Thursday, January 23, 2014


"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  Matthew 28:19-20

Here I go again.

So incredibly nervous.

It will be my 4th trip to St. Vincent Island.  Every other time has been during the summer break.  Every other time has been mostly ministering to the children through Vacation Bible School.

This trip will be ministering to adults. This trip will include, but is not limited to prison visits, school visits, disaster relief, prayer walking and sharing the gospel of Jesus whenever possible.

I am amazed at how badly I want an agenda to cling to. That VBS schedule sure does sound appealing to me.  The control freak in me loves it.  We are scheduled down to the minute.

Instead God has given our team a blank canvas and my bet is that He intends to paint something we can't even imagine with colors our eyes have never seen.

Please pray for us.  Please pray for the people we will meet. Pray for the families we leave here.

God's promise in the verse above is that He will be with us.

On our best day our team is just a bunch of redeemed folks saved by the blood of Jesus.  We are nothing special.  But His Spirit dwells within us...making us holy, righteous and set apart.

May the glory of God rest upon us as we go...
May the power of God equip us as we go...
May the love of God overflow in us as we go...

Going is obedience to His commission.
He honors our obedience.  He delights in our sacrifice.
Every time I think I am leaving to help others and I returned....changed.  

That is His way.

Going gives us the gift.

He alone is the same God that can send missionaries to help and also help the missionaries He sends.

I am in awe of Him.

Lord Jesus~ do your thing.  Amaze us.  Work through broken and weak vessels like you love to do.  Show yourself and keep us close.  Keep us from evil and give us joy in the journey.  My soul longs to bless you Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Tuesday I Totally Blew It

I have written of her before.

She is this woman that looks so much like me.

Same hair.
Same eyes.
Same clothes.
Same scowl.
Same husband and me.

She is the person that comes out with brutal force and makes a mockery of the Christian witness I try so hard to profess.

She came out again this past Tuesday.

Let me set the stage:  our family was supposed to be at the church by 6:30 for new directory pictures to be taken at 6:45.

Caroline had not been feeling well.  She was on medicine for an ear infection but she takes a little longer to fight things off.  My other two precious children did not want any part of the schedule that was working in my head.  They had to be dressed nicely and ready to go by 5:15. The plan was to meet Shep at Chickfila, eat (without getting anything on our clothes), and then head over to the church as the happy, low-stress family that we are...smiles ready and playing at the edges of our lips.

By 5:15 I had managed to get all of the kids dressed. But I wasn't dressed.  I had completely forgotten to shower.  (Sad but true)  God also decided we needed some rain.  Everything I tried on...I hated.  This really never happens to me.  Seriously..I think I changed clothes 6 times and still managed to put on an ensemble I will probably never wear again.  My hair was in total rebellion mode.  And did I mention it was raining?!?  You add humidity to naturally curly hair that it already rebelling and you get hair the size of Texas.

At this point I frantically call Shep and nix the current plan.  He can tell in my voice that the volcano inside of me could blow at any moment.  So he speaks in sweet tones that should've had a calming effect.

But they don't.  I am late. I hate being late. I have big hair.  My kids are annoying me.  (whiny, hungry, and don't feel good)  I hate my outfit. is pouring rain outside.

We hustle to the car.  Everyone gets in and gets buckled.  

We make it to ChickfilA.  I order and tell the kids we will eat when we get to daddy's office. 

It is now 6:15.  We pull into Shep's office. 

My plan is to eat and leave within 15 minutes and have another go at trying to tame the mane, which is, my hair.

Shep comes out and gets Caroline.  Zeke and Ava head into his office.  I come in with the food and set it down.  Shep is going to feed the kids and himself while I attempt hair maintenance.  I spend a total of 3 minutes in the bathroom trying to fix the unfix able.  I get back to his office and Shep has a funny look on his face.

He says, "Um honey they didn't put the kids meals in here."


The other woman, my mean ego, enters this scene.

I really kind of went nuts.
This one statement threw me over the edge.

I yelled something about just get the kids the church.  I am going back to Chickfila to get the food I paid for.

I head back to ChickfilA and get the food and meet them at the church.  The poor folks at the drive thru had my food ready but they could tell I was less than happy. 

It is now time for our picture appointment.

It is still pouring rain.
No one has eaten.
No one wants to smile
AND...did I forget to mention that I have a mission trip meeting that started at 6:30 as well.

We get into the hallway and I sit down to fill out the paperwork.

I am trying so hard to be nice to the kind lady (and church member) trying to help us.

At this point of the story I need to just stop and say that I allowed the events of a bad afternoon dictate how I would treat my husband, children, and poor perfect strangers.

I wish I could tell you that I saw God's light of grace and became a sweet fragrance.

