Epic Mommy Moments

We’ve all had those Mommy memories that will forever be stamped in our minds. The ones we don’t want to ever forget and the ones we’d pay big money to forget! Both are necessary in this journey called Motherhood. The precious memories keep us going and the hard and not fun memories make us stronger and our relationships deeper with our children. So whatever season of Motherhood we’re in – sweet, tender, awesome, crazy-hard, challenging or down right miserable know that they are all making something beautiful out of both you and your children.

Today when I contemplate special, funny and less than stellar memories with my kids this is what comes to mind:

  • At three years old Mitchell spotted a purple violet in a field and ran about half a mile to pick it and run back to give it to me. We were at on outside event and music was blaring and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying but his lips were moving and his little legs motoring as fast as they could. Breathless he handed me the flower and said, “I gotted this just for you Mom!” I kept it in my Bible for years and then lost it accidentally.
  • While in line at Old Navy four year old Sophie was looking at the toy rack a few steps away. I start to hear music and soon realize she is playing a toy flute – with.her.nostrils.
  • The time Sophie got in trouble for disobeying and I told her to go write sentences. With great confusion and frustration in her eyes she said, “But Mama, I don’t even know how to write!” Oh yeah, that’s right, you don’t. Well, give me a minute and I’ll think of something!
  • How about when Mitchell at four years old is performing at another church’s vbs program and during the song he decides to break out into his own Elvis Pelvis moves and brings the house down. Randy I fought over who could go pick him up when his name was called at the end of the program. If I recall correctly we got a round of applause when we went down to get him.
  • The dates Mitchell and I used to have together where he would take me out for a donut or ice cream, order and pay for me and open the door for me. We’d talk about boy stuff – bugs, animals and adventures. I miss those days. We simply must start it again.
  • Sophie copped an attitude with me over a pineapple at Walmart and was pitching a tantrum over us not buying it. I bent down and told her I was going to take her whiney words and flush them down the toilet. I felt the rush of regret as soon as it came out. I’d never said anything like that before. Where did it even come from?! As I stood up after my potty mouth correction and turned around there was a church member’s son staring right at me. Mortified and guilt ridden.
  • The precious prayers of my children over me melt my heart like nothing else does. I’ve experienced this more recently with this leg injury and it really does warm my heart unlike anything else.
  • Three weeks ago Sophie informed me she was too old to hold my hand in a parking lot. We had just finished up our discipleship time at McD’s and so she had my Bible in her hand. We got in the car and I was flipping out over her thinking she was too old to hold my hand. I was joking and pretending to gasp for breath out of shock over it. When we got int he car she held up her Bible and said, “I have a Bible in my hand and I’m not afraid to use it!” I looked at her and said, “You’d really try to bonk me with the Word of God?” She laughed and then said I was the one being sacrilegious. Sigh.
  • When my son threw me under the bus in Youth Group a few weeks ago. “When I apologize to my Mom she says back to me, ‘Well, I’m sorry too, now go to your room!’ It’s true I sometimes say, “I’m sorry too” after an apology that seems half witted. But I don’t send him to his room. When I asked him about it he said, “Oh yeah, I kind of made that part up. Ha! Ha!” Then I sent him to his room. Just Kidding. It did provide a great conversation though and I did need to apologize for being insensitive when he apologizes.
  • Mitchell and Sophie spending the night with me in the hospital last week and helping take care of me has been humbling and sweet. I know they love me and they know I love them. It has been proven time and time again.

Happy Mother’s Day friends!

Blogging through the real and the hard #anxiety

I desire to be as honest as I can be in this blog space for the glory of God and building up of others. Okay, and for my own sanity because I process life many times through stringing words together and slapping them down on paper. There are things of course that I can’t always share in this space for confidentiality and respect issues but I want to speak from the depths of my heart as I feel God leading me. Even the hard stuff and the messy stuff. Today involves some hard stuff.

We’ve been home from the hospital for almost a week and it’s been a wild ride getting used to the new, although temporary, normal.

