Make your face shine upon Your servant, and teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:135

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Want to be a Tree

I have had this thought for a long time but have been a little concerned about actually putting it out there for fear of what people would think of me.  However, the more I think about this and pray about, the more it becomes clear to me that I don’t need to worry about what others think of me because this is what God has been urging me to do for a long time in order to continue down the path toward “the promised land” (thank you Priscilla Shirer for this reminder today).

Here's what I think.  I think for way too long, the church, as a whole, has been standing in the way of Jesus, crowding out HIS message of love with OUR message of judgement.  At times, the church, including myself, has worried more about pointing out sin, pointing out people, pointing out groups WE have decided are wrong because they don't "fit the mold" or because they aren't "raised like us" when in reality we should be pointing THEM to JESUS.

Today, I was reminded of a very common story in the Bible, which I am sure all of us have read hundreds of times growing up in Sunday School.  The story of Zacchaeus goes like this. 

Luke 19:1-10 (Message) 
1-4 Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.
5-7 When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”
Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”
9-10 Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

Do you see what happened here?  Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, BUT the crowd was in the way.  So, what did he do?  He climbed up in a tree so he could see Jesus.  Do you understand?  You see, Zacchaeus didn't "fit the mold" of the others who were there.  He was a tax collector, or in the minds of the "crowd", he was a "crook", so they didn't want to move over for "him".  They judged him, plain and simple.  Do you get it?  WE (the church) a lot of times are the crowd, blocking people from Jesus with our judgements and our condemnations.

Here's my thought...what if instead of us being the crowd that is keeping people from seeing the beauty of who God is, we try and be the tree.  Think about it.  If we are the tree, we are lifting someone up to see Jesus instead of cutting them down in HIS name.  If we are the tree, we are being a silent tool of mercy to a lost and dying world, instead of being a condemning tool of defeat or to be a little more frank, a tool of Satan (because isn't this what he wants...for us to screw up what God has ordained?). 

 I believe God's message is LOVE period. I have resolved to leave judgement and other’s eternity in God’s loving, merciful, and gracious hands. I trust those hands with my life and this world.  I read this a little while ago and I want to share it with you.  "If we as Christians are going to err on the side of anything, why don’t we err on the side of love.”  Won't you resolve to do the same?  After all, we were all once the leper at HIS feet.  Watch this.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

God Speaks Through a Spider Man Puzzle

This Summer was full of playing, playing and more playing.  We enjoyed time together, my boys and I, while Ryan was off at work (poor guy).  Our days were filled with swimming, reading, legos, more swimming, trucks, puzzles, the list could really go on and on.  On one of our many "Field Trips" (don't you love my teacher lingo?), we purchased a few books and a 48 piece Spiderman Puzzle. 

The minute we returned home, Sam tore open the bag (yes, the puzzle was in a ziplock type bag, which I love, by the way.  It is so much easier to store, and no torn box.  I digress!).  I watched as he began trying, with his sweet little 6 year old fingers, to do this puzzle independently.  He is pretty good at puzzles, but I could tell he was struggling.  I went over to him and asked if I could help.  He quickly responded with, "No! Mom, I am 6 now.  I can do this by myself."  Tear! So, I went back to what I was doing, continuing to watch him struggle with this puzzle.

As I watched him, the Lord spoke to me in a whisper.  He said, "When you struggle, when you can't solve the puzzle of life that is laid before you, when you are drowning, press in to me and I will solve it FOR YOU, I will fight that battle FOR YOU, I will SAVE YOU!"  Take a moment to read this...

Psalm 18 (The Message)
16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way
      from sky to sea; he pulled me out
   Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
      the void in which I was drowning.
   They hit me when I was down,
      but God stuck by me.
   He stood me up on a wide-open field;
      I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

 20God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him. 

