Thursday, December 31, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Page

I have been wrestling back and forth with God over putting "His story" that He has written through our lives down on paper. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will see that writing is not my speciality.(obviously, neither is spelling? I read this quickly through after posting and realized I can't spell either.  Where, oh Where is my spellcheck? Where, oh where, oh where, oh where is my spellcheck. - that is written to the tune of Larry Boy's "Where is my hairbrush.")


There are many who are good with words and frankly, that makes me jealous! I recommend them and their blogs often on here. If nothing else, this blog can point you to the "good ones." I wish I could say things the way some can. I read blog after blog and think, she said that so much better than I ever could. Why try? But my head is full and this blog is a good outlet for those whirling thoughts. But a blog is safe. I mean, who really cares about a blog? They are everywhere. Some blogs are great, some not so great. ( I am sure this argument could be made about a book too but that wouldn't really help my argument now would it??) Plus, most who read this I don't really ever see so it doesn't really matter. 


Or does it? This should be a totally new post on why we do things - applause of God or man?


I digress. See, I can't even match my paragraph to my main sentence. 


The point: I started. I wrote my first page. I just opened up a new page and started writing. 


Here it is. Page one. 

It was a cold, Colorado night and I was off to freeze through yet another football game. This was a scrimmage and I was dreading it. We were playing for a new team and my son was the quarterback and most of the boys had never played before. When you have first time football players defending your boy against other more experienced players. It is usually not a good thing. Basically, for those of you who don’t spend half your life at football practice, I was in for a night of cringing and praying that he would just keep getting up. You look for the boy on the bottom and pray that he is moving. Who said football was for the faint at heart? One play, I watched in slow motion as a huge boy came around from the back and horse-collared (for those of you who don’t know what that is, ask a football fan and yes, it is illegal) my son without him even seeing a thing. His body dropped and they boy who did it jumped up in celebration that he had sacked the quarterback. I only had eyes on one thing, praying my son would just get up. He did but very slow. He motioned to me that he was fine and continued to play and basically got hit over and over again. Play after play, he went to the ground. I kept thinking to myself that someone needed stop this madness but I didn’t say a word. I just watched and waited. Dread filled my heart, Drew wasn’t looking right. He bent down to take the snap, stood straight up and walked off the field and fell to the ground. By the time I got across the field to him, he was in and out of consciousness and couldn’t feel his right side. A friend who was there with me told me that I kept saying “you can’t do this to me again. You can’t do this to me again.” Over and over. You see, that wasn’t the first time I had sat over my baby and watched my baby go in and out of consciousness. 


Back in 2001 on a bright Sunday afternoon after a day full of attending church and hanging out with friends, our lives changed forever. Our family had just gotten back from Sunday lunch and my husband, Brad had to return to the church to get something he had forgotten. He let me and the boys out and I preceded to get the boys in the house. Only, our youngest didn’t follow, he ran back to be with his daddy and the car hit. Chaos erupted, our neighbors came running out, ambulances were called, family was alarmed to the accident. Brad was allowed to ride in the ambulance ride with Jake, while he was screaming for his daddy, in and out of consciousness. After we all arrived at the hospital, the family was taken to a room to wait for the doctors. The doctors walked in and sat us down, the news was not good - I could read it on their faces. I kept thinking, just let him be okay, let him be okay. He was okay, just not in the way I expected. You see, that day, August 26, 2001, Jacob “Jake” Gunner Ewing met his heavenly Father face to face. My uncle who performed his funeral, said it best; Jake was running to meet his earthly Father and was welcomed by the arms of his Heavenly Father. 


These two events presented quite a problem for me? What is it that makes one accident end in the death of my child and the other accident, my boys walks out of the hospital with one sore body but otherwise healthy? Why? The million dollar question. We have all asked it. Book after book has been written trying to give an account of the suffering that takes place here. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it, why one day I walked out of the hospital, heartbroken over my baby boy and one day I walked out of the hospital with my arms wrapped around my big, baby boy (yes, he is taller than me) glad he was alive and walking? I felt like Job in Job 6:24 “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.” Job just wanted to understand, he wanted God to show him what he had done to deserve this. 


It is a start. 




(Yes, this is a blog that has not been edited by my sweet friend. She will die - I am sure a few sentences up there are not complete and maybe a run on or two. Maybe I should go to grammar class with my seventh grader. ** Idea, I will let him practice his grammar and edit my posts. How's that for killing two birds with one stone.)





What is God pulling you to do that you are avoiding? Why don't today you start on the first page of whatever God is asking you to do. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

No Excuses . . .

I have no excuse as to why I haven't written on my blog lately. I wish I could tell you that like katie from my new favorite blog  I am so busy taking care of the 12 african children that I have adopted at the tender age of 21.

Or like Hoodmamamel, I am in desperate need of funds in order to keep MercyStreet running efficiently.

Oh, there are countless others that aren't wasting their lives . . . .

So, until I figure out exactly how not to waste my life, I will leave you with words from John Piper's book, yep, you guessed it, "Don't Waste Your Life."


"You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don’t need to have a high IQ. You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things—or one great all-embracing thing—and be set on fire by them."



"AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY: HOW NOT TO FINISH  YOUR ONE LIFE 


I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early 
retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball 
and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it  wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life."


"Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion."



Monday, November 16, 2009

We are gearing up for another trip to Peru in January. I can't wait!!!! CAN'T WAIT!! We are very excited. Can you tell? I normally use lots of exclamation points when I write but today I am full of them. I don't really think it is a good sentence unless it needs an exclamation point. You really should read my facebook posts.  I am not sure that I have ever written one that doesn't have at least one sentence with an exclamation point.

Anyway, two ladies going on our trip to Peru are going to be able to meet their compassion kids for the FIRST time. I am so excited for them!! (Yes, I did it again! smile) Here is a touching blog of one lady's first encounter with her compassion child. Read it here, please. I just have to say life if full at the moment. Come to think of it, it usually is. But, we have had heartbreak here. Heartbreak we knew was coming, but it hurts just the same. Hurt is hurt and our heart breaks. A precious
man that I have known since I was very young went to be with Jesus on Sunday. Praise Jesus He conquered death for us; that is all I can say right now. He did it and we are eternally grateful!!!! (That deserves many exclamation marks.)

One thing I am learning and just beginning to understand is that I can't fix everything. It is a hard lesson for me. I want to sweep in and just fix it,take the pain away, heal the wound. One thing I know, the only person who can help you carry your grief is Jesus. He is the ONLY way to heal from the grief of this world. Sure, we can bring food, run errands, sit and cry together but in the still of the night or at first morning light when you just realize that it wasn't really a bad dream, Jesus is IT!!! And because of His grief, we are healed. (Isaiah 53) I can't fix it but I KNOW a God who
can! Let Him heal your heart. The coolest part of that is that He takes that grief we thought we couldn't bear and comforts us and walks us through it daily. Then one day, we realize that it was through that grief that we found Jesus and we know Him like we have never known Him before. Just like Job, at the end, we realize that though we had heard about God, we finally SEE Him
for who He is - the "I AM." Glory!

P.S. Sorry for all the exclamations and bold type. I was preaching to my computer and just couldn't quite figure out a way to express the depth of what I was feeling! Also, I just can't help but turn a post that I had meant to lead you to another post and stinkin' end up giving a mini-sermon. Man, you would think I would be out of words by now. Hey, at least you don't have to live with me. You should have heard the sermon I have our oldest the other day. We are helping this lady fix her house that was damaged in the flood and he didn't want to go help because he was "tired." Yes, I did it. I lamented to him about how he sleeps on a king size bed each night while this poor family is sleeping in muck. So, be thankful, you are only subject to me some of the time!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Help is Needed!

I have told you about this site many times and I love this family. Please, if you can, help them and their ministry. 

Here is her post:

An old friend, seasoned in the ministry of the inner city, once used this illustration and it forever changed the way I see and work out the call of the gospel in my life.

When his son was little, his greatest joy was to help his daddy do almost anything and everything.  Whenever they would pull into a gas station, he would beg for the opportunity to help fill up the car.  Almost always, our friend would succomb to the pleas of his son and begin the process that allowed the child to be 'helpful'.  He would unbuckle him from his carseats sift him from the car.  Then he would steady the boy while he wrestled with the nozzle.  Being much too weak to pull the trigger, this daddy would wrap his giant hand around his son's and squeeze the handle for him.  Inevitably, there'd be splashed gas and the nozzle would drag across the paint on the car leaving a scratch to be buffed out later.  Once the tank was full, the nozzle would be replaced into it's cradle, and the child replaced into his seat, buckled in, ready to go, clearly satisfied with a job well done.

Truth be told, our friend didn't need his son's help.  If anything, he often hindered his progress - made it messy, slow, and fraught with mistakes.  Alone, he was capable of completing the work perfectly every time.

But as a father, who desperately, unwaiveringly, wholly loves his children, he allowed his son to help because he knew that his son delighted in doing the work of his father. 

And he delighted in his son.

For six years, Mercy Street has existed to serve the community of West Dallas.  In our own brokenness, we have tried to humbly come alongside the beautiful, residents of this community to serve them, to love them, to be the hands and feet of Christ and to live worthy of the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Could He do it by himself?  Of course. 

And, I'm guessing without a personal i.v. drip of Diet Coke and a stash of Milk Duds. 

But He, in His perfect mercy, invites us to participate with him in His work - because He knows His children delight in doing the work of their Father.

For the first time, Mercy Street is in need of formal fundraising.  Giving across the nation is down 35% and we have not been immune to this statistic.  What's not down, though, is the number of children, and their families, who want to be a part of this ministry.  Kids wait outside for the doors to open at every event and,  on a daily basis, children are asking one of the mentor coordinators when they can get a mentor. 



One of my best friends, Jennifer, who I love dearly because she is so painfully honest, has told me more than once why she gives to the ministry. "Girl, I give what I give so I don't have to do what you do." We laugh and but the truth is, we couldn't do what we do without people like her.

So, here's the deal.  Trey very sweetly, and with chocolate, asked that I put the need out to my friends in the blogosphere.  One of our fundraising goals is that 250 new donors would pledge $25 a month.  I know a lot of ya'll readers live here in Dallas but many of you live in other countries, like Florida, and we need you all. 

