Monday, August 29, 2011

Yep, I got nothing.

Nothing profound to say. Same old same old going on around here. Struggling to be a good parent. Struggling to have Godly reactions.

Feeling blessed dispite my struggles. Feeling Joy for no reason other than He is with me.

Hubby is gone all week on a conference for work.

Son has to have oral surgery to remove a dublicate set of top front teeth hiding in his gums. Yeah, weird- poor little guy.

I caught a whiff of coolness in the air this morning while I was watering my roses, and I will not lie it thrilled my heart. Fall is rather coy here. It will wink at you for a month or so before it actually arrives.

This week I offer up a sound track to how I seem to be feeling:

 "I'm with you" inspired by the story of Ruth

"Beautiful things"

"Your love is a song"

The player with this blog will be playing these songs so all you have to do is turn your speakers on.

Hey, is God making a sound track for your week?- maybe you need to turn the speakers on in your life.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Youth and Blind Spots

Yeah, the title is misleading. The two are totally unrelated but both have been tumbling around in my head.

Youth have been on my brain for oh, about 5 years now. Since the moment I realized God was calling my husband and I to minister to the youth of our church, I was nervous. I did not think I really had what it took, but I had just discovered the truth that my husband's ministry should be the priority and I was his right hand woman, as it were. I was the helpmate so by golly I was going to help. (insert random recommendation for the book Biblical Womanhood in the Home by Nancy Leigh DeMoss)

We stumbled our way along and God sent many sources (Holy Spirit whisperings, the Bible, books, people, videos...) to guide us. But one thing really caught me off guard was the Youth He sent to help us.

Here's what He did this month:

In our youth leadership class (about 5 youth) we have been working on their vision as leaders and who they see as their mission field. We have pretty much discerned that their gift as a group is friendship, so we challenged them to reach out to someone God put on their heart. Someone who clearly needed a friend.

Low and behold, God put the same person on the heart of two members so they proceeded to reach out to this person. After several days of building a relationship with him, one of the youth felt compelled to come to church early on Wednesday night to pray for this new friend. He told me he was praying a step by step prayer for this new friend's life. He prayed God would lead the new friend to church, then salvation, then discipleship. (this is the prayer of an 18 year old- can hear the creak of conviction on your own old rusty heart? I can.)

He continued to pray. I was practicing with the praise band and who should waltz into the door but their new friend. Apparently he also knew another member of our larger youth group and her family had talked him into coming that night.

You should have seen the faces of those two leaders. Glowing, Glowing. Their mouths were open. How had God done this? Was God really that Amazing? Yes, my friend, yes.

But it does not end there. Satan being who he is, was rather put out by all this. The young lady who had brought this new friend was now exploring her new faith in Christ and it was costing her at school. Dear friends were pulling away from her and our new friend was having doubts about whether he should continue to attend church with her.

She came Sunday broken hearted at his refusal to attend. Our youth leaders stepped up praying for her and our new friend. They start texting our new friend about how much they would miss him. And at the end of a long prayer time, the new friend texts back he is on his way to church.

Praise breaks out. Church service Sunday was full of praise and worship was alive. Almost our entire youth group huddled around our new friend at the end of service. He was struggling but welcomed them near, you could see it. They prayed over him, sang over him and generally made him feel like he was vitally important to them all.

This started with a group of believers all under the age of 18.

There is no reason this cannot happen in every age group of the Church!

In fact, it's biblical that these young ones be integrated into a multi-age family of Christ.

Pause... let it resonate.

Oops. I guess it does relate to my other topic.

Blind spots.

I have them. I made the crazy decision to pray God would show them to me when I had started noticing that many of my Christian friends had them.

It was only fair.

My normal policy is, if I see something to criticize in you, I have to turn it into a prayer request. So I was doing a lot of praying this week and thought it only right to turn it on myself.

Bam! A day later it gets pointed out to me that I do not pay attention to people as I should.
I knew I was absent minded but had I really worked and prayed to change that?

Food for thought. Sustenance for Pondering.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Set Up

Today was special.

Today I totally unexpectedly ran into someone who very obviously was sent directly to me by God.

It was so weird. I came to a place expecting to attend a meeting and during the meeting a person, a woman, I had never met before began to share a parenting struggle she was facing.