My sweet Mom made a bedroom in the dining room since all our bedrooms are on the upper floor of our house. Randy has slept on the floor next to me every single night. Bless his soul. This is just one of many many less than desirable things he does for me right now. He never complains. He just keeps on loving me “through sickness” like he said he would the day he married me. So the care I’m receiving from my husband is priceless. It couldn’t be better.

My Mom is filling in the gaps while Randy takes care of me. She gets the kids up, makes breakfast, gets them to school and picks them up. Does the laundry and keeps up the house. Our church has been as much a powerful support as my family. The prayer support has blown me away. The meals have been incredible not to mention daily. They built us a nice wheelchair ramp while I was in the hospital. I’ve had offers to clean my house, grocery shop and do whatever we need done. My heart has been echoing, “We are loved.” It has truly been amazing.

Yet despite the amazing God-sent care and favor I am receiving right now I am still struggling in some areas. It started yesterday afternoon as I took a nap during the day. An overwhelming graphic visual of what I went through when I fell came rushing in my mind and heart. And tears just started rolling down. I was soaking in more of the trauma of the event. The trauma of what I saw. Of waiting for help and not being able to get anyone’s attention. The cracking of my bone. The pain. The additional 15 minute wait for the EMT’s. It was all catching up with me. I told the Lord as I cried that I didn’t know what to do with the thoughts. I told Him I trusted Him and He’d need to show me how to process all this stuff. Up to that point I was just viewing it as a fall down the steps and I broke my leg. It happens to people all over the world every single day. And it happened to me. It hurts. It stinks. But I will get through it. But over the days and sleepless anxious nights my view was now changing. With Randy’s help I was able to realize that my body is responding to the extent of the trauma I faced which was significant. And I need to allow myself the time and space to deal with it. The injury was sustained instantaneously but the healing would be a long process. Even emotional and mental healing.

This anxious at night thing is new to me so I’m not totally sure what’s going on. It seems to show up at night and in my breathing. Lightness of breath, shallow breathing, restlessness and an overall insecurity. At first we thought it was related to my high blood pressure and pain meds. Now I’m not so sure. I believe prayer has made a huge difference the last few days and my nights are getting better. The last two nights have been the best two nights of sleep yet. I’m hopeful we will work through this and get on top of it in time.

If anything I have a greater understanding of people who deal with anxiety to some degree. I’ve never experienced this before but now I have a taste of what some people go through on a regular basis. May God use this in me to bring greater glory to him and to be a better servant of his.

I am blessed. Things I’m praising God for today:

  • My MIP group praying at my house today – love these ladies and our time together! Our attribute? God is Healer. Bring it!
  • The sweet visits I’ve had all day from people in our church who love us and care for us so well
  • My Physical Therapist who is awesome
  • My husband who is serving me with such incredible strength and love
  • My Mom who is working so hard to keep things running as smooth as possible
  • That God is my healer and the fact that He will heal me in his perfect timing and in the way He wants to heal me. It will be good.
  • A sweet visit from a good friend out of town. Good laughs at her kids funny videos and her willingness to share with me her own past struggle with anxiety.
  • The prayer covering we are receiving from our church family and friends. It’s HUGE. It’s making an incredible difference in our lives every day.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

 

This is the story of how karma bit me

So back in good ole college days I was in a prayer group every year with different students. Every year we’d introduce ourselves and tell one thing we would like the group to pray about. Every year I’d wig my classmates out by saying something to this degree:

Hi my name is Melody. When I was young I broke my leg. We were poor and had money for the surgery or the metal rod they needed to put in my leg. But in an amazing twist of things we found a Doctor who would work with us and use a windshield wiper from one the cars in my Dad’s auto salvage yard. They sterilized it up real good and put that baby in. And it cost us nothing! The only draw back is when it rains and my leg starts to move back and forth (My leg goes back and forth in motion like a windshield wiper.) Half the people realize immediately that it’s a sick joke. The other are still trying to figure out if I really just lied about a prayer request or not. And then I tell them and we all laugh out loud together. Fun story. I did get a few “you better be careful how many times you tell that story lest it happen to you!” Ha!