If you so feel led (no pressure), would you consider giving to Mercy Street - partnering with us to continue to do the the work of our Father?  If so, the Mercy Street logo below, or on the left sidebar, is a link that will take you to a secure site where you can give. Also, feel free to forward this to all of your friends.  I won't get mad at all.



On a side note, if this is your first visit to my blog, take heart, I don't ask for help all the time.  I swear.  Unless it comes to laundry advice.  Or hair advice.  Or good ideas for meals that look and taste like I spent a lot of time but I actually just defrosted and microwaved them.  To those - I'm guilty as charged.

Also, please forward and pass this info along to other bloggers, your friends etc.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books! Plus, the "meaty" vs. "mindless"

I was just updating me reading list of what I am reading, have read or have on my amazon wish list. Let me just tell you. My amazon wish list is HUGE!! I am loving the kindle for my phone and having to resist just purchasing books that are automatically downloaded right then and there to my phone. Oh, the temptation! However, there is nothing better at 1 am when you can't sleep and you have read every "mindless" book you own and you need something to help you sleep. I know, I am crazy. I read all the "meaty" books during the day when my brain is actually working and the "mindless" books at night. It is not that the "mindless" books are not actually "meaty" but they teach you a lesson without actually having to think about it. (I mean Karen Kingsbury and Francine Rivers, enough said!)  I am one that after about 7pm my brain starts a steady decline.

Ok, while looking up the author for "Quest for More: Living the For Something Bigger Than You, I just found a gold mine of books. It looks like the guy that wrote this "Quest for More" is also the man who wrote "Age of Opportunity" which is hands down the best book about raising teenagers (other than the one TRUE book, the Bible.) Oh, I digress. Not the the bible is a digression, it is just that I am having trouble getting to the point of this paragraph. The point is, Mr. Paul David Tripp has written oh so much, I have never even heard of? Oh my, he has written one for the midlife crises called, "Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God," "War of Words, Getting to the Heart of your Communication Struggle," "Broken-Down House," and much more!

So, on the right side of my blog is my book list. I am now waiting for yours. What are you reading now? "Meaty" or "Mindless?" I am headed out for a road trip today and I will have countless hours to download items to my kindle. Ideas, please.

Oh, and just a small side note. I AM GOING TO SECRET CHURCH TONIGHT!!! Oh, yes, my birthday wish is happening! (Thanks to Brad and my church for sending us!)

Mary Kassian

I read Mary Kassian's blog often and lately she has been contrasting Girl-Gone-Wild vs. Girl-Gone-Wise! What a fun way to show us how to be wise women. I loved today and wanted to share. I think you will enjoy too!

Possessions

How she handles her money and resources
Girl-Gone-Wild: Circumspect
Girl-Gone-Wise: Indulgent

Girl-Gone-Wild: “SI have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” Proverbs 7:16-17
Girl-Gone-Wise: “She opens her hand to the poor and raches out her hands to the needy… she makes bed coverings for herself…”. Proverbs 31:20-22

“‘Smart Girls Get More” is a wildly successful ad campaign that promotes the United Kingdom’s best-selling young women’s magazine, “More.” The message shouts from billboards, buses, TV commercials, radio spots, sponsorships, and competitions. It inundates British women with the idea that if they are smart, they will get more-more men, more sex, more celebrity gossip, more beauty, more fashion, more products, and, of course, more of the magazine that supplies all the latest and greatest information on these pleasures. “Cuz Smart Girls Get More!”
Although that particular ad campaign hasn’t run in North America, it’s the clandestine message of virtually all mass marketing efforts. Merchandisers want to convince us that we need more of whatever it is they are selling. The Bible’s perspective differs from the world’s. Constantly buying more stuff isn’t a trait of a woman who’s smart, it’s a hallmark of a Girl-Gone-Wild. The Wild Thing is an indulgent, voracious consumer who pursues pleasure through the purchase of material goods. A Girl-Gone-Wise thinks differently about the way she spends her money. She’s circumspect. She understands that everything she has comes from God. She tries to honor Him by being a good steward of all her resources. She treasures the riches of the Kingdom more than the riches of the world.
The fact that the woman in Proverbs 7 takes such care to detail the extravagant luxury of her possessions gives us a clue as to her attitude towards them. It’s clear she has an underlying attitude of self-importance and self-indulgence. She wants the young man to be impressed and to hold her in high regard. She wants him to admire her, and to charm him with all her finery. She wants him to affirm that she is really something. She’s like the harlot, Lady Babylon, who indulged in the “power of luxurious living” and in the “passion of sexual immorality”, and seduced nations to “drink her wine.” (Revelation 18:3)
The passage in Revelation informs us that Lady Babylon was a greedy consumer. She was a shopaholic who bought all sorts of exotic imported merchandise: “gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.” She was extremely fond of these “delicacies and splendors.” In her mind, they were status symbols-”must-have” items. The latest and greatest in Babylon’s More magazine was “the fruit for which [her] soul longed.” (18:12-14)
Nowadays, we’ve substituted designer jeans for purple cloth, satin sheets for fine linen, French perfume for frankincense, 5-star restaurants for cattle and sheep, BMWs for horses and chariots, nannies and housekeepers for slaves, but we’re just as greedy and self-indulgent. Like Lady Babylon and the Proverbs 7 woman, we’re caught up in the endless quest for more. We spend and spend, even if we don’t have the money.
A Girl-Gone-Wild is a voracious consumer. She treasures the things of this world more than she treasures Jesus Christ. She settles for fleeting pleasures that do not satisfy her deepest needs, and in the end, ultimately destroy her soul. The world tells us that smart girls get more. But Scripture says that if we’re truly smart, we won’t settle for the “more” the world can offer. We’ll want immeasurably more than its cheap, temporary thrills. The problem is not that we desire beautiful and precious things, but that we have a faulty perception about what is most beautiful and most precious. We settle for treasures that wear out, break down, and can be stolen, when we ought to set our hearts on riches that last forever.
The Bible teaches that what you do with money-or desire to do with it-can make or break your happiness forever. The Girl-Gone-Wild who makes material riches her goal in life has the wrong values. However wealthy she may appear, she is poverty-stricken in God’s sight. In His economy, the truly rich woman is the one whose main aim in life is to serve him as King. Her wealth lies in the currency of faith and good works, opening her hand to the poor, and reaching out her hands to the needy. She has a heavenly bank balance that no one can steal and nothing can erode. She lays up for herself treasures in heaven, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) The Girl-Gone-Wise knows that heavenly treasure is the kind that smart girls get more.
© Mary A. Kassian


