Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are You Just A Fan ?

“astounded, and they were filled with awe and said.
‘We have seen incredible things today.’” (Luke 5:26)

Here in my home state of Alabama football is the ruling sport, college football to be exact. Just about any baby shower you attend will have at least one that is either crimson and white or orange and blue that either represents the bias of the expecting parents or of the gift giver. A few years later that same child is begins to decide their own allegiance by learning to call out “ROOOOLLLL TIDE” or “WAAR EEAAGLE”. Parents will dress their little girls in cheerleader outfits with hounds tooth and an elephant head or their little boys in football jersey and helmet with the big AU on the side.

Are these people fans or followers?

A fan wears their team colors but a follower will paint his body from head to toe to show his team spirit

A fan can recognize the mascot of their team but a follower knows the story that brought the mascot into being.

A fan might know who the head coach and a few of the star players are but a follower knows the last 5 teams the coach coached at, his record and the 3rd string
quarterbacks uncle’s sister-in-law.

A fan knows if their team is winning this year but a follower has ALL the stats of their team for all of history memorized.

A fan is upset but can still have a nice dinner with friend after a loss but a follower is devastated for days after a loss.

I could go on and on but I want to take a little turn here to ask you, Are you a fan of Christ or a follower of Christ? The difference between the two is as wide as the difference between a fan and a follower of any sports team.

A fan of Christ shows who they “cheer” for only on Sunday and maybe Wednesday but a follower shows Jesus from head to toe everyday.

A fan knows who Jesus is but a follower has a personal relationship with Him.

A fan knows a few bible stories but a follower knows the author of the stories and knows that they are more than just stories.

A fan knows the miracles written in the bible but a follower knows and sees that miracles are still daily occurrence.

A fan politely stands and claps when a soul is saved but a follower is “astounded, and they were filled with awe and said. ‘We have seen incredible things today.’” (Luke 5:26)

So are you just a fan or are you a follower?

What differences do you see between a fan and a follower?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Prepared Heart

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4

I mentioned in my post last week that I am a planner, so it should come as no surprise that I began Wednesday to plan our Saturday trip to visit our daughter at college. We were going to make the 2-hour drive north about mid-day visit some, go to the homecoming game and then come home that night. Since it was such a short trip, you would not think there would be much to plan but there was. See the weather around here has been crazy lately. Fall is here but summer has not quiet decide it is ready to leave. With these two varied seasons pushing each other around you just never, know when a rain shower or even a thunderstorm will pop up. So with all that in mind I made sure that I packed a rain jacket, a sweatshirt, cushions to sit on, quarters to give her for laundry and a few other things she might need. I planned out what I was going to wear, what time we needed to leave and even the radio station in that area so we could listen to other football games. We had a great time spending time with Samantha and letting her show us around campus some. Her team won in a close exciting game.

The next morning as I was getting dressed for church I thought back to Saturday of all the preparation I had made for just an event that would only last a few hours. I made sure that every ‘what if’ was covered. I had my full focus on making sure that we enjoyed our time to the fullest extent that we could. Now with that in mind, I begin reviewing my Sunday morning routines. I am not as attentive to in preparing myself for church. Yes, I get up and make sure that my clothes are ironed, that my hair is fixed and my make-up is applied. However, I do not always make sure that my heart is prepared. I do not take the time to develop my attitude to be grateful. I do not focus on walking into that sanctuary to praise God for all He has done for me that week. Although I would tell you that God speaks to me through the words the pastor speaks, I do not always go expecting to hear from God. How would me worship, praise and life change if I spent as much time on Sunday morning preparing for church as I did preparing for that ball game on Saturday?

So how am I suppose to prepare for church? I think it begins way before Sunday morning. These are the things that I will be more diligent in:

  • Daily quiet time

  • Prayer – prayers of thanksgiving and repentance

  • Expect that God WILL speak to you

These few simply steps can prepare the soil of my heart for whatever seeds the Lord wants to plant during worship service.

