Browsed by
Month: December 2014

It’s Almost a New Year!

It’s Almost a New Year!

When the beginning of a new year is approaching it often causes us to reflect on the one we are about to finish up.  I’ve been doing that myself. ball-drop

Our year started off with a brand new one year old in our home!  Our youngest has her birthday the day after Christmas, how blessed she is!  This year she learned to walk {and run!} and talk and well, she’s simply learned SO much this past year!  Our oldest ended first grade and began 2nd grade!  She also lost several teeth including her two front teeth so of course you know what song she heard a lot this Christmas…. “all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth…” 😉  Our little boy finally turned 5…. he had been waiting to turn 5 since the day he turned 4 🙂   He also was so excited to begin Kindergarten and has learned to read and write!  His pride and joy currently though is that he has his first wiggly tooth!  My husband and I celebrated 9 years of marriage.  It’s hard to believe it has already been 9 years and yet it seems like it’s been longer than 9 years!  What a joy to live life with him!

Our church has grown throughout this year!  Our church held it’s first VBS in about 30 years and the Lord brought out nearly 50 children!  Awana was begun and it is thrilling to see the excitement of the kids who come each week!  God has done amazing things in and through our church this year!

As I ponder the events of 2014 and soak in it’s final days and hours, I remember the ups and downs, the victories and weaknesses.  Throughout this year though one thing rings true, we have been blessed!  God has faithfully seen us through each moment of every day.  He has met all of our needs, He has provided above and beyond what we could imagine, He has lifted us when we fell, He rejoiced when we saw victory.  He has blessed our family with a loving and peaceful home. Psalm 34-8

Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

As the year 2014 ends I can honestly look back and say, “YES!  The Lord is good!” and “YES, He is worthy of our trust!”

In just a few days time the year 2015 will be here.  Crazy to think about right?  I remember being a Sr. in high school on New Years eve of 1999 wondering if all the rumors would come true as we were about to go into a new millennium!  Would the world really come crashing down?!  That doesn’t seem like it was so long ago…. my my time flies.  A new year is coming, 2015 is nearly here and though we don’t know what it will hold for us, we can trust the One who does.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Have you tasted and seen just how good God is?

All images courtesy of bing.com

No Room For Fear

No Room For Fear

Last night we had some pretty hefty thunderstorms!

Our children had been lightning_stormin bed for about two hours when my husband and I were startled!  Thunder had recently rattled in the sky and our home and woke up our littlest.  The fear in her cry gripped my heart and I ran back to her room to scoop her up.

When she saw me come through the door she instantly said, “Rock!  Rock!”  Yes, I am blessed with a little one who still adores being rocked in the rocking chair safe and secure in Mommy’s arms.

We sat down in the rocker and I whispered calming words to her little ears as she began to calm down.  “It’s okay baby, Mama’s here.  You’re okay.” As we rocked she began to close her eyes and she caught her breath once again.  She snuggled closely and began to drift back to sleep.  She knew she was safe, she was in Mommy’s arms.  The thunder no longer scared her because she was in her safe place, she knew Mommy would not let anything happen to her.

As I rocked my sweet baby I thought about how this, this is exactly how God wants uAs to be with Him.  He wants us to rest in His loving and ever capable arms.

There are a lot of scary things going on in the world.   I can’t even turn on the national news lately, my heart becomes overwhelmed seeing all the wickedness that is plastered across the screen.  I could easily become fearful.  I don’t have to turn on the news though to have fear creep in my heart.  Oh no, fearful events can be all around us!  Yet, Christ often beckons, “Fear not, for I am with you!”  {See Is. 41:10, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.“)

He assures us in Psalm 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Just as my daughter rests so easily in my arms, God wants His children to rest easily in His.  HE is our place of refuge {Ps. 59:16a, “for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.“}.  When fear threatens to swarm in and overwhelm you, speak to your soul!  Remind your heart and your soul, “Hey, God’s got this!”

Rest in Him, listen to His calming words, and trust Him that He will never leave or forsake you.  Only in Him will we find true rest.

Lightning photo courtesy of bing.com

Blessed Indeed!

Blessed Indeed!

Isn’t it amazing how all children have such unique personalities?  This photo taken today at lunch perfectly depicts my three 🙂  I think we may be in trouble with that little charmer there on the left 😉

ohboy

I am so thankful to be their Mama!  They have taught me so much and have opened a part of my heart I never knew existed until I became a Mama.  When I look at the three of them I can’t help but think, “Blessed”!  God has richly blessed me!  They constantly fill our home with joy and laughter!  What sweet gifts they are!  I have everything I want for Christmas already and the best part is, I get to enjoy them every single day!   A loving husband and three beautiful children, I really have so much to be thankful for!