This is a pre-publication excerpt from “Girls Gone Wise in a World gone Wild,” © Mary A. Kassian to be published by Moody Publishers in 2010. All rights reserved. You are welcome to link to this post, but please do not copy and/or reproduce this copyrighted material without express written permission of Moody Publishing.

Article printed from Girls Gone Wise: http://www.marykassian.com
URL to article: http://www.marykassian.com/archives/1205

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Interrupted

This week was the week I was going to email out invitations for a new bible study, "Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker." I was so excited to get this started since our church bible study ended last week. However, I was interrupted with life here. I already have the emails in my draft box and something (someONE) told me to wait. I am so glad I did. You see, I am one who gets excited about something and jumps in fully clothed and ready to go. I want everyone to come with me and learn what I am learning. I always long for a big, bible study party. There is nothing better than women getting together to study God's word together. Except maybe, just maybe, there is something better; I am learning that this week and next week (and every week after that) is more about me showing God's love.

The bible study I wanted to start was about letting God interrupt your life. I haven't even started it and I can see that He has already done that. This week has been about showing His love. We had the Great Giveaway at our church this week and it was AWESOME. At the Great Giveaway, we all took our extra, nice stuff from our houses and invited those less fortunate than us - to shop for free from all our stuff. It was time well spent. I am not sure who benefited more, the people or me getting to help them. It really is only something that God can do - bless me when I choose to help others. Now you know me, I am not saying that Bible study is not important. HIS WORD IS WHAT CHANGES US! HIS WORD IS WHAT SUSTAINS US. But I think many of us are right here:

"I developed a form of spiritual bulimia where I did my devotions, read all the new Christian books and saw the Christian movies, and then vomited information up to friends, small groups. and pastors. But it never had the chance to digest. I had gorged myself on all the products of the Christian industrial complex but was spiritually starving to death. I was marked by an over-consumption but malnourished spiritually, suffocated by Christianity but thirsty for God." Taken from "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker

My dad calls it the "holy huddle" and I blogged about it here.

Brad's grandparents are not doing well and I am now home during the day and I can help them. It has been a blessing for us for me to be home so I can help. My father in law has a habit of joking with me about why I stay home with the kids - well, here is your answer.  I am free to do things that others can't. I am here to let God "interrupt" my day. (Please, please, hear my heart on this - I have been there for those of you who can't stay home! I know what it is like, it is hard, very hard. God can "interrupt" you there too.)

I am not saying that I always do this well. I am one who gets up in the morning and has a list on a notecard (I am queen of the 3x5's) of all the things I want to accomplish that day. I am learning, slowly, that my list might not get done, my house might not be clean but I have showed God's love to someone who needed it. By the way, if you haven't read Crazy Love, by Francis Chan, now is the time.

It has been rainy here for weeks and last night my heart was so heavy with all the needs around me. I have friends taking their young boy to Tennessee to see if his cancer is back, dear friends who are battling cancer, Brad's grandparents and family dealing with aging and needing constant help, marriages that are HURTING, people who just getting through the day - THEY HURT! Secret pain is killing many,  many are hiding in their own despair.

Psalm 119: 81-82 "I faint with longing for your salvation; but I have put MY HOPE in YOUR word. My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me?" (NLT)

It is overwhelming for me, but not for HIM! Let yourself get interrupted today. Ask God right now to show you how He wants to love others through you and when He shows you - DO IT. I think so often we know what we should do, we just don't want to. Ask Him to change your "want to."

I can promise you this, I have been asking God to change my heart to desire the things HE desires - HE is doing it. Things I loved before, they don't mean so much. Things I HAD to have, I look and think - "why did I think I needed that?" 1 Timothy 6:6 "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment." It is not something I have done, He has changed my heart and I am longing for things other than what I want. He is doing the work. Ask Him, He will do it for you too.

