Thursday, April 29, 2010

Could this be??

I have known from the moment I met my man that God had amazing plans for him.

Plans bigger than either of us could ever imagine.

He has a rare quality that I can't quite even explain....but as soon as you meet can't help but like him.

I said "I do" on May 30, 1998 gladly but I had no clue what life would hold for us.

I did know that I would be happy with him.

It is almost 12 years later and I am still really happy....with him.

Well, now the "bigger plans than either of us could imagine" have become a reality.

Shep qualified today to run for State Representative of Ga District 14.

I am so proud.

This has happened so fast but in many ways we feel God has been quietly preparing us for a long time. Whatever happens....we can say that God has truly overwhelmed us. For anyone to think that we could serve in this way is truly a compliment to our Lord. May He alone receive that glory. Shep and I know too well where we would be without the grace of God.

So...could this really be?

Yeah. I think so.

Monday, April 26, 2010


It is Monday morning and I think it is safe to say that I am finally waking up fully after digesting the rich food that my soul was able to digest on Saturday.

I have one word to say about the whole day: HEAVY.

The topic was HEAVY.

Beth brought a message that was no doubt inspired by the Holy Spirit that left me reeling and affirmed at the same time.

The umbrella topic was a spring board from her new book, So Long Insecurity, and including the simulcast locations.....over 300,000 ladies tuned in to have their toes stepped on and their hearts healed with God's love.

The Presence of God was also HEAVY.

As I sat in my seat watching the countdown and waiting for everything to begin....I could just feel the anticipation in the air. I couldn't wait to praise Him! I couldn't wait to enter into His Presence! I couldn't wait to watch Him work in those around me. I couldn't wait to feel His touch.

I wasn't disappointed.

No sooner than the first note of the first song was played... my eyes began to spill over with tears that I didn't know were so close.

I praise you Lord from the depths of this once depressed and beat down heart. I am alive in You. I am free in You. I never knew that I would want to talk to You first in the morning and last before going to sleep. I live to please You. I desire to know You more. Thank you for pin pointing my insecure trigger points. Thank you for giving me the grace to overcome any insecurity I may have.

"When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst."
Lamentations 3:28
The Message

Friday, April 23, 2010


I get to head down to First Baptist Woodstock tomorrow for some serious teaching by Beth Moore....and some kicking praise and worship by Travis.

Do I ever need it??!!??

Shopping used to do this for me. It is sad, but really true.

I have told people repeatedly that if I could have any job on earth...I would be a singer.

My next pick for a job would be a professional shopper. (Yes, there are such jobs. I love dressing people. I do this for a few of my close it!)

Don't get me wrong. I still love to shop...especially if a bargain is to be had. But, these days I prefer sitting under the anointed teaching of God's Word. It thrills me like finding a great pair of shoes 80% off and the good part is I never get buyer's remorse and His Word never goes out of style.

Anyway, I am just antsy.

I am overcome with expectation for a word from my Lord.

I also just love being in the midst of hungry women seeking God with all of their hearts. Sometimes when I attend these kinds of events I just become a spectator. I just take it all in with my eyes and ears. I wonder if God in heaven feels as overcome as I do as He takes in the praises of His girls. It is the most beautiful sight. (I am sure I freak some women out because I seriously do stare...but not in a bad way...I just love watching thousands of women kneel, cry, raise their hands, fall on their faces, and lift their voices.)

We women live everyday striving to do better, be better, look better, work harder, understand more...but for these moments all together...we are the same:
humble servants soaking up the lavish love from a Holy God.

We don't have to be wife, mother, daughter, aunt, friend, co-worker, niece, or anything else. Our only obligation is to receive from the One who makes us whole.

I am ready.

"How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!

He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of stars
and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit."
Ps. 147 1,3,4-5

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Her five year old faith

This past Saturday Ava and I were discussing her favorite flip-flops.
She outgrew most of her flip-flops from last year. And...because they are very cheap...I have bought her several different colors for this year.
(they are a summer staple around here)
She told me that the purple ones were her favorite and that the pink ones were just ok. In fact, I could just let Caroline have the pink ones.
As nice as that was, (Ava giving Caroline her rejects) I told her that until God healed Caroline she couldn't really wear flip flops.
Ava whirled around with her little hands on her hips and said, " mean WHEN God heals Caroline!"
And I said, "Ava, you are right baby. WHEN God heals Caroline."
I stand corrected!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Even when it hurts...

Part of the human experience is pain...

Yet somehow when we are hit head on with it....we seemed surprised...and even angry.

These days I personally deal with pain every day. I am sure many of you do too.

Physical rheumatoid arthritis is out of control making even simple movements (gripping my steering wheel, screwing on a sippy cup top, or buttoning my pants) seem impossible to do.

Emotional pain....watching others around me struggle with loss (financial, loved ones, sickness), holding hope alive for my Caroline when each day seems more hopeless than the day before.

Spiritual pain...dealing with my sin, falling into pits of insecurity, not praying when I should, questioning God as His child and not getting answers.

Cultural pain....earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, drug use, child abuse....

Pain, as terrible as it is, has proven in my life to be God's most useful tool.

It makes me yearn for Him.
It makes me depend on Him.
It makes me search the Word for His promises.
It bends my knee a little easier.
It tenders my heart toward others.
It sees other's pain too.

I ran across a cool scripture that resonated with me today...