And here’s the Ha Ha not funny party of the story. On Monday morning of this week I sent the kids off to school, had my personal quiet time with the Lord and put my journal down and closed up my Bible and called for Dooley to the dog to come on a walk with me. I wasn’t planning on a long walk so I left the front door open and out the front door we went. I stepped down three steps and then I don’t know what happened. I crumbled to the ground and heard a loud snap. The thing I realize is my lower leg is hanging the wrong direction. I knew I couldn’t look at it any more or I’d pass out. So there  I am laying flat out on my back with my head on the last step screaming in pain and for help. I didn’t know at the time I had broken two bones in my leg about 4 fingers above my ankle. The bone punctured through my skin making it an “open wound” and in need of surgery as soon as possible.

Nobody was walking their dog that day so for about 7 minutes I screamed and waved my arms like a laid out pentecostal. Finally a man with his window down hear me yell “HELP” as he drove by our house. He turned around and walked up and said, “Oh good Lord!” He called 911 and then he and waited for 20 minutes until they got there. I couldn’t remember my husband’s work number so I was trying get the kind stranger to find my cell phone inside but he kept bringing back the kids iPods and such. He finally was able to get Randy by phone and he came over with one of our associate pastors.

Finally after writhing in pain for 20 minutes an ambulance shows up. And then they all got a nice good gawking look at the injury and gathered their own composure and tried to figure out the best course of action. They started cutting my pants and that’s when it got a little too close to home if you know what I mean. I’m surrounded by men and they are cutting my favorite pants off. I said, “Hey, you can’t do that these are my favorite go-to black pants with pockets so I don’t have to carry a purse.” Kind stranger man laughs out loud. EMT guys says, “Mam. we have no choice. We have to stabilize foot.”

They finally get me all packed up and on a stretcher and took me down to Greensboro where I had surgery late that night. And got a …….get this…….wait for it……..

A metal rod put in my leg! And screws and wires that look like twisty ties. You gotta be kidding Melody! Nope, I got it. I played that joke on one too many people and it caught up with me. Ha! No that’s not why it happened but it is also ironic to me that the last words I wrote in my journal that morning before my walk were, “Lord, help me to be still and sit more this week.” For reals I wrote that. I have a hard time sitting. I’m always going and doing. I wanted to sit more and be still more. Welllllllllllll I got wish worked out for sure.

I’ve been in a lot of pain and my family and church family are praying for me and I can see the impact. Randy has been so good to me  – he takes great care of me when I need him. And the kids have been very sensitive to me as well. And my Mom drove up from GA when she heard about it. She is holding the home front down with the kids while Randy stays with me in the hospital.

I was supposed to go home today but PT and OT and I all decided I needed one more day of practice. Transferring is extremely hard because on good ankle is severely sprained. So we’re figuring it all out.

How I’ve seen God work:

  • I could have laid there for much longer until someone stopped by
  • He heard my cries for help and sent a kind soul to help
  • My injuries could have been so much worse – broken neck, back, blacked out, etc
  • Used my family to minister and encourage me
  • Used our church family and friends to rally in prayer

Well, please continue to pray for us. This is not easy. I’m struggling to get on top of pain and it’s easy for me to get discouraged at the amount of time they are saying it could be for total healing. Pray that I will be patient and that I won’t miss what I’m to hear from God during this “sitting still” season.

Btw: I’m on major pain meds right now. The screen is double and I’m pretty sure I’ve repeated myself a few times or at least misspelled words throughout. So thanks for bearing with me and reading anyways. I am requesting your prayers for me though this healing process. That I will heal and mend with no complications. That I will be able to get on top of the pain and see what He wants me to see during this time. Thanks so much!

Go break another leg people!

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This was my first leg break when I was in kindergarten. Five years old and in a full body cast for 6 months. The tombstone that fell on my leg was my Great Great Grandfather’s. True story.

Kids at our school have been sending the cutest cards ever. My favorites – because there have been more than one – are the ones that say, “I hope you fell good” or  “Fell better soon” Oh bless them. We have really gotten a good chuckle out of those.

I know I’m rambling but the truth of the matter is when I finish up this post I have to go and pivot on a very very sore foot and I’d rather write about it than actually do it. I need prayers for endurance which ironically people have already prayed over me so that’s really cool.