It sounded like she was reading my dairy. She was repeating a story I lived 7 months ago. It was eerie. I instantly knew why she was in this meeting.

She explained that this very morning in the middle of a multi-week Daniel style fast, she in total desperation had pleaded with God to show her a Christian counselor she could use to help her and her family make it though this time.

The building we were in housed a Christian counselor, who I could without reservation recommend. One of the other women quickly got her his card.

She and I proceeded to talk for 2 hours. I saw fear and pain transform to hope on her face face during our conversation.

What profound words did I graciously impart to her?

Basically that I too, had faced a moment of desperation in my parenting. I had been the mother who's child, despite all my best efforts hurt, mistreated and pushed away other people.

I too had faced the shame of being a "public" person in our church, who had to openly admit I did not know how to handle my child's behavior. A mother who wept in front of two poor public school teachers at a conference. A mother who had to seek prayer partners for her own child.

But (and here's the best part) God made a way. A way for hope, A way for change, A way for transformation. In the deepest darkest moment where I wondered if I really failed as a parent- my son met up with the Holy Spirit and things changed.

My son is not perfect now, but he is open. He is not all loving but he is alert to love. He is not full of faith, but he is growing in faith. He went from openly questioning the existence of God, to embracing the saving grace of Christ. (He is a teenager trapped in the body of a 9 year old- but that is a story for another day)

Her child is not the same as mine but her pain is and the hope I had to offer was real.

I walked away from that meeting on a cloud. As I trotted to my car propelled by joy and gratitude for being allowed to do this, thought crossed my mind "I got to be an Angel today".
Not a supernatural being, but a messenger. A messenger of Hope.

It was pretty much pure Joy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fear & Hope

The ultimate cage fight right? Fear vs. Hope.

Right here in my heart.

Hate to admit it after 25 years of being a Christ follower, I still let them go 10 rounds inside of me.

Today, I had to face up to this battle. I love Christ's Church, but I cannot rule over it. (Thank goodness God has it covered)

People are people, and they tend to do things that do not match up with Scripture. They tend to do those things in His Church.

Yikes! The idea that the name of Christ and His church might get dirtied, makes me very angry and afraid. The idea that His work would be hindered makes me worried.

I have done all that is humanly possible and scriptural to act in the situation but to no avail. I have prayed and will continue to pray intently over this situation. I have been encouraged by mentors and my dear husband walks along side me in prayer.

Then I hear a message on Hope this morning. We who are in Christ are the Hopeful! We have Hope in a person, in the one True Living God.

Finally I "Googled" the word Hope in the Bible and the very first verse that came up was this:

Romans 8:24-25
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Knock out blow. TKO.
God wants me to have hope when no solution is seen because of the fact that I know who He is.

He hears me.

My part is just the meager act of letting my faith take the form of patience. If my patience shows how great I believe my God is, I pray I will be the picture of peaceful patience. Reign great and mighty Lord of Host!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Every now and then God humbles me and it's never a bad thing. There was a time when I really did not understand what value these times had, but it's becoming amazing to see these windows in to my soul and God's character.

I love to sing. I have sung since I knew what singing was. It's just fun and singing to the Lord brings me joy. In the last four years God has provided an opportunity to sing as part of the worship team at our church. It has been a learning curve but I am beginning to feel at home in this ministry.

I cannot read music and I have no natural sense of timing. Rhythm, I don't have. But I have a good memory so sing a song for me correctly a few times and I can sing it well after that. I usually sing as back up to a lead and I prefer it that way.

Last night I was practicing for a special and I just could not get the timing. Two girls, who I have been trying to encourage to sing, stepped up and started practicing with me. They are both band students and have perfect timing. Our Trio sounded great. We ending up singing the special together and it was a true moment of worship.

I quickly realized my goal of singing a solo was not God's plan, and He did not mind using my horrible timing as the avenue to set me on the right path. It is very humbling to see how my prayers of guidance as a leader to these girls are answered.

It's not the first time I have needed to need them. Previously a High School flute player kept me on track until she graduated. I needed to need her because it gave me so many opportunities to speak life into her heart.

I hate to admit it, but more often than not, God works because of my obedience not because of my intelligence. He's really great that way.