What steps do you take to prepare your heart for worship ?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mission of Hope

Today I so very humbled to be asked to speak at the Mission of Hope in Dora, Alabama. The Mission is a local 501c3 clothes closet and food bank. Every 1st and 4th Thursday they open both their doors and their hearts to the surrounding community. They offer food for the body and nutriment for the soul. Today they served over 100 families. Families that are hurting. Yes, they are hurting because of the economics of our day but some have deeper hurts. These are not wounds that a pair of shoes or a bag of non-perishables can heal. Some wounds have come quickly due to a job loss or an unforeseen divorce. There are also old wounds that have been have been cut deeper and deeper over time. Wounds caused by physical abuse, drug abuse and years of neglect. Yet, no matter their hurts, they all come together twice a month and the truth of Christ is spoken into their lives. While handing out bags of food or looking for some winter clothing for a child the volunteers make sure they show every person love and respect without showing any favoritism.

For me to be allowed to share with them all that God has done in my life was such an honor. I left my house this morning thinking that I was going to be a small God "blessing" to them but instead He used them to be a blessing to me and to teach me. As I walked up to the building the clients where lined up outside waiting to register and many of the greeted me with a smile and a "Good Morning". Then after I shared my testimony several made a point to come hug me and let me know they enjoyed it. However, the thing that pierced my heart the most was as I stood in the front of that room with over 100 sets of eyes looking at me I realize that who these people really were. God reminded me that they were just the same as me, my family, and my friends. They, like me, were children that God was calls out to. My heart realized that even though the world wants to divide us into segments we are all just sinners in need of a Savior. To Him we are not black or white, we are not rich or poor, we are not this or that but we are simply a heart that at it purest form is seeking after Him.

I pray that I never forget the lesson that I learned today. That I never look at another person with my shaded human eyes. That God will always allow me to see people and circumstances with His eyes only.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Agenda ... Changed

In their hearts humans plan their course,
but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9

I am a list person, one that loves to have a plan, and has to know the agenda for the event before I attend. I even begin asking my husband mid-week what his plans are for the weekend. Maybe it is that I want to feel like I have some control issue. Maybe it is just a “have to know” issue. No matter what the reason is, I always feel uneasy walking into the unknown situations. I just want to be prepared for anything that may come up. Growing up I, like many little girls, had my wedding and my marriage all planned. I had plans for my career. I had plans for my kids. I had a plan...but God (those two small words both thrill me and terrify me) had different plans than we do for our lives.

• I never planned on my mother in law, one of my closest mentors, passing away while my kids were still young.
• I never planned on Mike having a heart attack at 42 and having to change our lifestyle because of it.
• I never planned on my dad having to fight cancer.
• I never planned on so many things that we are facing both personally and as a nation.

However, as I study the bible more I realized that God is not only in the life changing business but He also changes plans.

• Noah never planned to built an ark
• Abraham never planned on becoming the father of a new nation
• David didn't just wake up one morning as a teenager and plan to
become the king
• Esther never planned to be used by God to stop the genocide of her people
• Mary never planned to be pregnant outside of marriage
• Peter never planned to ever leave his fishing business
• Paul never planned that one day he would travel around the nation
spreading the news of Jesus
and John the Baptist ushered Jesus in as Lord. In John's mind, Jesus had come to be a Warrior King. That He would be the one that would set Israel free from the bondage and oppression of the Romans. But God (there are those two words again) had other plans.

God not only changed the plans of those people He changed their hearts. He taught them lessons. The restored to them more than what they thought they had lost.

What plan are you holding on to that God wants to change? Are you willing to step out and follow Him even when you do not know the plan?


Friday, September 16, 2011

The Winner is....

amycloud !!!! Thanks to everyone who entered and made this first give-away but an encouraging and learning experience for me.

amy, please forward your mailing address to amypboyd@bellsouth.net and I will put your book in the mail first thing Monday morning.

