Worth repeating...

A fun praise song "screams" out, "Tell the world that... tell the world that... tell the world that JESUS LIVES!

So should we all be standing on the street corners shouting that reality that JESUS LIVES and that HE DIED AND ROSE AGAIN FOR ALL!  Some would say, "why not?" - maybe that's what we should all say... and do, for that matter.

Regardless, our responsibility is to tell the good news.  I love the verses in Deuteronomy 6 - "These commandments that give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up...."  sounds to me like a constant "telling"...

And then, Jesus in his final words to his disciples, told them, "go and make disciples, baptize them, and teach them MY commands..."

So what shall we tell??  Maybe, for me, it has become the sharing of stories and circumstances in my life that I can so clearly see God's hand, and God's leadership, and God's sovereignty.  Many of you know that our family has been praying for 10 years now, that Frank's back would be healed, and to this date, that prayer has been answered with, "Not now"... I'm not sure if that means not until Heaven or just not now.  I have to decide in the midst of that prayer NOT being answered in the way that I desire, what do I do with that?  I, we, still walk each day by faith believing that God IS sovereign - by the way, sovereign simply means "supreme in power or authority".  HE is supreme, and we believe HE has all the authority.

We really didn't have a place to live.  The house we were renting had sold; we had depleted our equity from the sale of our home, we were down to 7 days left to move.  So, D and A (sweet family members) offered that we move into their basement for "whatever time we needed".  Not the answer we were thinking... but an answer to our immediate need.

The day before we were to move, amidst all the boxes, a call from a friend came.... about a house that was fully furnished... for sale... needed occupants to keep an eye on things... might we be interested?  How do you graciously explain that, for the time being, there really was no money for rent.  The answer was quick - no problem, didn't really need rent, just occupants. 

Seriously???  Mollie was 15 at the time, and like any normal teenage girl, her concern about our planned living arrangement was that the basement didn't have a bathroom.  HOW would she get ready in the morning for school?

We all loaded in the car to go take a look at this offered house, keep in mind we didn't know the owners, and they didn't know us.. just heard about our situation...  I can't even describe to you how gorgeous this home was - and as we made our way upstairs to see the bedrooms, I began to weep - each of the 4 bedrooms had a lovely bathroom attached... :)

When we returned to the car, we talked about that wonderful verse in Ephesians 3: 20, "now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to HIs power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory..."  I tried to remind Mollie and all of us, that God cares about every detail of our lives.  He could have provided a house with 1 bathroom or a basement room with a bathroom upstairs, but in that time.. .that moment, HE provided immeasurably more...

I have shared that story often, mainly because the timing and graciousness of God was so tender for us in a time when we were so overwhelmed with circumstances.  Just to finish, we were honored to live in that home for a sweet 10 weeks... rent-free.   God is sovereign.

I recently saw a quote that has resonated in my mind, "God always answers our prayers the way we would ask if we knew what He knows."  I certainly would never presume to know what God knows, but I do believe that as we know and trust Him more fully, our desires and our prayers will be affected and even tendered toward His heart. 

So... tell the world... your story... it is worth repeating...

Are you watching, Mommy???

Clay, our fourth born and only boy, has much to say.  His donut proclamation came about 12 years ago as we met at 5:00 am with a group of friends before heading to the beach. (Why are we surprised that Kellie is getting married at the beach - it is, thankfully, in our blood!)  And yes, that is a turtle he is holding... 

Growing up in a house with 3 sisters taught him that either you edged your way in to the conversation, or you got totally wedged out.  Many afternoons, after his nap and before the girls came home from school, Clay and I would spend extended time outside throwing a ball, creating adventures with his best friend, Devon, and always swinging on his beloved swing set.  I was always outside with Clay at that age... Keep in mind his rambunctious mischievous personality - it was in my best interest to keep my eye firmly planted on him.  He was always glad for me to be around, but especially glad when he was swinging.  It took him a while to get the concept of "pumping" his chubby little legs in order to keep his swing flying high... But I remember the day well, when he figured it out... no more pushing me, Mom!  I remember thinking, 'okay, this is great, I can at least walk to the deck or around to the front yard for a minute'. WRONG!  Once Clay learned to swing, his words did change from "Push me, Mommy, to WATCH ME, Mommy."  

If he thought for a moment that my eyes were not fully fixed on him, he would softly whisper, "Are you watching, Mom?"  If my response wasn't immediate, he would begin to chant louder and louder, "Are you watching, Mom... ARE you watching, MOM... ARE YOU watching, MOM.... ARE YOU WATCHING, MOM... then, in another moment.. 