Ok, so I know I am everywhere in this post today. One thought keeps getting "interrupted" by another. It is ADD in it's truest form. On a last note, we can't do everything well. We must walk closely with the Sprit to make sure we are doing what He asks. For us to be so busy and get nothing done won't help either. Just like I tell my kids, "listen and obey."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Idea

Our family has been trying to think of ways to save money to help those who are less fortunate than us -here are some facts to wrap your brain around. Just in case you were having a day when you thought maybe you weren't so fortunate. 


*Of the six billion people on planet Earth, about 1.2 billion live on 23 cents a day. 
* Half the world lives on less than $2 a day. 
*  The wealthiest one billion people average $70 a day. (This places you and me in the upper, upper, upper percentages of the global population.) 
•  If you make $35,000 annually, you are in the top four percent. 
• If you make $50,000 annually, top one percent. 
* Someone dies of hunger every 16 seconds. 
*  Twenty-two million people died of preventable diseases last year; 10 million were children.
*  Twenty-seven million children and adults are trapped in slavery because of economic crisis (sex slaves, labor slaves, child soldiers, and child slaves). More slaves exist today than ever before in human history.
*  More than 143 million children in the world have been orphaned or abandoned (equivalent to more than half the population of the U.S.). 


In the last hour: 
•  More than 1,600 children were forced to the streets by the death or abuse of an adult. 
• At least 115 children became prostitutes. 
•  More than 66 children younger than 15 years of age were infected with HIV.7 
*  Roughly one billion people in the world do not have suitable housing, and 100 million are entirely homeless. 


So, just a start for our family. We are on a cash system here and we pay cash for most of all our daily expenses. I have begun to keep our change every time I pay cash for something and I don't use that change for anything else. (Unless, of course, I am in desperate need of a diet dr. pepper and I have to use it for a vending machine) I come home and put it in a can and save it. We also put any change we find around the house, in pockets, in drawers and add it to the can. Basically, if I find anything laying around - it goes in the can. 


It is almost full and we just started. I will let you know how much we "saved" and now we are praying about who we will give it too. Also, find a bank that will sort your change - that Coinstar thing takes too much of your money for itself to count your change. Or, better yet, teach your kids how to count and roll the change. ( I haven't done that in forever, I used to love to do that when I was younger.)


Any ideas y'all have out there??

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I had the incredible privilege this week of flying to Springdale, Arkansas and giving my testimony to their ladies group. After a special time of sharing what God has done in our lives, I was invited to lunch by an old friend and one of her friends. This sweet, precious girl shared her story of how her 3 day old baby went to be with Jesus not too long ago. My heart broke for her, yet, I was jealous for her, for all the things I knew the Lord was going to show her, for all the ways He was going to reveal Himself to her and her family. I was jealous for that quiet desperation that I remember all too well. I am by no means wishing to enter into that kind of pain ever again, but from my side, I know what that type of heartache can bring, if you let it. It brings so many things but most importantly, it brings such a clear knowledge of God that no one can refute. Pain brings out in us a certainty that HE rules and reigns and there in nothing, absolutely nothing, that can thwart what God has for us on this earth. His plans and purposes for us will be accomplished. There is nothing more peaceful than knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God choose you to walk this journey
with Him and for Him. He entrusted it to you, to me, to use it as our own personal offering to Him; to use whatever may come our way to be the instrument this dying world sees of His Glorious Light.
I want it to be said of me, "There is no way she did that, lived that, taught that, without the power of something, that something being Jesus."They might not recognize it at first as being Jesus but there will be a difference when He reigns in our lives. It will be recognizable. We won't do things like the rest of the world.  We will stand out. Hopefully, we are standing out. I pray that we look different.

My dad spoke at our church this weekend and talked about how we are supposed to go out and be HIS light, how we are supposed to be recognized, not for what we do in our church walls, but what we do outside. He used the illustration of a football game (you see where I get it from??) and how strange it would be if we saw the players just huddle together and not ever go out and play. They just stayed in the huddle, they liked the huddle, they weren't going to get hit in the huddle, the huddle is safe. Yes, we need the huddle. That is where we get our instructions - we get the game plan, the play book. But, after we have gotten our instructions, it is time to go out and fight the battle. Don't just stay in your huddle.  Go out and make some plays. I can't guarantee you won't get hurt, that you won't have some scars, or that it won't be exhausting. I can guarantee that one day, when our God decides that this time here on Earth is over, it will be worth it all. He is worth it all.
Don't miss the message for all my silly football talk - there is a battle going on out there and it is not one we watch at a football game. It is a spiritual battle and the stakes are high! The battle must be fought. The world needs to know (SEE) Him.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do you ever feel like you have something to say and not sure how to say it? Then you read something or someone and think, that's the way I would like to have said that. Only she did it so much better! Here are some blogs I am loving right now. Why? They are honest with their feeling and struggles and hurts and honest about what God is doing in their lives.
Sarah Markey - The Best Days of my Life 

Snoodlings

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How's Your Training Going?

All this football talk is making me wonder how we are doing in our own spiritual training? How are we working out our own spiritual muscles? My bible reading yesterday showed me what we need to be trained in. 
1 Timothy 4:6-16 is a passage where Paul is talking to Timothy and telling him what he can do to be a good servant of Christ Jesus. I think there are a few things in here that show us what we need to focus our training on.

  6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive,because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and a your hearers.