I have to run now because my little girl is home from college and I am spending the evening washing her clothes while she catches up with friend. Then we will be able to sit tomorrow and talk. What are your plans for the weekend ?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anniversary Gifts

As I mentioned in this post last week, today is mine and my husband's 24th wedding anniversary. We agreed many years ago that we would no longer buy gifts for one another but instead would purchase something for the family to use. This year it is a small video camera. I also have a gift for one of you. See the end of this post for details.

Mike and I had known each other most of our lives. We attended the same school, he had played football with my brother and we had some of the same friends. Finally one day when I was about 15 he stayed around after football practice for me to finish with band and asked me out. I quickly told him I would go out with him if he got a hair cut. (He claims now that is why he lost all the hair he had). That was late on a Thursday evening and when he showed up at school on Friday morning his hair was cut. That is when I know we might have something. We dated for the next three years and got married when I graduated from high school. As I told you in my last post the beginning few year we had our difficulties as we learned not only to live together but also to live with a new baby that was born just a year and 3 months after our wedding. As aggravating as the toothpaste was, we or should I say I had bigger issues that I had to deal with. As much as I knew Mike loved me, I still had trouble believing that I was lovable. As often as he told me I was beautiful I did not believe I was. No matter how much he praised my cook, cleaning, mothering or anything else I just did not feel I was good enough in any of these areas to keep him in the marriage. Therefore, every small disagreement became more than it should have been.

Most of the disruptions in our marriage came from the lies Satan had convinced me of. Lies that I continually told myself. It was not until 2002 in a small rural church when I was introduced to the Truth, to God that I was able to combat the lies that bombarded me daily. I can not say that I never have those thoughts, that I never speak a negative word to myself but I can let you know that with the Word of God-the Bible I have a sword to weld. I know that if it had not been for God and His words of truth we would not be celebrating 24 years today.

Here is what God says about you:

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Cor. 6:19
You are the apple of His eye. Zec.2:8
You are in the palm of the Lord’s Hand Isa. 49:16
You are covered by the shadow of His Hand Isa. 51:6
You are loved by God as much as He loves Jesus John 17:23
You are complete in Him. Col.2:10
You are accepted in Him. Eph 1:6

I pray that you will hide these words (and more) in your heart to be able to fight the Father of Lies when he comes at you.

Now, for my anniversary gift to one of you: Another book outside the Bible that has help me to fight this battle is "Soul Talk, Soul Talk" by Jennifer Rothschild. Jennifer has a message for every woman: Words are powerful. Especially the words women speak to themselves. All too often, what they say to themselves when they lie in bed at night or look in the mirror in the morning is not even close to the words God wants them to speak to their souls.

I have 3 ways for you to win Jennifer's book:
1) Leave a comment today telling me what you continue to tell yourself that you know is not a truth from God. I will pray for God to show you a specific promise in His word for you combat that lie with whenever it comes to you mind.
2) Become a follower of my blog through either Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs on the left sidebar.
3) Share a link to my blog on either Facebook, Twitter, your own blog or all three.
**Winner will be picked at random on Friday, September 16,2011 at 12:00 PM CMT.**