Speak Life!

Speak Life!

We live in an all about me kind world, no doubt about that, but that is not God’s desire!  Have you ever heard of the acronym ” J-O-Y”?  Jesus, others, you!  So today, I challenge and encourage you to speak LIFE today!  Shower God’s grace on those around you!  Encourage and uplift and give God’s love freely and generously to everyone you meet!

Mark 12:30-31

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

AV

The great things He has done!

The great things He has done!

This morning as I sit on my comfy couch, sipping that precious life giving juice {coffee}, I’m soaking in the words of God from the book of Luke and chapter one.  My thoughts are completely enraptured by something I read!  Isn’t it amazing how ALIVE the Word of God is?  We can read a passage over and over and get something NEW out each time!

I’ve read the true story about all the events surrounding the coming expectant Messiah many times, and then this morning something struck me differently!

Think with me and let your imagination run for a little bit.  When an Angel came to Mary and prophesied that she was going to have a baby, what do you imagine?

My thoughts picture her wondering, “How am I going to tell mom and dad?”

Pregnant, un-wed Mary has some {BIG} news to tell her parents, how are they going to take the news?  Would they believe her that it was a doing of the Holy Spirit or would they think she and Joseph were secretly being promiscuous?  Now days the sad truth is, many do not even think twice about an un-wed mother.  Back then this was not the case.  What a disgrace she would be in the community!  She would probably be the topic at every family’s dinner table, every ladies luncheon, and I can’t imagine the looks of disapproval she would receive from many looking down their noses at her.  Yet, she was innocent!

Not only would Mary have to share the news with her parents, but also with her love and betrothed Joseph.  They were planning a wedding!  They had not yet come together, can you imagine the thoughts and suspicions Joseph might have had?  Fear could have completely gripped Mary’s heart at the overwhelming potential responses she would face.

Yet, get this, in Luke 1:48-49 as she visits in the home of Elizabeth she says this, “For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.” (emphasis mine)

Whoa.

Mary, a young (probably teen) and unwed pregnant mother is about to face gossip like non-other.  She is going to face hardships because of being an un-wed mother and yet, what did she say in verse 49?  Let’s read that one more time.

“For he that is mighty hath done to me great things

Talk about {real} faith!  Talk about praising God in the midst of a storm!  She was privileged by God the Father to carry His Only Son in her womb and with that privilege came disgrace from humanity…. yet she still saw what great things God had done to her!  Is your mind blown yet?

That one short verse struck me with a powerful blow this morning.  What grace God bestowed on this young woman.  What an incredible way to look at life in the heat of what was probably a difficult time.

What a conviction to remember that no matter what is going on in life, God has done {GREAT} things for us!  AV2

I challenge you, in the midst of this busy holiday season, take the time to stop and ponder what GREAT things God has done for you!  Choose to be joyful, no matter the events that are taking place in your life.  Pray to have a heart attitude like Mary did!

We serve a wonderful God and as we go throughout our day today, let’s meditate on and thank Him for all the great things He has done!

Christmas Time Is Here!

Christmas Time Is Here!

Oh I just LOVE this time of year!  Ever since I was a child the Christmas season was my favorite!  The story of Christ’s birth, the lights, the decorations, the excitethment, the wonder!  Oh I just eat it up!

Now that I have a family all my own we do things a little bit differently then many.  We never really stop listening to Christmas music during the year 🙂  We decorate earlier than most families, we simply just soak up the Christmas season for as long as we can!

It seems that Christmas gets a bad rap these days.  I understand that it is commercialized and many only think about what they can get instead of what they can give, but let’s get honest.  It’s CHRISTMAS, there is tremendous reason to celebrate!!

What does Christmas mean to you?

I adore the Christmas story.  Two years ago this Christmas season I was largely pregnant with our soon to arrive baby girl and my thoughts often wandered to Mary.  Now I know that the chances of Christ being born on December 25th are slim to none, but bare with me will you?

Mary, hand selected by the Lord Himself to bare His only begotten Son, took a road trip.  Her trip was not in a luxury car but rather on a donkey.  I cannot even fathom!  Then to nativityarrive at their destination and discover there was no room for them inside.  No comfy bed or cozy sheets.  No pillows or downy blankets that smelled clean and fresh.  Off to the stables they went.