 

 

When the bottom falls out grace is right around the corner

It’s just been one of those times where you get hit broadside with news you don’t want to hear. Two very different situations. Both close to us.

It’s the kind of feeling where you think you can’t catch your next breath. And then you come up for air and remind yourself that your God has not changed. He is faithful. He is good. And yes, He even has a plan in the midst of the hard stuff. You simply can’t see it but you know it’s true because of who God is. Still…..getting it from your head to your heart can be hard. Checking emotions, capturing run away thoughts and refusing to be overcome with negativity is not easy in these situations. But this is where our faith makes a difference. Trusting God in our low times makes a difference.

A friend sent me an email out of the blue and encouraged me to praise God seven times during the day. She has no clue about my heart ache right now. And so God leads me into a time of praise and worship. Praising in the midst of pain changes things. It does. I can’t explain it. I can’t even say my heart was fully engaged in the praise – like my mind and heart believe it but as it comes out of my mouth it feels more like a damp statement being uttered. Yet still it affirms who God is and there is power in speaking the Name and attributes of God. Eventually our hearts catch up. And he accepts our praise – when we’re fully engaged and even when it takes a force of our will to get it out. That’s the kind of God we have. He loves us right where we are and accepts us no matter what.

Fast forward to yesterday. My sweet Sophie helped usher a classmate into a relationship with Jesus on the playground at school. Both girls were so excited. This has been a work in process as the girl’s Mom has told me before she thought her daughter was ready to accept Jesus but they were waiting for the right time. Well the time came and it was clearly the time because there was not a doubt in her mind she wanted to become a Christian. She was ready. The Holy Spirit had primed her heart and as our friend and Woodlands Camp director Jon Estes says, “she was low hanging fruit” and Sophie snatched it right up. She asked her friend if she was saved (because she really wanted her to be her sister in Christ if she wasn’t) and when she said, “no” Sophie told her what it meant to be a Christian and asked her if she wanted to pray to accept Jesus as her Savior. Her friend said yes and Sophie took her to her teacher to pray with her. And there on the playground our sweet little friend started her new life in Jesus.

Now that will put everything else into perspective.

Yes, the pain of difficult situations are still there but the fact that God picked this time for our daughter to help lead someone to Christ couldn’t have been more perfect. It was like a bundle of  grace waiting around the corner. God saved this girl because He died for her and it was part of His plan including the timing. But I can’t help but know He knew we needed our chin to be lifted up. To be reminded that this life is all about pointing others to Jesus.

And so in the midst of hard times I seek to trust and praise God knowing He loves me and will make good of all things.

7 things I’m praising God for today:

  • That He is Savior
  • That God is my Provider
  • Praising Him that He sees all our situations
  • Praising God that His word is active and alive
  • Praising God for divine intervention
  • Praising God that He is capable of anything
  • Praising God that He is sufficient for all our need

Linking with Kristin and Holley today.

 

 

When opposition accompanies sharing the Gospel

Our church has adopted a local park as a place to show the love of Jesus by giving away free stuff, serving food, praying with people and sharing the Gospel. We call it “Community Cares” and we plan for months in advance and ask God to show us how to reach the people of our community with his love.

Saturday we hosted an egg hunt, gave out donuts/muffins and shared the Gospel through resurrection eggs in small groups on the grass.

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(Until my van dies I figure I might as well decorate it and use it for advertising. My husband won’t let me graffiti it with spray paint but how cool would that be? Like classy graffiti if there is such a thing.)

It was an incredibly awesome day and God was in that place but I will tell you it was not without a struggle.

The weather – was freezing!  The wind – flipped over two tents that couldn’t be put back up – the prayer/counseling tent. Not that prayer has to take place under a tent as seen here by the registration crew below. And not that freezing windy weather will keep people from showing up to an egg hunt. It just made it that much harder to set up. Still yet, people jumped in and served whole heartedly. 

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Another set back came when we blew a fuse and couldn’t make coffee. But the crew worked it out by getting a generator. One of our food servers got light headed and ended up having to go to the ER. She’s okay thankfully.