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Squeezing the toothpaste

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of

them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:18

Since mine and my hubby’s 24th wedding anniversary is coming up next week, we took advantage of a rainy day to reminisce about the early years of our marriage. For months before we said our I Do’s we had discussed and came to agreement on how we would handle most of the major issues that we would have to deal with in joining our two lives into one. Major issues like who would handle the finances, where we would spend the various holidays, if/when to have children and how their discipline would be handled. Those things were easy to address and work through but after just a few month of living together we realize that the little things we had not anticipated were the things that were causing the most conflict. They are things that now seem so silly and ridicules but back then they caused major strife. I remember us having heated discussions over things like how T-shirts were to be folded, if the toothpaste was to be squeezed from the bottom or if it was okay to just squeeze it in the middle, and of the big one was if he had to always make sure the toilet seat was down. These type disagreements faired up every so often for about a year until we decided that we needed do something to settle this. So we sat at the dinner table and each took turns pointing out things that the other one did that just got on our last nerve and set us off. Through honest discussion and open hearts we were able to come up with some solutions to our problems. For the T-shirt the easiest thing was that we would just each fold our own in which ever manner we chose. Then we decided that we would have to have two tubes of toothpaste. I could squeeze mine from the bottom while Mike could haphazardly squeeze his from the middle. Finally, I had to just resign myself to the fact that I need to check the toilet seat each time. If we had not come together, opening discussed the problems, and realized that we saw and did things differently, I am not sure we would be celebrating 24 years together. Now that is not to say that the next day or even today that I won’t walk into the bathroom and find that the agreements made had been broken. And I have to honestly admit that it still bothers me but because of us talking through it face to face in a calm matter, I know that these slip ups do not mean that he doesn’t love me or does it on purpose to upset me. These are just different ways of doing things. These things are such silly things to allow to tear apart a marriage.

As the body of Christ we, too, are commanded in 1 Cor 12:12-18 to be united. The verse does not say we have to become like robots, all doing the same things in the same way. We have to realize that we are all created to fulfill the plan that God has both for our life personally and the life of us as the church body corporately. Let’s face it there are always those in our family (rather it is our blood relatives or those in our faith family) that will just get on our nerves. They may do things differently. They may say things differently. They may be the ones that are doing the jobs that that are seen. While other may do the “behind the scenes” jobs. However, just because our ways are different does not make either way wrong. No matter where the toothpaste is squeezed from it still get the paste on the brush. It is the end result that makes the difference not always how we get there. As Christians we are all working to reach the world with the gospel. We may be the elderly widow that can’t go on the mission trip but we can donate to the youth when they go. We may not have the gift to sing a solo but we can worship with the one that does. We may not feel called to teach but we can encourage the one who does. Each of us have a role to play just like each part of our physical body have a role to play.

Are you willing to let someone squeeze the middle

of the toothpaste instead of the end ?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are you Plumb ?

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. Amos 7:7

This past Sunday our pastor began his sermon by asking, “Do you believe God can use everyday ordinary situations to teach you powerful biblical lessons?” Of course, the entire congregation agreed that yes He could. Pastor went on to explain that last week he had moved his satellite dish from one place on his house to another. He had worked with it all afternoon but no matter what he did, he got not find the right angle that would receive the signal. Finally, he decided to give up, eat supper and maybe work on it the next afternoon. During the night he was kept awake. He continued to mull over this problem in his mind to try to find the solution. Since he was awake (and he could not watch TV), he went into his office to pray and study his bible. It was during this quiet time that he was able to hear from God. God prompted him to turn to Amos 3. As Pastor read over the text about the plumb line, he came to understand a couple of things. One was practical daily application and the other a biblical “forever” lesson. First, as he moved his dish and reset it in the new position on his house he did not adjust the base to plumb. Without the base properly set then it receiver was not pointing in the direction to pick up the signal from the satellite. See if it is off just a few centimeters at the base then it is a long way off out in space. The second lesson (and the one God really wanted Pastor and all of us to learn) was/is that Jesus is our plumb line. He is the one we are to measure up to.

Being plumb is a construction term that refers to being straight up and down. A plumb line is a string with a weigh on the end. When you hold the string at the top the weight makes the line hang down straight. Today carpenters tend to use a level more often than the plumb line to make sure the construction is straight and level but the concept is the same. As Pastor explained that Jesus is our plumb line, I began to ask myself a few questions:

How out of plumb am I?
What areas do I need to allow God to bring into plumb?
Whom have I used as my plumb line?
Will I ever be plumb?