Here is the list I put in the side of my bible about this passage:

What to focus my training on:

*tell the brothers what they word says

*train in the words of faith and good doctrine

*have nothing to do with irreverent myths - myths period - my chapter in proverbs today (ch. 26) told us to avoid the whisperer and why =TROUBLEMAKER

*train yourself for godliness - godliness is of value in every way - it holds the promise for the present life and the life to come

Command and teach these things:

*set an example in speech, conduct, love, faith, purity

*devote yourself to public reading of scripture, exhortation, teaching

*don't neglect our gifts

*practice these things, immerse yourself in them so that all will see your progress

*keep a close watch on yourself and your teaching

*persist in this

Don't you love those words: train, devote, practice, immerse, close watch, persist? We sure have a job to here! Sounds like a hard core football practice to me. Let's train not just the physical body but our spiritual one as well. Many of you know that I am using the Professor Horner's Bible reading plan to read my bible each day. I have also been doing a couple other things that has been helping enrich and challenge me in studying God's word. If you are brave enough - listen to David Platt's secret church teaching on how to study your bible. (It is long but WELL worth it) Every paragraph or so I am
trying to write a purpose for what I think about the paragraph I just read. It doesn't have to be long or very theological. Just my thoughts of what I just read. Or I put a name with a date by it if it is something I prayed for my kids or family or friends. Or I might just write, "we want this to be true of our family." You get my point. (I use a journaling bible that has blanks on the margin where I can write. If you need extra help with how to study the bible, I would recommend "the New Inductive Study Bible because it
tells you how to study each book. There are other journaling bibles out there but these don't have quite as many "helps" in them.) The other thing that I have added is one of my favorite easy to read and follow commentaries by Warren Wiersbe. It is called the Chapter-by-chapter Bible commentary. It is a small book and can go anywhere with you. It is the best for just a quick understanding of what you just read. It is also very helpful in understanding what is going on in a chapter. Just make sure you read the
chapter first before going to the commentary. Also, when I start a new book,
I read this summary about each book before I start, "Making the Bible Clear," by Fred Lowery. I realize that is a bit different that Pro. Horner's intention of reading the bible, I have also turned it into a study time and is working better for me. Others are reading these chapters and doing a separate study time. You decide what works best for you. I might change later but liking this right now. It might be that you have to split it up and only do 5 chapters a day. You figure out what works best for you to train yourself in godliness. Just keep doing it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Louisiana Football

Drew had his first football game in Louisiana this week.  It was a rough one.  I won't tell you had bad they lost. We got a spankin'!  The morning of the game, while I was out running, I had been praying for Drew and his game. I was really nervous since this was his first real game since his accident. I kept pouring my heart out to God about Drew and asking God to grow him into a godly young man. I so strongly believe that football is good for boys for many reasons that I actually wrote a blog about it here.

I don't want football or school or anything he does to just be about that event but about God's glory in making and molding him into the man God has planned. One huge thing the boys must learn is self control and football, as well as many others sports and activities, teaches this. My bible reading this morning had this verse, Proverbs 25:28 "A man without self control is like a city broken into and left without walls." What a great picture of what the lack of self control does - it leaves us unprotected.

Now I really like to win, I mean really like to win. But I prayed a hard prayer for me to pray. "Lord, use this game to cause Drew to rely on You, to long for more of You. If losing will fill him up with things other than You, let them lose. If winning will add pride to his heart and not a thankful
dependence on You, let him lose. Your will be done. Oh and please don't let him get hurt!" I was listening to David Platt the other day and he said that we are more worried about fake battles on Saturday (college football day) then the real battle (spiritual) all around us. I am so guilty of that and asking God to change my heart. I want to train my boys for the real battle. Football can be a tool for that but they must know why they are playing, why God gave them athletic ability and shown examples of those who have used that ability for HIS glory.

My mom reminded me that day that God is Drew's protector and defender. With Drew being the quarterback, we need some big defenders! Thankfully, God is a big defender. He is our protector too, even when they do get hurt. God wasn't any less our protector the day Drew was carried off the field in a stretcher than the days he walked off the field. That is a truth I must
ingrain on my heart so that football doesn't become a stressful thing but a fun family event.

This picture shows my favorite part of Louisiana football.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Gift From My Parents!

My parents have given my lots of gifts over the years, some big and some little. Some gifts have been tangible, others not so easy to see. I have been thinking lately about how one of the greatest gifts I think they gave me was the courage to not just do things because that is what has always been done. I am not sure if they consciously did this or just allowed certain behaviors or feelings to stand in our house that they could have easily discouraged. I am sure looking back, as a parent, it would have been easier to curb certain behaviors in us. We are three strong willed sisters and somehow they created a sense of "courage" in all us girls. I won't lie, we were a handful! My dad once wrote this just in case you were thinking how fun it would be to have a daughter like me!


"First, I know some of you pastors wonder about your kids and the effects from the stress of being a PK. Kasey is my middle daughter and she went through her time of rebellion. There were times when I took her car away, cancelled her insurance, and put our house on lockdown. Some days, I didn't think we would make it. My friend Michael Catt's favorite church story is about Kasey. When Kasey was three, she told the church day care workers that if they didn't get under the table and play with her she would have her daddy fire them. I think by reading this you will realize that her strong will has given over to His will. The pain of rebellion has turned into the pleasure of obedience." Charles Lowery, taken from SBC LIFE

As you can see we weren't allowed inappropriate behavior (at least when they were around) but we were allowed to speak our minds. Our rebellion of God is never good, our rebellion of this world - YES! We were allowed to question certain things that we didn't understand or didn't make sense to us. It wasn't that anything necessarily changed based off our feelings but we were given the freedom to say what we thought on most occasions.