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The kids had plenty of eggs to hunt as we hid over 3,000 eggs and had around 125 kids. We had 200 “prize eggs” which was indicated by a slip of paper in the egg with a gold egg graphic. They turned that in later for a prize from the prize table. We also had a few dozen gift cards to give away as a raffle for the parents. So that was really fun.

After the egg hunt we gathered the kids in small groups of about 10 around the field. There were trained kids and adults sharing the resurrection eggs with their group.

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I will never forget this fellow below coming up to me with sheer delight on his face as he said, “I am just so happy right now. I can’t explain it but I am just so happy.” I asked him why and he said, “Because I just shared my first Resurrection Egg Gospel story in my life and it just feels so good!” He worked with his teacher from last year to present the Gospel to their group. A few other kids had the same opportunity and it was just amazing to see them take it so seriously and to see the impact that sharing the Good News can have, not only on the people who receive it, but those who tell it!

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There were about 10 groups of kids hearing the Gospel at the same time. Not all the kids stayed but many of them did and we were so thankful.

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed in how I handled my group. I felt scattered all morning long and was having a hard time keeping my thoughts together. I woke up that morning at 5am throwing up with a migraine. As soon as we got the park our daughter started a fever and was complaining of nausea. My head was throbbing and I was concerned about Sophie and torn between a million places. When I finally sat down to share the Gospel I was rather discombobulated. I uttered a prayer to God and said, “You gotta do this.” Our son, Mitchell, gave the Gospel story to our group and did a fantastic job. And I closed out our time with a recap of why we need Jesus and for anyone who wanted to stay after and talk more about believing in Jesus they could. I can only trust that God filled in the gaps. We committed this day to Him and so I have to leave it in his hands. I want to learn from my mistakes but also learn to leave it with Him and not overanalyze things.

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At the end of the day we loved people, we served people and we shared the Good News with people. And that’s really what we’re here for. So yeah, it was a good day. We accomplished what we felt God called us to do. There were hiccups and chaos along the way but I’m convinced that sharing the Gospel won’t ever be all crisp and clean. It will be messy and haphazard at times. And our God is big enough to work through that.

We are all people who stand in need of Jesus. We all need reminding that He is our God who is Faithful, Merciful and our one and only Hope. And these people were worth pushing through the opposition.

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Choosing to un-believe the lie that it’s “too late”

Today I was reminded of God’s sweet grace in my life. I had blown it big time in one of my relationships.

Oh alright, I’ll tell you.

I mentor a little girl at a school in our community. We’ve been “lunch buddies” since last year and I see her once a week. Well, about mid November when sickness hit our family over and over again I found myself every Thursday either at a Doctor’s appointment or at home with a sick child or sick myself. Then flu season hit. Eventually I fell out of the habit of meeting my girl who I had faithfully mentored up to this point. More time went by and I felt so guilty for not going. Not calling. Not letting the school know why I had not been there and so I didn’t want to show up. I was too ashamed. Three months had passed. I was committing the cardinal mentor taboo – not showing up without communicating anything. These are kids who need a positive influence in their life and to be one more person who doesn’t show up in their life pours salt on a wound.

The last two weeks my girl has been heavy on my heart. I knew God was nudging me to get back to seeing her but I didn’t want to face her. In my time with Him this morning He clearly showed me this was now an issue of obedience and there was grace for me in my lack of faithfulness. This was not about me and saving face. This was about a calling He put in my life.

I pulled into the school parking lot and couldn’t help but wonder if she would be mad at me. Or on the other hand would she even remember me. I spoke with her teacher who was as gracious as could be. And then my sweet little lunch buddy came over with a huge grin on her face and gave me a bear hug. And we picked right up. I told her I was sorry for not coming. Explained the sickness in our family and that I wished I had let her know through her teacher what was going on. She was quick to forgive as children so often are. I felt so much better. I was so thankful I had pushed through the awkward and uncomfortable scenario I had conjured up in my head of her throwing her lunch tray at me when I showed up three months late.

I’m so glad I got over that hump and fought satan’s lie that it was “too late” and that I had done too much damage to make it right again. Oh how thankful I am for God’s grace. His word is alive and active. God’s Spirit through His word spoke into my heart this morning about sincere love from Romans 12. Sincere love has a very distinct description. God used my time meditating on those words from Romans 12 to open up my heart to do something I didn’t want to do.