I remember being 9 months pregnant and how uncomfortable I felt with a large protruding belly.  If I had been in Mary’s shoes I know for sure I would have cried.  No bed?  No pillow?  I wonder if Mary shed tears.  There is no doubt she was weary from her journey and emotional because of her fatigue and being nearly due. I wonder if she “nested” as many pregnant women do.  Did she stuff the manger full of extra hay to make sure it was extra soft for her coming baby?  Did she hold the clothing He would soon wear, tightly to her chest and dream of what her baby boy would look like?  Did she wonder what it was going to be like to raise a perfect child?  Did her heart ache knowing what His future would one day hold?  I can’t wait to meet her one day in Heaven.  There are so many things I want to talk with her about!

As her labor pains began I can only imagine how proud God the Father must have been.  His precious Son was about to make his physical entrance into our world!  Was God the Father bursting at the seams like many new father’s are?

And then, in the stillness of night, He was born.  Jesus.  Our SAVIOR!  The One who was prophesied of for years, the One Who would one day take the payment for our sin, He had arrived!  When I think of Christmas my heart swells with LOVE and APPRECIATION for what Jesus was willing to do!  He knew what humanity would do and become and yet, He came anyway!  He came and offers us HOPE and LIFE!!

Who would not want to celebrate that?

The argument that Christmas rushes in long before Thanksgiving is even over often brings with it comments of disgust.  Can I share something honestly with you?  I love Thanksgiving and I am deeply appreciative of a day like that, a day to pause and simply be thankful.  But in reality the Thanksgiving holiday doesn’t bring with it hope.  It does not bring with it LIFE.  It does not offer what the birth of Christ can offer!  I think part of that disgust is the enemy’s doing.  He wants no attention on Christ.  It must drive him crazy to know that Christ has a national holiday celebrating His birth!  So he creeps in and sows seeds of discord.  He breeds materialism and tries to take the attention away from the birth of Christ.

Can I tell you this; just because the world tries to commercialize the season of Christmas, and tries to remove Christ all-together from Christmas, that doesn’t mean we have to!  When the decorations begin to come out, what a great reminder that Christmas is approaching!  A day when our Savior was born!  That is a GREAT reason to celebrate!

Photos courtesy of http://www.bing.com

The Potter’s Hands

The Potter’s Hands

I remember one day in college, many moons ago, arriving to chapel and curious about what was on the stage.  It was something I had never seen in person before, but something I had seen in pictures.

A potter’s wpotterswheelheel.

As chapel began our speaker took his seat at his potter’s wheel and began making it move.  As he took a piece of clay and put it on the wheel, he with ever gentle, careful hands began to mold the clay.  He was never harsh with the clay, he knew it was to fragile for that.  He could ruin it for sure!  Oh no, he was gentle, taking great effort to lightly but firmly mold his clay.

You know, in the book of Jeremiah God speaks about a potter and his clay.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 ” The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”

Lately God has been pointing out some areas in my life that need molding.  Just as a potter will work and work his clay to get out the impurities and make his vessel just right, that is how God has been working on me.  He has been revealing some things in my life that are just plain ugly.  It hurts to have sin pointed out, doesn’t it?  We don’t like to have God, or anyone else for that matter reveal the sin in our hearts because it is ugly to look at.  In a world where flawless beauty is the standard, looking at our sin reveals the truth we try to hide.  Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
So when God begins to pull back the facade that we can so easily put up, it hurts.  Oh, but if we could only realize His intent is not to hurt us, but rather to draw us ever closer to His side!

The Potter’s Hands are gentle.  As we gaze at His strong, powerful hands we can see the scars that remind us just what He was willing to go through because of His deep love for us.  A love we can barely comprehend.

With love and gentleness God has been working on those rough spots I have.  Areas where I have dethroned Him, areas where I have let selfishness creep in and take a foothold.  It’s been tough to look my sin right in the face and admit that what He has revealed definitely needs to be worked on.  I feel ashamed and broken over it.  Then I look up.

All I see is His love.  Forgiveness has been granted, encouragement to take steps towards victory is lavished, grace and mercy are abounding!  He isn’t trying to hurt me, oh no, far from it!  Instead He is continually molding me into the woman that He wants me to be.  He is working out the impurities I have allowed in.  He is teaching me ever more about His grace and how much I need to depend upon it.

We have such a good God.  How grateful I am to be His.

Photo courtesy of http://www.bing.com/images