use that trial as part of His plan. He expects us to realize that one day someone will need to know that we've been there and that we made it through!

What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.
Oscar Wilde

Thursday, June 14, 2007

This is what we've been up to.......

First thing this month we had Anna's kindergarten graduation. Anna was so thrilled to have Nana and Papa come visit us and we were blessed to spend an unanticipated extra day with them. We had such a good time and we really miss being close to them!

Then we celebrated her 6th birthday - for almost a week! We celebrated with Nana and Papa, with Taylor,

Taylor and Anna at ChuckEChesse

and at home with a cake.

I can't believe my baby is six!

Then, it was time to send Simeon off to church camp for the first time. I definitely had a harder time letting him go than he had leaving me!

For all of those who have asked, he is having a great time and is NOT ready to come home yet.
So, my worries were for nothing - as usual!

Simon, Simeon, Matthew, and Alex

So, as you can see our June has been BUSY already - busy but fun! I don't anticipate any slow downs in our schedule but I am learning to be flexible and enjoy the excitement (as much as possible).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mothers and Daughters at Oak Park

We had a great time at our "Day in Paradise." There were over 100 ladies who attended this fun filled event! Thank you everyone who helped make it so special! I love you all!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Do you want to be used of God?

I will never forget the first time I felt the call of God on my life. I was too young to really understand what that call would entail. Nonetheless, I decided that I would do whatever I could to work in the kingdom of God. Mind you the key word is WORK. I say work, because the call of God is not about pomp and position. The call of God is service. Service to the Creator and service to His people.

Once I realized that I couldn't run from God's calling, I begin to make myself available to Him in every way. To work wherever and whenever. See, I was always taught that when you see something that needs to be done you should just do it - not wait to be asked. That is how I began working in the kingdom of God. No one had to ask me to be a part. I just found a place to work and gave it my all. I truly believe that the willingness on my part to do whatever needed to be done opened more doors than I ever expected. Not that I am anything special or anyone extraordinary. It's just that I wasn't looking to be a leader. I was looking to be a servant of God.

After deciding to serve God in every aspect I also learned that God's timing was not the same as mine. What He has for us is greater than what we could anticipate for ourselves. Too many times we get in a hurry and try to rush God and walk through a door He didn't open. As creatures of control most of us like to open our own doors. Thankfully, God has been in control of opening the doors of my life. Every door He has opened has led me to a new and adventurous realm of service. When God opens the door it makes every storm easier and giving up does not become an option.

I truly believe that God wants to use willing vessels. If you want to be used of God you must relinquish your self will and be willing to work wherever there is a need without being asked. That may mean cleaning the church. It may mean fixing a meal for a family in need. It may mean mowing the church lawn. It may mean menial labor more than recognition. It may mean practicing His will more than preaching. But, if you are truly called of God it won't matter. Because you will have a servant's heart.
Do you really want to be used of God?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Life Lesson #8

Live One Day at a Time

Growing up in southern Mississippi it is a given that I heard a lot of Southern Gospel music. But, there is one song that comes to mind over and over again. That song is,
One Day at a Time. I don't particularly remember the verses as well as I do the chorus which goes something like this:

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
To do everyday what I have to do.

Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus

And tomorrow may never be mine.

Lord help me today, show me the way
One day at a time.

This song tends to bring life into perspective for me. Because it reminds me that we can't go backwards, we shouldn't borrow from tomorrow's troubles, and that we must depend upon Him for direction. No amount of worrying about tomorrow will make it easier to handle.Only trusting in God will help us deal with the situations that lie ahead.

I had someone ask me not long ago how they were going to deal with problems in the future. All I could think to tell them was to take it one day at a time and lean on Jesus. Because, He knows what tomorrow holds. He knows what we are capable of handling. So, we must trust Him with ALL of our hearts and not lean on our own understanding.

When the to do lists pile up and the weeks and months seem too busy to handle just remember this song and trust the Saviour to help you take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Life Lesson #7

Face Your Fears

Someone once told me that the only way to overcome the thing you fear is to face it head on. What? Face the thing that scares me the most? Rejection, failure, uncertainty? Absolutely. Face all of these head on.

God's word tells us that perfect love casteth out all fear so facing those fears with the love of God will only cause them to diminish. That means stepping out in faith to trust the One and only who is able to help fight the battle. Letting go of self incrimination and holding on to the Hand that won't let go. God has given us more anointing and power to face those mind crippling fears than the enemy wants us to realize. We must allow Him to work through us to overcome our fears. Remember, when we are powerless He is powerful!

Thank you Lord, that I don't have to be paralyzed by my fears. You have given me Your promises that I can overcome.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Life Lesson #6

Be Willing to Pay the Price

All wish to possess knowledge, but few, comparatively speaking, are willing to pay the price.” - Author Unknown

I am of the opinion that we can make time for whatever we want to do. In doing so, sometimes we have to sacrifice one desire over another. But, if it is important enough to us we will be willing to pay the price.