I’m so glad our God is faithful even when we are not. It makes me love him so much more and give me a desire to be more faithful to Him and others.

Linking with Jennifer, Holley and Kristin

 

I’m that ‘well she tries’ girl in the kitchen

It was a long-time-waiting warm Spring day outside yesterday. And those kinds of days make me do crazy things all in the name of warm weather. I dreamed up this visual in my head of our family rocking on the rocking chairs of our Southern front porch eating warm pound cake with strawberries and watching traffic drive by. As if any of us have time for that but it sure sounded great. So I whipped one up real quick while prepping dinner.

While the cake was in the oven smelling quite divine I decided I would be super Mom and let the kids do what they’ve been dying to do ever since we’ve lived here. Make a mud pit with quicksand. After all it was warm and Springy feeling outside. I even went to say out loud (which was a mistake) to the kids, “You know, sometimes playing is more important than homework!” I do believe it’s true to some degree but really should have kept that thought to myself because boy did they ever latch on to that one. I dread what the teachers might hear today at school from our kids. An exaggerated, “My Mom said that playing is more important than school or homework ever will be!!!!” Oh dear.

So the kids are doing this:

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while I’m cooking dinner and smelling the cake in the oven and running out every 15 minutes to be sure nobody was drowning in mud.

Randy came home to this…..

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Thankfully my man is cool with things like this. He wasn’t worried about the grass because there was none to begin with. This is the spot where our trampoline has been for several years but we moved it to a different location.

I assured Randy I would make all this up to him by pulling out a beautiful warm pound cake. He  excited about that. I don’t have a light on my oven and knew better than to open the oven – it might make the cake “fall”, whatever that meant. I’ve never had a cake to fall and have never understood what that means really. So I just waited the hour and a half to pull out the cake.

Finally we heard the long awaited ding of the timer while we were finishing up dinner.  I jumped up and grabbed my oven mitts and swung open the oven door to find this:

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I let out a shocked scream. The kids said, “What’s wrong Mom!” Randy could see from where he was sitting the damage. My mouth fell to the floor in complete shock. I’d never seen a cake do this before. I looked at the oven to be sure my temperature was right and it was and then it hit me….

I swung open the cabinet door and yanked down my flour bag and sure enough I had accidentally bought “self rising” flour instead of plain all purpose.

I took the cake over and put it on the table and looked at Randy and said, “This is what happens when I try too hard to be all domesticated.”

Sophie said, “Well, then don’t try so hard.

Mitchell quips back immediately and says, “Actually, try harder please!!”

And that’s when we all busted out laughing and started scraping off the sides of the cake. I was ready to pitch the thing but Randy scooped it up into bowls. Yes, bowls for cake. Let’s just pour the salt on the culinary wound why don’t we.

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And you know what? It was was actually delicious! We loved it. Randy said, “I think this is the best cake you’ve ever made!”

Have I mentioned that I love my man? He’s so sweet. The cake was good but really now, it wasn’t the best cake I’ve ever made.

So yeah,  I’m the “well she tries” girl occasionally. Not all the time because generally I can pull together  decent meal and dessert but when I blow it I blow it big. Ha!!

So, care to share any of your “well she tried” kitchen episodes? Dare you to. 

 

 

 

 

 

The other side of the window

Her name had been given to me as somebody who could use encouragement. Someone who hadn’t seen family in long time. No visitors in a while. I walked in the nursing home room and asked for “Ms. Linda”. And there she was. Without turning around she peered out her window and quietly said, “That’s me.” She was sitting in a wheelchair with one foot propped up on the heating unit. Our eyes met and when I asked how she was doing today she explained what she was doing. Her days, made up of ten years, consist of peering out the window and dreaming. Dreaming of what she wants her days to be. Reliving old memories of childhood and teenage life when a boyfriend held her close and sang songs over her. You could tell she was in the moment as she told the story. I asked her to sing the song for me and she did. It was beautiful and you could tell it released something new inside of her. Something she hadn’t done in a long time. Singing. Funny how I had just read a blog post that morning about how singing allows us to forget who we are and brings unity among people. I really believe reading that article prompted me to ask her to sing that song. God is in everything.