I specifically remember when I was in elementary and my older sister was in high school. We both went to the same private school and an unfortunate event had happened. One of the teachers had had an affair with another teacher and the other spouse worked at the school too. Needless to say it was a mess and many heated discussions came from that. No details needed but that we both saw two different sides to the story and felt passionate about each side. I still remember us all sitting around our beds talking about it. Our parents allowed us to hash it out!

My dad was one who went to a church and rocked the boat a little :)) HA HA! I have to laugh now but each of us saw the hurt and pain that came from not just doing church a certain way BECAUSE THAT IS THE WAY WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT! That is a story I won't go into here but we saw our dad take a stand for things that didn't make him win the pastor of the year award! We knew it and we felt it and we learned that like the country song says, "you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

I think they taught us how to stand for something. I am not saying I always get this right or that I don't mouth off things that I am thinking way before I should. But I was given a gift from them and I will treasure it always. I will take that gift given and in the place where God has put us - and use it. I love the bumper sticker that says "well behaved women never make history." Now, I am not saying that we go out and unnecessarily cause a ruckus. I am saying, God has placed us here for a reason and that reason is to glorify Him in all we do. Let's not be satisfied with status quo, let's go out and make "history" (HIS STORY) known!

Monday, September 14, 2009

To Do List!!

Every morning I think through what I need to do for the day. Even last night before Jackson was going to bed he asked me to do something today and I said, "sure!" Then he said, "put that on your list so you won't forget." HAHA! He knows me well.
This morning as I started my list I did something different. I wrote down all the things that I thought I needed to do today. THEN, I started praying over the list asking the Lord to show me what HE wanted me to do today. I was thinking that maybe He might send someone to sit in the car line for me?? Nope, He thinks that is something I should do, go figure!
I am sure I make walking with the Lord way more difficult than it has to be! Listen and obey!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Poem Was on Beth Moore's Blog - Fits Perfect!


Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
[Sir Francis Drake]

The Snake

Well, this morning was a first for me. While I was running across the street from our apartments I ran right past a dead snake. A DEAD SNAKE! The snake had obviously been run over by a car but was still outlined on the road in a large S shape. (I almost ran back here to get my camera but I was too hot and tired. ) Since there is not much to do while running and seeing a snake on the road is a first for me, I can't seem to get that dead S shape out of my mind. God is teaching me so much on my morning runs. Maybe it is because I am stuck out there with not much else to do but listen to Him. It is a good thing for me. 


When Brad and I were trying to pick places to live when God quickly called us to move to Bossier CIty, LA. (I mean, 3 weeks is not much time to move across the country) We felt that God was telling us to just move to an apartment for a little while to see what God has for us after that. I am so glad we didn't rush into buying a house. God is teaching us so many things about what His desires are for us and I am praying daily that God will give me a heart for what He cares about. I don't want to get wrapped up in the things of this world and lose my vision for His plan for our family. 


I remember in my Beth Moore study of Daniel that Beth taught us that if we are not purposefully taking stands against the materialistic pull of this culture, we will fall prey to it. How true it is. While running through these beautiful neighborhoods out here, I can get sucked into the 'I wants." I see this house or that house and my flesh is crying out, "you need this." I was battling it out with my flesh today - I need HIM and only HIM. Then I see the snake, dead in the road. It is like God was saying to me, "doesn't matter where your neighborhood is, it's got snakes." We can live in the hood (like my new found blog friend) or live in a mansion (don't really know anyone that lives in one of these, a mini-mansion, they are everywhere) IT HAS SNAKES. 


I think God was showing me this morning that no matter what we all look like on the outside and we can pretty that up real well and cover the snakes, we all have them! He is the answer, not things. Of anything I have learned over the years is that our time here is short and can end unexpectantly and is not worth wasting on the things of this world. What are we doing with our time? Our money? Our dreams? Are we daily seeking His face for HE has for us each day and then going out and doing what He says. I pray today that we start the habit of asking Jesus each moment what He has, learn to listen to His Spirit.
 Ask questions like, "should I buy this?"
"Should I go and talk to her?"
"Should I go out today or stay home?"
"What. Lord, do you want me to do today?"
"Should I . . . . ?" (You fill in your blank)
Begin to let God show you daily, hourly, minute by minute what He has for you today. He longs to guide you and show you where He wants you to go.(or not go) 


You are loved, snakes and all!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

WOW

Wow, is really all I can say about the last week. After we lived through the anniversary of Jake's death, we were confronted once again with tragic loss. Brad's uncle Chris was killed by a drunk driver over the weekend. I have pondered all week what life is all about and how we are living it. It can change so fast. SO FAST. One phone call and our worlds as we know it can change. My heart broke for Nana and Grandpa and what I knew was ahead for them. It was just way to familiar for me, the tragic death and the loss of a son, the burial at the same place Jake is buried. It was surreal to say the least. I felt myself detaching at moments and feeling it ALL at other moments. I am rambling. I think there was a point to this. Maybe not.