Psalm 15
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things will never be shaken.

Pain is gonna come. Pain may even stay for a while.

However, we have taken an oath to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

We can still have pain (indescribable) and yet not be shaken.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Standouts from Spring Break

We loaded up the kids and went to South Georgia for a few days over Spring Break. It was such fun and a ton of work. Any of you with kids know that.....but I wanted to post a few standout memories for me to remember and you to enjoy.

1. Tender moment with my man....
Shep and I have been married for almost 12 years. We are crazy about each other and gushy to a fault. I have gotten to be beside him through many things. I can personally testify to many wonderful highs and I have held his hand through some mighty hard lows. These last two years have been especially hard. I have watched Shep stand strong for our family while his business and the economy has slumped to hit us harder than we could have ever imagined. It seems like each month that passes leaves us scratching our heads harder than the month before wondering how we are gonna make it. Through in all.....and I mean ALL....Shep hasn't moved. If anything, He honors God more. He prays more. He speaks through his faith more. I stand amazed. I learn so much from him. The harder life gets (and each day throws more at him than I can stand to watch sometimes) the more Jesus I see get squeezed out. What a man!
Anyway, we shared a moment that I will never forget this past Thursday evening. He is my best friend. He trusted me with something that he would not dare trust with any other. I was honored and so moved by the strength and sweetness that I witnessed. Only he and God will ever know what it meant to me. If the rest of the trip has been a total waste....that MOMENT with Shep would have been worth it all.

2. 4 Wheeling with the kids
We would usually wait until Zeke went down for a nap and then we would pile onto that 4 wheeler and go. It was Ava up front, then Shep, Caroline sandwiched in and then me. We rode for hours and saw many sights....turkeys, raccoons, snakes, crop dusters planes in the sky, huge tractors, and Indians relics. Both of the girls loved it! The sun was bright and the sky blue....adventure was around each turn....

3. Zeke finding mud
Our weather was beautiful every day....the high was mid 70's and sunny. It did rain (hard, even hailed) on Thursday for about 3 hours. With only dirt roads to ride can imagine the mud puddles that were formed. Zeke was too cute finding them. He just tromped through enjoyed the splashing sound and he would shoot his little eyes over to me to see if I would stop his fun. Of course I didn' then he went from splashing to yes, slipping and falling in the fresh mud. He didn't enjoy his outside bath from a water hose!

4. Caroline's time out
Our first night was tumultuous to say the least. Once we got everyone settled in their beds, there was much crying and whining. This lasted for quite some time. For went on til about 1 am. After many warnings and feeble attempts to quiet her (this was a tiny cabin and everyone else could hear her) Shep had indeed HAD ENOUGH. He lifted her out of bed and took her out to the car and put her in her car seat for time out. I came out and stood beside him and looked up at the stars. We laughed to ourselves (as only parents can do) about how stubborn this little girl can be. Finally she relented and let us know that she was ready to try to go in and sleep. I will say that Shep's ingenious trick of time-out in the car set the standard for the rest of the trip. If Caroline tried to start pitching a fit...all you had to do was just mention the car time-out and she stopped. Kudos to you Shepard!!

5. Deana singing in the car
Some of our dearest and best friends in the world went with us. Derrick and D (my name for her) and their children took to South Georgia like pigs to slop. They were up for anything. We had fun tromping through the woods going to the waterfall and then searching the King field for arrowheads and Indian relics. My sweetest memory though would have to be listening to D sing her version of "You are my Sunshine" and then "He's got the whole world in His hands". Derrick and D were great sports as they rode in the back of Shep's durango holding kids with muddy feet and dividing snacks as Shep drove over bumps that would sometime make their heads hit the ceiling. D would tell you that she doesn't sing very well....I will tell you that it was sweet music to my ears. She is always willing to make the best out of any situation. She sang to our kids and then they joined in making it even sweeter.

Our trip was full of simple fun....laying outside on blankets, throwing the football, finding the tall oaks, watching a hail storm, listening to old and new family tales, eating delicious food, listening for turkeys, watching for deer, and just being together was like medicine for my soul.

Father God you alone give blessings. I received more than my share this past week. I love you and I am filled with gratitude over memories made and moments shared. Thank you for being there in the midst of it with us. I love you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

pgs. 120-121

We had a beyond gorgeous Easter weekend.

I don't know when we have had more perfect weather.

It wasn't hard to look around at the beauty to remember Who it is that makes it all possible.

I can't wait to post some Easter pics...but that will be on a later post.

Today I want to just talk about 2 pages out of "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan.

"I think a lot of us need to forget about God's will for my life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit's leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today's decisions.
It is easy to use the phrase 'God's will for my life' as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It's much less demanding to think about God's will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It's safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day."(pg. 120)

"We forget that we were never promised a twenty-year plan of action; instead, God promises mulitple times in Scripture never to leave or forsake us." (pg. 120)

"...I think dwelling on God's plan for the future often excuses us from the faithful and sacrificial living now. It tends to create a safe zone of sorts, where we can sit around and have spiritual conversations about what God might have planned for our lives. aThinking, questioning, and talking can take the place of letting the Spirit affect our immediate actions in radical ways. God wants to see His children stake everything on His power and presence in their lives. Nowhere in Scripture do I see a 'balanced life with a little bit of God added in' as an ideal to emulate." (pg. 121)

Read and let soak that soak in for a while....

Dang it hurt my feelings....