Ms. Linda shared more stories with me. She talked about how both her made up dreams and reminiscing of real memories got her through her long lonely days. Longing to be outside but not able to she just imagined that she was outside. I told her it would soon be Spring and she could go outside but she didn’t seem to think “they” would take her out.

And for seven days straight I’ve had the visual of Ms. Linda parked at her window dreaming of a different life. Life on the outside so to speak. Life on the other side of the window.

I’ve been asking myself the question – How am I making the most of my life on the outside? Because my days are numbered. My ability to “go and do” will not always be the same. There will be physical and mental limitations one day. That’s not gloom and doom speaking. We love to say “Oh, don’t speak that out loud” but friends we must live in light of it. We must sense the urgency in living life for His glory right now and in the days to come. We are living many people’s dream right now and to live it without sharing God’s love and His good news is to waste this life on the other side of the window.

This is why I’m going back to share something amazing I found in scripture this week after my visit initial visit with Ms. Linda. It’s Zephaniah 3:17 and how it tells us how God is in our midst. How he will rejoice over us and quiet us with his love. That he…..wait for it…..wait for it…..He exults over us with loud singing!  I cannot wait to tell Ms. Linda that she doesn’t have to rely solely on old memories of a boyfriend singing over her as if it will never happen again. Something even better is true and happening right now…..her God is singing over her loudly. He’s in her midst and bringing comfort to her with the greatest love anyone could ever give her.

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The part of this story I haven’t shared  yet is the resistance I put up before ever walking into that nursing home. It’s true that I knew the Holy Spirit was prompting me to go and visit someone. But I didn’t want to go. This is the reality of my flesh speaking but I didn’t want to take the time or smell the smell of the nursing home. I wanted out of there so badly that as soon as I stepped foot in the nursing home I  took a call from my hubs and asked if he wanted to meet for lunch so I could escape that place. But he had other plans for lunch. And God had other plans for me.

And now I can’t.wait to get back to the nursing home this week and share what I read about God singing over us. What a sweet picture for all of us – no matter what side of the window we are living.

Praising God today for his patience with us. His love. His presence in our midst. The fact that his love for us causes him to exude over us with singing.

Praying today that we will spend our lives well living on the outside. Making the most of our time and communicating God’s love everywhere we go.

Linking with Jen and Laura today because I love their heart for God and their blogs exhibit that.

 

When apologies are hard but sweet

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Oh yes she did.

Sigh.

The problem when you’re a pastor’s kid is that sometimes you hear too much. Like the Sunday night a few weeks ago when her Pastor Daddy was talking about Father Christmas and St. Nicholas. The story has it that St. Nicholas cared for the needy and gave gifts to children. He later died but the tradition was picked up in many countries and instead of being called Father Christmas we call him Santa Claus today. This was  just a side note in a discussion on Christmas traditions. No Santa bashing or anything like that. So what is the one thing Sophie hears while she’s playing in the sound booth that night?

Santa’s dead.

We talked about it and there were some follow up conversations. We have always told our kids that other families choose to believe in Santa and that’s fine. We don’t want to ruin that for them and so we are not going to talk about Santa not being real to anyone else.

So when Sophie’s teacher mentioned that she recently shared her beliefs about Santa with a few of her friends I was a little surprised.

The car ride home from school was filled with tears and frustration. She hadn’t handled things well and she knew it. She was the one who initiated the conversation about Santa. There were insincere threats thrown out to not be her friend if she didn’t say that she believed Santa was real. She refused to say Santa was real. That’s also when she decided it was best to inform her friends that not only was he not real but that he was in fact dead. I have a feeling emphasis was added at the time it came out of her mouth.

We talked about how she could have handled things differently and we prayed for wisdom to know what to do next. Then she wrote two apology notes. Not for not believing in Santa. But for how she used her words that day.

Apology notes in hand and heart pounding hard this morning she walked out the door and said, “Mom, I hope they’ll still be my friend.”