I was watching, I WAS watching, I NEVER stopped watching - Hmmm..  It took me a while to get it... We, moms, are famous (with necessity, I might add) for our uncanny ability to multi-task.  What I finally realized is that Clay didn't just want my words telling him I was watching... he wanted my eyes... with my eyes fully, not partially, not with distraction trying to read a book or the paper, not writing, not mowing the grass with an occasional glance in his direction, not on the phone with a friend.... you understand, my FULL attention.  Okay, so I get it - the same way I want my husband, my friend at lunch, my daughter to listen with FULL attention.

Oh, sweet friends, don't you just hear your Heavenly Father gently reminding you to simply,

  "Fix your eyes on ME, the Author and Perfecter of you faith."

Our distractions in this life are many, but HIS desire is simply for us to sit in HIS presence.  It's certainly not a new message, but one that deserves our remembrance.  Young mommas, I know how precious and how fleeting your time is right now, but can I just encourage you to put in it your daily schedule - the first 15 minutes of naptime, the last 15 minutes of the day (even in exhaustion), try, just try, to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier... He IS your Rock, your Strength, He is holding you by your right hand!   Let's be honest, there were times when I became exasperated with Clay - just give me a minute.  HE will NOT become impatient with you - HE will simply continue to wait beckoning you with gentleness! 

When I honored Clay's request and gave him my undivided attention, I was blessed by his precious expression as he fully embraced the wind in his face - I would have missed the quiet priceless giggle that came as he touched the sky with his toes.  

Wanna swing, anyone?

She just dropped my wedding cake...

Well, friends, I have held off as long as I could...  Many of you found my blog back in the summer when our daughter, Kellie, became engaged.  We have been in the midst of wedding planning and are now counting down the weeks until the big day.  So we have to talk about weddings... well, kind of...

As you "wedding" plan for everything that will happen and everything that might happen, and everything you hope won't happen, your mind can experience OVERLOAD!!

Everyone that has experienced a wedding day has a story to tell of some unexpected event either leading up to the day or actually on the day.  We had a few challenges at our wedding, but one will forever stand out in my mind. 

A local caterer had offered a contest during our engagement for a free wedding cake.  We were thrilled to receive the call that my name had been drawn as the winner.  Expecting the winner would hire the caterer for the entire reception was clearly the intention for the contest.  But, hey, I got married in 1984 when most weddings were in the church and most receptions were in the Fellowship Hall with cake, nuts, mints and punch!  Regardless of their disappointment in our decision, the caterer sent one lady to deliver our cake... 3 tiers and 4 small cakes to surround them - the picture I was shown had ribbons and flowers galore! 

  So my mother and I met her at the back door.  As she began to take the pieces out of her car, my panic set in!  I watched as it bobbled side to side, and then SPLAT!  Two of the small cakes AND the second tier of the cake covered the parking lot next to her car.  She just dropped my wedding cake...  I was speechless and devastated.  My sweet mama took one look at the crumbled cake, one look at the cake lady, then one look at me.  She quietly told me to "go get ready and that she would handle everything." 

Almost thirty years later I clearly remember walking into the church, still in a bit of shock, but knowing for sure without any hesitation that my mom would take care of everything.  As I ponder why I felt so sure, it is an easy answer.  My mother had always been trustworthy.  Her character was impeccable - I knew she would be gracious.  Her voice was both constant and familiar.  In times of triumph and in times of challenge, she was always there, always reassuring, always available.  I know my mother well... when I see her number on my cell phone, I look forward to our conversation with anticipation.  Not always is there any major news or discussion, just a comforting intimate connection.  Like any effective parent, she and my Dad didn't "fix" every situation I got myself into.  Sometimes the better option was to allow me to learn through the challenge as they kept a watchful eye and offered coaching and encouragement.

You'll notice there are 3, not 4 tiers and 1, not 3 smaller accent cakes... but no one except my mom and I knew of the momentary disaster...  She took care of everything... she cared for me!

Hmm.. friends, isn't that just like our Heavenly Father.  Do you know HIS voice well enough to hear it above all the noise?  Do you anticipate your time to chat with HIM?  Have you realized that HE is trustworthy even if you don't "feel" it at this very moment?  Do you know HIS character well?  Do you understand how rich HIS grace is?  How deeply HE loves you?

HE promised all of this to you, as HIS beloved!  Spend just a few moments with me remembering HIS great love for you!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. 2 Chronicles 30:9

...may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19
...and his sheep follow him because they know His voice. John 10:4

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10