These questions continued to roll over and over in my head through out the evening. I wondered, “God I am so out of plumb and unlevel, how will I ever get to where I should be? I quietly felt His answer, “allow me to adjust you a little at a time.” It was then that I thought about the old table I was refinishing, it did not sit level. Once I determined which leg was causing the out of balance,I flipped the table upside down, sand on the leg for a few minutes and then stand it back up right. I laid the level across the top. If the level bubble did not come to rest between the marks then I would once again sand the bottom of the erred leg. It took several time of doing this until the table finally sat level. See, I did not just take out a saw and start cutting away at the leg because it is better to take off a little at the time. God deals with us the same way. He gently moves us closer to plumb a little at a time. I am thankful that He loves me enough to not allow me to remain out of plumb.

Are you allow God to work to make you plumb ?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do I hurt your ears?

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Psalms 98:4

Many years ago, I was asked to help take care the four and five year olds during morning worship services at church. As the time for the end of service drew near, I had the children to start putting away all the toys. Then we all sat down to wait for their parents to come pick them up. As we were waiting, I decided to have them to sing a few songs like ‘The Wheels on the Bus’. After only the first few lines this sweet little girls comes over to me and softly taps me on the leg. Thinking that she is just going to ask to go to the restroom or maybe request to pick the next song I leaned down to hear her. She quietly said, “Can you please stop singing? You are hurting my ears.” I had to laugh because I am well aware that I am not a singer but I was attempting to make a joyful noise as instructed in our key verse.

Many times as I sit staring at the cursor blinking on the screen in front of me, I struggle with what to write. I finally let my fingers begin typing the words that come in my mind only to go back re-read it, pick it apart and finally delete it all. About two years ago, God called me to share my testimony and biblical lessons through speaking and I accepted that calling easily. However, the call to start this blog was also clear but not as easy for me to accept and follow. Just as I know that I will never make an album with my singing, I also know that I will never use my literary skills (or lack there of) to write a book. As I sit and read post so gracefully written on other blogs, I once again hear that little girl’s voice saying. “Please do not write it hurts my ears.” There are times that message seems so loud that I want to quit. Then I feel God’s sweet and gentle reminder of the words I spoke to that little girl so many years ago. I told her, “Everyone may not sing the right words, carry a tune or have a perfect pitch but as long as they are singing for God is sound sweet to Him.” I know that I write only for an audience of One. I write because He has told me to. Yes, I am to do my best to try to follow all the grammar rules and to make my post something that will by uplifting and encouraging to you. However, most importantly, I write to remind myself of the things that He has taught me. To be a witness of what He has brought me through.

What is the enemy speaking to your heart that makes you want to quit? Is he causing you to compare yourself to others? Is he reminding you of past shame? Is he telling you that the calling you think you heard was not from God? Now, what does God use to remind you that you are just simply called to make a joyful noise not to be the soloist?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Bad Do You Stink?

“Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.” John 11:3

Last month a group of youth, along with the youth director and his wife, went on a mission trip to South Carolina. Now if you have never been in Southeast weather in the middle of July then I am not sure I have the words that can describe it to you. Some words you might hear used are hot, humid, sweaty, sticky and miserable. Theses teens along with a few adults spent a week in Walterboro, SC walking the streets to witnessing in the neighborhood and doing home repairs on a couple different houses. Upon their return home they took an hour one Sunday night to share with the church about the work they did and the people the talked to. I was so proud to see a group of young people beam as they talked about serving the Lord. However, it was something the youth director’s wife said that made me think. She talked about how hard they had worked in the heat and how bad the smell was on the van ride back to the host church each evening but that it was also a sweet smell of love. That statement made me think, “How strong is my smell?”

I thought about when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with the oil. I visualize that once Mary had finished that she would have brushed her hair back and left the room. As she walked down the street – for days to come - the aroma of the spikenard would drift through the crowd. The strong smell would cause people to ask questions. Question like, “Where is that smell coming from.” “Why would she have used so much of costly oil?” In fact, Judas did ask this exact question because he considered her use as being “wasteful” and not of any value. I also imagine there were some in SC that questioned why a group of youth would have given up a week of their summer to work hard in the heat. To sweat. And to stink so badly. However, to God the body odor of those kids was as pleasant of a smell as the finest perfume. Both smells came from love, devotion and service.