I had no doubt they would be. They’re sweet girls and they’re all good friends. But I looked her in the eyes and said, “Honey, you have done what you need to do to make things right with God and your friends. And now you have to leave it in God’s hands. You aren’t responsible for how they will respond. Only how you respond. Now go and be a good friend today and choose your words wisely.”

I have to admit when I showed Randy the note he all but busted a rib laughing. I gave him no context of what had happened that day. Just handed him the note. We both had a good laugh together but then had to pull it together so he could go and talk to Sophie as well. Oh my goodness. The joys of parenting, right?!

** Update: Sophie came home and was more than pleased to announce that her friends accepted her apology and gave her a hug.  I couldn’t have been more happy for her.

And we both were reminded today that a sincere apology goes a long way and forgiveness sure is sweet when we choose to accept it.

Linking up with Jennifer, Holley and Kristen today at the following sites.

   152 Insights to My Soul

 

 

Community Outreach instead of Cyclical Church Events

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For the first time ever our church took Trunk R Treat to a slightly sketchy neighborhood park. We had no idea what to expect but we prayed and planned and asked God to provide us with what He knew we needed for the night. Our church family worked hard and long to create a lit up obstacle course on the playground, set up decorated tables of candy and created a “dark room” where the Gospel would be presented every 4 minutes for two and a half hours straight.

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We are a small rural town and estimate that around 1000+ people came through the park. Of those people only about 5% got their candy and skipped out on the “Dark Room” where Randy gave a short telling of the Gospel using different kinds of light to represent how we can all go from dark to light through Jesus Christ.

We got home last night and neither one of us could sleep because we were so excited about the night. What God did. How excited our church family was about what God did. It’s impossible to do what God created us to do (to know Him and share His Good News with others) and not get a thrill from it. Combine that with a sugar induced high and you got some major sleep deprivation going on. And so as I lay awake late last night these are the things that ran through my mind and heart in regards to outreach.

#1 You know your Trunk R Treat is a true “community outreach” event when there is only one Bible character that shows up out of hundreds of people and everyone mistakes “Moses” for  Gandalf. You can catch a glimpse of Gandalf’s twin, Moses, below. Love it!!!

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#2 Another way we know we’re participating in a true community outreach is when the church is serving off site. It’s easy to set up our church homes with all kinds of fun stuff and ask people to come to us – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but true outreach is when we reach out to people beyond our church property. Beyond the pews and steeples. It’s when we go to our community instead of asking them to come to us every. single. time.

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#3 Outreach is taking the love and message of Jesus to places where people are comfortable showing up. I can’t know for sure but I would say that more than half the people that came to the park last night and sat through a 3 minute sharing of the Gospel most likely don’t and would not step foot in church. We can make all kinds of judgements about people who choose to stay away from church but the bottom line is this: do we want them to hear the Gospel and be shown the love of Jesus? If so, we must be willing to serve outside the walls of our churches.

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#4 Reaching out in our communities will get messy. But it’s worth it. People will be rude. There will be times that people will take advantage of your kindness. Not necessarily often but when it happens it will make you stop in your tracks and ask yourself if it’s worth it. And we remind ourselves that it is so worth it. Remembering where we were before Christ and recalling the abundant life we now have in Christ will remind us how worth-it it is.

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#5 Outreach is not about building our church but solely about building the Kingdom of God. Sometimes that translates into our churches growing and that’s awesome but the motivating factor in outreach is to share Jesus with people expecting nothing in return. That’s why church turf guarding isn’t necessary one bit. Last night we were telling people about the other awesome churches in our community doing Trunk R Treat at their church. One person made the comment they were going to Community Baptist Church next and I had to tell them “Dude, this is Community Baptist Church!” That was an awesome moment. They said, “Really! That is so cool that ya’ll came to the community for this. Thanks for doing that.”

I’ve mentioned before that our church is learning and growing in so many areas. Getting out of our comfort zone is one of them. But we are seeing God go before us, provide for us and do through us what we could never do ourselves. One of our members looked at me last night as we were taking down the last of everything at the park and he said, “Now this was church right here.” I couldn’t say it better myself!