But that didn't happen.

The good news is that the pictures got taken and even ended up being cute.  The photographer made my kids laugh and laugh and they really needed to. 

But the even better news is that I had the opportunity to apologize.  My meanness, bad attitude and lack of self control spilled over onto so many other people.  Isn't it amazing the amount of influence we really do possess...especially us mommas?!?

God convicted my heart pretty quickly.  The damage had been done but conviction and repentance did its work.  I immediately wanted to make things right. 

I apologized to Shep for being ill tempered and yelling at him for no reason.
I apologized to my children for losing my temper over silly ridiculous reasons.
I apologized to the lady filling out our paperwork for the awkward and tense moments she had to witness and be a part of (poor thing).
I apologized to the photographer for being disagreeable and also for influencing my husband to be in an ill temper.

Whew....the domino effect was unreal.

My mood became the monster.  Thankfully the sweet lady and photographer graciously accepted our apologies.  But seriously...I can't ever get that impression back.  Even after a genuine apology the damage had been done. 

I am very thankful that even in my rant the Holy Spirit was so faithful to speak to me.  He tenderly kept pointing out that my influence is bigger than I realize. 

If someone had seen this version of me they wouldn't have thought of me as a godly woman.  That breaks my heart.  I want nothing more than to love Jesus with everything.  But days like this come.  Our influence during the craziness really does matter and more than that it has profound influence.

We must be ready and alert at all times.  We must be clothed with God's armor. (Eph.6) The fruit of the Spirit works for us and in us as believers.  But we must be surrendered to it.

Oh God help us not to blow it and tarnish your holy Name. 
 But when we blow it....burden our hearts to bless You through humility.  Quick repentance and genuine remorse go a long way to build up that which was blown.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Shepherd and My Lost Self

My last blog post was pretty descriptive of my mood of late.  The holidays were a whirlwind and 2014 arrived just as easily as 2013 went away. 

I wanted my start of the year to look differently than it currently does.  I wanted a healed child.

Each year I brace myself for Christmastime.  I think it is mainly because it means that year's end is just upon us.

When you have been waiting on something for years the passing of each one feels like a bit of a death. 

Your heart beats a little heavier because you think things like "it still hasn't happened" and "how many more years can I take of believing this" and "will next year be the year?"

I also mentioned in my last blog that Shep, my completely amazing husband, suggested that I just take a break from heavy thinking.  

For the most part I am happy to report that I did just that.

But, here it is, January 10, 2014 and life is back in full swing.  I have to think, deal, pray, surrender, hope and all that these things entail ~ again.

Yesterday morning Shep and I were doing our devotion to start the day.  It wasn't anything mind-blowing.  But words were used and I felt the Holy Spirit stir and move within my heavy heart. 

The devotion described God dealing with us as a shepherd who tends sheep. 

This excerpt from the devotion spilled upon me like a grace explosion. 

"His people are set forth under many infirmities; some are lambs, some great with young, some very tender, some burdened with temptations, nothing in any of them all strong or comely.  To them all Christ is a shepherd, that feeds his own sheep, and drives them out to pleasant pasture; where, if he sees a poor weak lamb, he doth not thrust him on, but takes him (or her) into his bosom, where he both easeth and refreseth him: he leads gently and tenderly."

I am that poor weak lamb.

I am not lost.  I am saved by the blood of Jesus...washed clean and made whole.

But I am lost and weak and poor of spirit~ even still.

I am in "bewildered and confused, spent, and unable to find my way." These were online definitions that certainly fit my present state.

But here is how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, tends to us lost ones.  He gathers us into Himself.  To rest.  To recuperate. 

We tend to be so much harder on ourselves than Jesus ever is upon His beloved sheep.

These past fews weeks and still now I sense that my Shepherd has me gathered to His bosom.  Held close. 

It is a beautiful picture.

An hour ago I was praying and talking to God about how my faith has changed. 

Five to Six years ago I would tell you that my faith was fresh and fiery.  Believing God seemed easier somehow.  Eleven plus years into this my faith feels flimsy and forced.

I miss my old faith.

But honestly that is how strength is attained.  Fresh and fiery is usually how we start any journey.  Time tends to turn the fresh and fiery into flimsy and forced.  In the early days, weeks, months, and years of believing God for the impossible the journey itself excited me.  Plus I didn't think the faith journey would take as long as it has...

Each day the choosing is vital.  And I choose faith.  It may not be fresh but it is fierce. 

I believe this produces lasting faith and not passing faith.

A gift only gained by the passing of time and the choosing of our will.

As a sheep of His flock I am honored to walk the road He has chosen.  But I love my Shepherd all the more for knowing our frailties.  My frailties.

Today I am simply held.