So how bad do you stink? Do you smell strong enough that would cause other to ask questions?


Friday, August 12, 2011

What kind of Vacation Do You Want ?

I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b

When my son, Anthony was about three years old, my husband and I had spent weeks planning a nice family vacation but we could not decide where to go. I wanted to go to the beach but Mike wanted to head north towards the mountains. Since I had just found out I was expecting another child, we knew these would be the last vacation with Anthony as an only child. So we decided to let him be the decision maker. When we posed the question to him that evening at dinner without a seconds pause, he yelled “WAL-MART!” He was so excited just at the thought of going to his favorite store. He knew he normally got a toy, a piece of candy or something that made his life a little happier every time he went. In his sweet little three-year-old mind, he had associated a trip to Wal-Mart with the best there was. He had no idea the great vacation plans his dad and I had for him. He had no conception of playing in the waves or standing on top of a mountain and seeing for miles. He did not know how much better these places would be than a one-hour walk around a department store.

As a family we were remembering (and laughing) over this story the other night when I God gave me a light bulb moment. Just Anthony was so willing to settle for so much less than we had planned for him, I tend to settle for less then God has planned for me. Just as the key verse above says He came for us to have life more abundantly. One of the definitions for abundantly is well-supplied, providing more have a plentiful supply. Think about that, Christ wants to give us more….
… more than you can imagine
…more than you can ask for
…more than your desires
…more than you deserve
…more than others have given you value of

Are you happy with just a vacation to Wal-mart or are you going to wait for him to give you a trip to the beach?


“Our lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are half hearted creatures fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea.” ~~ CS Lewis

Monday, August 8, 2011

Zero-Turn Lesson

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” -- ISA 43:18-19

Since my father-in-law has a small lawn care service, we have several lawnmowers to choose from when it is time to cut our own grass. Yesterday I went to pull crank the one he calls “old faithful”. I always use that particular one because it is the oldest in the fleet and therefore, if it breaks down it would not be that detrimental to his business. However, as I turned the key nothing happened. There was not even the sound of the engine trying to turn over. I climbed off the mower and called for my husband to come check it out. He tried to jump start it from one of the other mowers and check it out from one end to the other, but he was not able to get it to crank either. He said, “I guess it is time you learn to cut grass a new way.” It was then that he stepped over to the newest mower. It was a large zero-turn mower, the type that you control all movement with joystick instead of a gas pedal and steering wheel. I was very unsure of it. It was so uncomfortable and even a little scary, so I took it very slow and easy for the first few passes around the yard. As I became more familiar with how it would react to each push or pull of the controls, I began to enjoy it. It certainly finished grass-cutting job much quicker and better than the old-faithful mower.

God used the simple Saturday morning chore of cutting grass to show me that it may be time for me to step out of the comfort zone of my old faithful service and try a new way to serve Him. We are all call to minister and share God’s love, grace and mercy with others. However, we are not all called to do it in the same cookie cutter way. In fact, I have learned that I am not to reach out to every person in the same way. Since we are all called and created differently we can’t judge the way others serve nor can we compare our service to that of someone else. Some of us at some time are going to use the good old standard lawnmower while some at other times will be asked to sit on the zero turn mower and learn to operate in new way. Therefore, we should all be aware of not only what God is calling us to do but how He wants it done. There are many times in the bible that He gave specific instructions on how he wanted thing said or done.

Dear Lord
May I always be open to hear, willing to follow and unashamed to do all you call me to without concern of others thoughts or opinions. I ask that you show me the specific step I am to take but also realize that it will come in your perfect timing. Amen

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Divine Appointments

In May 15-16,2010 a very good friend, Tricia Russell, and I attended the Extraordinary Women's Conference in Birmingham, Alabama.


God showed up in every way.