Everyone is busy and most of us live with a hectic schedule, but we make time for the things that are important to us. If playing a musical instrument is important to you, you will make time for practice. If writing a book is important to you, you will make time to become an author. If serving God is important to you (and I hope it is), you will make time for Him and His work. If exercising and being healthy are top on your priority list (I need to work on this one), you will make time for both disciplines. If you are determined to finish your college education, you will study and endeavor to be a successful student. (Goodbye sleep :))

Success is many times built upon how willing we are to discipline ourselves and pay the price. It matters not where you came from or how you were raised, contrary to popular belief. What matters is where your passion lies. How willing are you to pay the price???

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Life Lesson # 5

Take Time to Rest

Today was a very novel Saturday in that we didn't have anything on the schedule. So, we took full advantage of the freedom and rested. There was plenty of time for household duties, and then I found therapy in just listening to the rain and the kiddos playing.

Too many people in this competitive industrialized society of ours feel that rest is a waste of time. They believe that if they aren't busy then the world will cease to exist. But I find that the more rested I feel the more kind, compassionate, and understanding I can be. The more rested I feel the more I am able do what God has called me to do. Sometimes we have to lay the busyness aside and allow God to refresh us.

We may also need to realize that God did not mean for us to outdo one another with our "to do" lists. I also feel that He wants His children to realize that times of rest are a necessity and will empower us to continue His work. So, take the time to rest and lay aside the guilt for doing so!

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Life Lesson #4

Family Matters

One of my favorite things to do is spend time with these three people....

I have tried to make family time a priority in our lives, no matter how busy we get! Those family times may not necessarily be scheduled or be as consistent as I like, but they are special nonetheless. I want them to know how much I love them and how important they are to me. Time flies too quickly in life and I plan to take advantage of every single minute with my family. With the knowledge of that fact it is my God given responsibility to hold every moment with care because family really does matter!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Life Lesson #3

Accepting Our Differences

Imagine how boring life would be if we were all created exactly the same. Instead our Creator chose to develop each one of us in a very distinct manner. Even siblings, like my brother and I, contain many genetic likenesses yet still we are two distinctly different beings. He and I both have come to understand that I will never think like him and he will never think like me. We have learned to accept our differences! God created us each with a different purpose and He wants us to accept that!

We will not prosper if we our constantly competing and expecting to be like everyone else around us. Nor will it benefit us to expect everyone else to be like us or think like us. We must instead realize that we are all different. Remember, variety is the spice of life!

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made..(Psalm 139:14)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Life Lesson #2

Finding Forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of those necessary commodities in life. Without having this staple we find ourselves weighed down with cares and guilt that we weren't meant to bear. Thankfully God has provided a way out of these unnecessary burdens. All we have to do is lay them at His feet and He will allow the blood to wash them away.

Unfortunately, we often find it hard to forgive ourselves and this weight becomes one we don't want to lay down. In addition to refusing to let go of our own faults or failures, we tend to hold on to the mistakes of others. This reluctance to forgive turns into a bitterness that can destroy.

It is up to us to choose to be bitter or better; to be a forgiver and a forgetter. Forgiveness is freeing and allows us to draw closer to God. His desire is for us to find forgiveness and in finding forgiveness we will find peace that cannot be illustrated with mere words.

The first challenge of the day is to forgive yourself and then let go of the guilt. Second, forgive others and ask them to forgive you if need be. Then, sit back and let God do the rest!

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Life's Little Lessons

God has been speaking to me about compiling a short series of thoughts on some of life's little lessons. So, I feel challenged to do this consistently for the next thirty days. I cannot believe I am admitting this to the world but I am gonna give it a shot.

Today's Little Lesson is...

Stop, Look, Listen

We teach our children when they get ready to cross the street to stop, look both ways, and listen. But, when we get ready to cross the streets of life we often fail to follow these imperative instructions. Decisions would be much easier if we would Stop and think about our choices, Look at all the alternatives and the Word of God, and Listen to our Creator. Too many times we get in a hurry and make mistakes because we didn't follow simple life saving directions.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." (Psalm 32:8)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

You Raise Me Up

Finally, I am taking a break from all of the business classes to take something fun. I am taking a class right now called Social Problems. Now, you are probably wondering what does this have to do with her title. Just bear with me as I try to bare my soul......

While reading in my social problems text the other day, I ran across a statement that really impacted me. It was, "people come to see themselves as they think others see them." This is unbelievably true. Our perception of who we are is all too often built upon others' perception of us. Too many times there are those in life who choose to be the sandpaper that smooths our rough edges. Not everyone who sees us sees good in us. There are those who don't value our worth and thus we often start seeing ourselves as less than what God would have us to be. We become blinded to the abilities that God has given us.

Then, there are those that see exactly the opposite. They see that our strengths outweigh our weaknesses and they build our self worth. Fortunately, there have been a few individuals in my life that see me as smarter, stronger, and more capable than I really think I am. Their view of me and their encouraging words helped me strive to become what I felt they saw in me. Those individuals are responsible for helping me overcome many insecurities. I know God's word tells me that I am more than a conqueror and He constantly encourages me with His gentle Spirit. But, thankfully, in addition to what He sees, there are others who have been responsible to create in me a longing to be what I think they see. Kevin, Staci, Annette, Ann, Becky and Bro. Hargrove are just a few who have succeeded in raising me up. There are others but time would fail me to name them all. To you I say thank you - You raise me up! I feel stronger, smarter, and more capable when I am with you.