I was running yesterday and I learned something about myself. I have this nike thing that goes in my ipod and tells me how far I have run and how much longer I have to go. I set it for 5k yesterday and went out and ran it and it felt good. However, the day before I set it for 3 miles and I could barely make it through it. There is something about little chunks, like 5 kilometers that is easier for me to get through than three long miles. I have learned that I can run little by little, one kilometer at a time.

Isn't that the christian life though? God gave the Israelites manna each morning, He gives us mercies new each morning. What we need for the moment we need it. It is just like grief, if we look out at how the loss is going to effect us for the rest of our lives we can get way overwhelmed. We must focus on small (1 kilometer) chunks at a time. God gives us the grace we need when we need it. That is why, I think, he tells us not to worry about tomorrow. He will handle tomorrow with us, tomorrow. Let's just worry about today with Him and ask for that extra grace to make it through whatever is troubling us today. One day at a time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009





One thing I did learn yesterday, I don't want to waste my life. Heaven is coming and will last for eternity. Are we wasting our lives here? Seriously, what are we doing here. Is it what God has called us to do? 


Watch this today: But be ready!


a href="http://www.brookhills.org/media/series/radical/v49" target="_blank">RADICAL video: RADICAL1_VID

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jake Ewing Sept. 9, 1999-Aug. 26, 2001

Not quite sure what I feel this morning. Eight years, wow, I didn't think we would make it through eight days. And here we are eight years later. Time moves quickly, don't waste it.

This morning I dropped Jackson off for Kindergarden and my sweet baby just waved and screamed out love you mom while blowing me kisses. One thing about Jackson, he loves his momma. I didn't want to drive away, I bawled the whole way home. The first few days of him gone was fun, I got to get some stuff done. Now I just want him to sit in my lap and cuddle me all day.  That boy was God's gift to heal this heart of mine!

I don't have much today, I am pretty raw. Not sure why this one is hitting me harder than the last few anniversaries have. Maybe all the changes lately are getting the best of me?

I can tell you this. Our home is not here, are we living like it is? Don't waste your life! Read my last post by John Piper, it says it all, the words I want to say but can't today.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beginning of Sermon by John Piper


Galatians 6:14
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don't have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don't have to have to have good looks or riches; you don't have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them.
But I know that not everybody in this crowd wants your life to make a difference. There are hundreds of you - you don't care whether you make a lasting difference for something great, you just want people to like you. If people would just like you, you'd be satisfied. Of if you could just have good job with a good wife and a couple good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and quick and easy death and no hell - if you could have that (minus God) - you'd be satisfied. THAT is a tragedy in the making.
Three weeks ago we got word at our church that Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards had both been killed in Cameroon. Ruby was over 80. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: To make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing 80 years old, and serving at Ruby's side in Cameroon. The brakes failed, the car went over the cliff, and they were both killed instantly. And I asked my people: was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great vision, spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ—two decades after almost all their American counterparts have retired to throw their lives away on trifles in Florida or New Mexico. No. That is not a tragedy. That is a glory.
I tell you what a tragedy is. I'll read to you from Reader's Digest (Feb. 2000, p. 98) what a tragedy is: "Bob and Penny... took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells." The American Dream: come to the end of your life - your one and only life - and let the last great work before you give an account to your Creator, be "I collected shells. See my shells." THAT is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. And I get forty minutes to plead with you: don't buy it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mercy Street

Because I would never ask you to do anything, I am not doing and since I have a quiet house for part of my day. I am starting at the beginning and reading all of the posts from A Long Way from the Theta house. I have cried, laughed, been challenged and mostly encouraged about all the things that I know God is calling Brad and I to do with our lives. To love Jesus and let our lives reflect his love. We can make a difference here, that is what we are here for, to change this world.

A Long Way from the Theta house is the personal blog of a lady whose husband runs Mercy Street ministries. This mercy street is much like my favorite ministry for global outreach Compassion International which takes kids from a poor community and works with the churches and schools to teach them about Jesus. I am amazed to see all that God has done in both ministries but most of all excited that I can do that here in Bossier City, LA and not move across the world (I am not quite ready for that move). Not sure I am ready to move down the street either but feel that God is calling me to something more than nice neighborhoods with big houses. I am not saying that nice neighborhoods with big houses are wrong, I really like them! I am one who gets very attached to my houses and as Brad can tell you, I like a nice house!

What I have been praying each day is that God would change my heart and that I would desire the things that were important to Him. That he would remove the desires that are not of Him. I want to love what He loves and desire what He does! He is being true to His promises and giving me a heart for what He has a heart for. We can't make ourselves change what we desire but He can change our heart and He is slowly changing mine.

I have no idea what God has for us. I do know that wherever He calls, I pray I am obedient. That whatever neighborhood we move to, that we will have a house on mercy street. A house that shows God's love and mercy to the world. A house that is known for it's open door to the community. One that shines like a light in this dark world. Every neighborhood needs that kind of house. Will you change your street to mercy street with me? Decide to use your home for God's glory. What I do know is that Proverbs 28:27 says "whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse." Let's stop hiding our eyes and seeing the need out there!

Followers