First let me tell you how we were able to attend this conference at the last minute. Since Tricia and I would be attending Proverb 31's She Speaks in July 2010 we had decided we would save a little money and not attend E-Women. The Monday night before E-Women came to town, Lysa TerKeurst, the president of P31, left a post that they would be giving away 2 tickets to a randomly drawn reply. Not really believing I would win I just left a short little comment. Later that evening I found out that I had in fact won. Of course I called Tricia the first thing the next morning. told her to get a sitter cause we were going.

We knew from the first note played on Friday night that we were there by divine appointment and we were going to see God move in mighty ways. I wish I had the time, space and words to tell you all that God did through each speaker, each song and each sponsor but I mainly want to share with you where God took us during lunch break on Saturday.

Because we had won the tickets we did not get the boxed lunch that was offered so we had to leave the complex to get something to eat on Saturday. Due to me have a little brain hiccup and not being able to tell my right from my left we ended up getting on the interstate going the opposite way than we had planned. So we decided to just make the best of it and was heading to McDonald's. As we came around the block to turn to Micky D's we were stopped but a construction roadblock. Once again we had to go to our back-up plan and we went on around the next block to Burger King. As we walking in we sort of questioned if we should stay because it wasn't the cleanest, the line was long, and the staff was no moving to quickly. However, since we were limited on time we decided we would just stay and make the best of it. After a couple of minutes of standing there and couple and their friend came in behind us. As we all continued waiting and waiting the gentleman just started joking and carrying on with us. He asked us what we were doing in town and we began to tell him about the conference. He told us that he and his wife were both in the ministry. As we continued to tell him about the speakers, we found out that his wife was the managing editor of a Christian publishing company. That just blew us away. See Tricia has been working on write a book but neither of us really knew anything about the publishing business. We decided that even though we only had a short time we were going to stay and share lunch with our new found friends. This couple was such an encouragement to us, not because she was a publisher but because they loved the Lord so much and that came through in the way they shared with us. This couple just sat with us and listened to our hopes, dreams and concerns.

At a time when both of us had begun to throw out all those questions that seem to come in a time of waiting:

Did I really hear from God?

Am I really the one He wants?

Can I do this?

Am I qualified?

An on and on and on..

God sent to us the sweetest couple to confirm what He has already done in our lives and what He will do in the future. In His timing.

And now for the icing on the cake....

Because we had sat and talked with them for so long we were late getting back to the conference. We were afraid that we had missed the concert by Mark Schultz but it turned out that they had been some technical problems and was just playing the first song we we slipped into our seats.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Guest Post: Tricia Russell

Today I am so excited to have my friend, Tricia Russell, guest post for me today. Tricia is in the process of compiling stories of how God has brought her family from the back side of the desert through health issues with both her children among other things. She agreed to go ahead and share one of those stories here today. Be sure to leave her a comment here to encourage her in her book writing.