After contemplating all of this the other day, it became even clearer to me that I want to be the one to raise others up. I want to encourage them to see themselves as strong and capable individuals. I don't want to be the one who breaks down their sense of self worth. I don't want them to feel less than what they are when they are with me. I don't want to ooze cynicism. But, instead I want to be led by God to see others for what He has in store for them. I want to be the spark that lights the fire of boldness in someone to become the person God wants them to be.

Lord, help me to see excellence in every being You have created.
Help me to see their true worth and to look
through Your eyes of love!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

One of the reasons I love Indiana

The Snow!

Yesterday afternoon we watched as 5 or 6 inches of snow covered the ground. It was quite the treat for Linda, my mother-in-law who was visiting with us at the time. Of course my kids were elated. They don't care if there is 1 inch or 6 inches they love playing in the snow.

Simeon and Anna spent their time sledding and building igloos and ended the evening with a nice warm cup of hot chocolate.

Then, Simeon and I got our snow day! He had been praying for six feet but thankfully God was merciful and sent us six inches instead. You know it is cold and snowy when Indiana schools have a snow day.

For those of you who are turning your AC on and enjoying 63 degrees you don't know what you are missing :) We are rolling in the snow in -10 degree windchills! There has got to be a happy medium somewhere - but for now I will enjoy one of the many reasons I love Indiana.

This is winter!

Friday, February 02, 2007

This too shall pass

When I feel a heavy load and know that I can't carry the burdens on my own I am reminded by a gentle Savior that this too shall pass.

In the middle of the turbulence surrounding you
These trying times that are so hard to endure
In the middle of what seems to be your darkest hour
Hold fast your heart and be assured

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass

The Father knows the tears you cry before they fall
He feels your pain, His heart and yours are one
The Father knows that sorrow's heavy chains are strong
But with His strength, you'll overcome

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass

So set your eyes upon the mountain
And lift your hands up to the sky
And let His arms of love surround you
And take you to the other side

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass
Yolanda Adams

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Dangers of Stereotyping People

What you see on the outside is not always what lies beneath the surface. Many today look at others and quickly catagorize them into a mold that has been presumptiously set for individuals in society. This type of stereotypical behavior is detrimental to relationships. We judge and often do so ignorantly.

It is easy to say, "they don't know how it feels to be......" The blanks are then filled in to justify our own behavior. What may not be obvious to us is that the very person being judged does know hurt, abuse, brokenness, poverty and neglect. We rashly make blanket statements to make ourselves feel better.

That is not Christian. That is not what God desires us to do. Any behavior, any thought can be justified if we try hard enough. But, God help those who are always looking to justify bitterness and anger. When we begin to justify every action, that is when we need to look into our hearts and make sure that we are examining ourselves with the Word of God.

What someone looks like on the outside may be what helps them overcome hurts from the past. Individuals who work hard to present themselves as holy and Godly can reach out to those in diverse situations. If God can pick me up and change my life, someone who had nothing, and was completely steeped in bitterness and anger then I know God can help others.

The way I present myself does not keep me from reaching a hurting world. I have been there. I know how it feels to have nothing. I know how it feels to be alone. Our lives are a testimony.

I know, from experience, that God opens the floodgates of Heaven when we have a submissive spirit. When we are willing to submit to His word, to His will, and to His leaders we will find true liberation. Never once have I gone wrong when I submitted. I have seen numerous lives wrecked just because they could not submit.

We must be careful that every action, every word and every careless judgement is correct. God wants us to love and not to be led by bitterness. Bitterness is a cancer that will eat a person's soul. Heaven is too prescious to waste. Be careful. The dangers of steretyping could steal one of God's greatest rewards.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blessed.... but do you want to be broken?

When it comes to blessings I'll admit I am the first one to raise my hand and proclaim that, yes, I am blessed. As a matter of fact it would take me days to pronounce all of the blessings that God has given me. But, when it comes to that deep down touch from God, that blessing that can't be described with words, there must be a brokenness on one side or the other. Most of us don't like being broken. Being broken hurts. However, God in His infinite wisdom knows that it is this brokenness that blesses us again and again.

The brokenness is often needed to smooth out our rough edges. Like it or not we all have rough edges and God uses many different channels to smooth them. He will sometimes break us through relationship issues, illnesses, unkind words, and financial pressures. In the midst of being broken we don't always understand why or what the outcome will be. But God does. Many times we try to run from the brokenness. It was David that said that God is near to those that are broken and He will save them. So, if the brokenness is not followed by blessing, then know that God is near and that it is worth the brokenness.

The following is a song written by one of the members of our church. Though it has only been sung one time, the words are forever ringing in my ears. They remind me that in order to be blessed I must be willing to be broken.

Blessed but I've got to be broken
I fall down on my knees
Blessed but I 've got to be broken
For you alone to please
Consecrate my life Lord
Surround my with Your truth
Blessed but I've got to be broken
To truly worship You.
Words by Bob Truman