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

One sunny Saturday in August, my 5 year old son was attending a birthday party at a relative’s house. All of the kids were running around, climbing up the steps, and jumping off the edge of the porch. He had done this a few times, but the last time he was slow standing back up. He complained about a hurting knee but went right back to playing. By Monday, he was in severe pain and complaining with his knee hurting to the point that he was crying. I made a doctor’s appointment for the next day, but the doctor was puzzled by my son’s pain. He ordered x-rays just to check. He called me to the hallway to show me the x-rays, and he circled a gray area on his femur bone. He told me it was some type of cyst but it didn’t look like cancer. I couldn’t believe it. My perfectly healthy child had a cyst inside his femur bone but it didn’t look like cancer. I fought back tears and tried to stay calm for him. We were given an appointment to see the orthopedic specialist for the next morning. We spent the rest of the day trying to absorb this shocking news. We arrived early for the appointment. More x-rays were taken. The doctor came in a sat down beside my son, looked straight at us, and said he has a unicameral bone cyst. Basically it is a fluid filled cyst inside the bone usually near a joint that wears away the bone normally resulting in a broken bone. Jumping off the porch should’ve broken his leg but God had other plans in mind. His jump was actually a blessing in disguise because if we had not found the cyst, it would’ve worn through the bone and his leg would’ve broken into. The cyst was very close to his hip joint which caused some concern that his hip could break. We were told not to let him put any weight on his leg at all, not to let him get on his knees, and not to allow any pressure at all on his leg. We were then sent straight to Children’s Hospital to be admitted and have surgery the following morning. The ride to the hospital was chaos. We were still trying to absorb all we had been told and prepare ourselves for what was ahead. All through the day phone calls came in by the dozens, many visits, and most importantly prayers. This was truly a test of faith, but God who is so gracious to us so much more than we ever deserve, sent all those calls, visits and prayers to help us get through. I could feel the strength and love coming from those people. He was scheduled for surgery early on Wed, August 11, 2004. I didn’t sleep very much the night before. I just couldn’t understand why this was happening. This should’ve been a day of celebrating his first day of Kindergarten but instead he was having major surgery. I woke up early and just started to cry. My thoughts soon switched to being upbeat for him and trying to make the best of our situation, but in the back of my mind I was struggling. He was taken to surgery and we were led to a small waiting room. The waiting was hard, but we knew God was in control. I knew God had a plan for this even though I didn’t understand why and had been watching over him all the time. God had protected him from breaking his leg and hip. Even though our circumstances had caused chaos, God had provided peace in the middle of the storm. I found this quote which fits perfectly “Peace - it doesn’t mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the middle of those things and still be calm in your heart knowing God is in control” (Unknown). Peace definitely reigned in that waiting room that day. He did come through surgery fine and recovered. We faced several other storms with his leg but God was there every time supplying our every need.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Are You Walking

“Train up a child on the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

My brother and I had been stuck in the house all afternoon due to a typical southern afternoon thunderstorm. We had not been on our best behavior and we were driving our mother crazy, so as soon as the skies cleared up she declared it was time for us all to go out on a family walk around the block. Dad noticed that the Jeffersons had a tree down in their yard, however as we got closer we realized it was more that just a downed tree. The leg of the Jeffersons’ beloved German Shepherd, Shadow, was pinned under the large pine. As dad began to try to free Shadow, my brother ran to get Mr. Jefferson. Soon they were gently putting her in the truck and rushing her to the vet’s office.

“Will she still be able to have her puppies?” I asked my mom.
She replied “I don’t know. I just do not know.”

See Shadow was due to have puppies just any day and we had been promised the first pick of the litter. We waited for what seemed like forever before we got a phone call from Mrs. Jefferson. She let us know that there was good news and bad news. The good news was that they had four new little fur balls to raise, but the bad news was Shadow was in surgery to have her hind leg amputated. Dr. Killen was unable to save both the leg and the puppies. He assured the Jeffersons that the momma dog would be able to teach herself to walk on her three legs. Sure enough in just few weeks after the accident, Shadow was using her front legs to walk and then hop on the one hind leg. She would get a little stronger and walk/hop a little farther each day. After eight weeks, Mrs. Jefferson called to ask if we were ready to pick out our puppy to take home. We made the short walk down to her house and she called the dogs out from the doghouse. Out came Momma with her unique stride and followed closely by her babies. The closer they got to us I notice that the little ones were walking with the walk/hop style just like Shadow.

“Why do they not walk on all four legs like they are suppose to?”
“Well, they walk the way their momma does.”

I was reminded of this story one night recently because in a little more than a month I will do one of the hardest things a parent has to do -- I have to take my daughter two and a half hours away, drop her off at college and drive away without her. As I think about this life transition, I wonder if I have I told her everything she will need to know. Have I told her all the dos and don’ts that will keep her safe? Have I told her enough that I love her? Have I told her how to iron without burning the dorm down? Have I told her this? Have I told her that? I was thinking of all the things I need to tell her when God reminded me that it is not about what I tell her but the way I have walked before her. The one thing I know I have shown her is that God loves us even when we walk on three legs instead of all four.