After a while, Sam finally asked me to come help him.  I immediately jumped at the opportunity, 1)because I love puzzles, but 2) because HE NEEDED ME!  God wants us to NEED HIM.  He wants us to CALL ON HIM, like a child calls for his mother in the night, like Sam asked me for help.  Together, we finished the puzzle with me explaining that this piece goes here and that piece goes there.  God said to me, "This is what I want to do for MY people!  I want to stand my people up on an open field (not a desserted land, that's dead or barron), I want to show them how to complete the work of art that I started in them. 
When you are being hit from all sides, when life seems like it is crashing down all around you, God will stick by you.  He will put your puzzle together for you, and it will be the most beautiful MASTERPIECE you have EVER seen.  All you have to do is place those broken pieces of doubt, those broken pieces of insecurity, the broken pieces of addiction, those broken pieces of financial crisis, those broken pieces of abuse, those broken pieces of incontenment, those broken pieces of bitterness before the Almighty God and He will make your life COMPLETE! 

It isn't easy, but it is a MUST!  I know from experiece that when I re-opened the book of my heart to His eyes, He REWROTE the text of my life, and I do not regret it for one second!  He can and will do it for you!  Press into Him today!  Stand on the ROCK that is Jehovah God!  All OTHER ground is sinking sand!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

When your children are born, and even before, you have hopes, dreams, aspirations for them.  If you are like me, from the moment I knew I would give birth, I prayed for God to mold these children into who He would have them to be.  I have prayed that they will love Him and want to serve Him from a very young age. 

Both of my boys, from the time they could talk, have said prayers at the table, at bed time, and at various times throughout the day.  Some of their prayers have been short... "Wu oo God!" prayed by Harrison at the age of one and a half.  Others have been longer and very  heartfelt... "Dear God, Thank you for my family.  Would you please help me to have a good day at school.  And God, would you please heal my Big Momma" prayed by Sam at the age of five.  Some of their prayers I forget and others I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life.

The sweetest, most genuine prayer I have ever heard came from the mouth of my five and a half year old son, Sam, on Saturday night, April 7th.  This prayer I will NEVER forget because my son, my firstborn, said words I have prayed to hear his whole life.... "Dear God, thank you for my family and would you please come live in my heart.  Amen".  That's right, my child asked Jesus to come into his heart.  WHAT A MOMENT!

It happened like this...

After visiting my family for our family Easter and my mom's birthday, we came home to get ready for bed.  Sam and I began making "Resurrection Cookies" while talking about the death of Christ.  For several months, Sam has been asking questions about death, what happens when you die, if I am going to heaven, even about baptism.  As we were talking about these event that led up to Christ's death on the cross, Sam was very quiet and listened very intently. 

After a few minutes of mixing, talking, mixing and talking, Sam began to cry.  He asked me if I missed my grandmother and if I was sad that Jesus had to die.  I told him that I was VERY sad about both of those things but that I tried to thank Jesus by serving Him, and that I missed my grandmother but, because I had Jesus in my heart, I was going to see her again very soon.  He laid his sweet head over on my should and said, "Mommy, I want to see her again, too.  Mommy, I want to go to Heaven when I die."  I began to explain what he had to do in order to go to heaven.  I explained the steps to ask Christ into his heart, and through tear-filled eyes, my precious child received the free gift of salvation right there on that kitchen counter.

I have never had a more "special" moment, a more "joyful" moment, a more (as my friend, Somer says) "Shout and Holla Praise" moment in my life.  I heard a friend say, when talking about her daughter's salvation story, that she just thought the day her child was born was the happiest moment of her life, and I do agree.  THIS moment with my son far exceeds anything I have ever witnessed.

"But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all. Luke 18:16-17”

Saturday, April 7, 2012

When I think about the Cross.....

I have said this over and over again, but I absolutely LOVE my Sunday School Class.  There's something so special about being able to feel comfortable enough to share your deepest thoughts and your entire heart with fellow beleivers.  I love that there is no judgement regardless of your current situation and I especially love that when you have a thought, you are welcomed, encouraged even to share.   

We have gotten very deep into the Word over the past few months and for ahwile, it seemed that our discussion always came back to the Cross and the fact that Jesus had to carry the Sin of ALL humanity, for all eternity to the Cross and on the Cross.  As I was praying about what God would have me share this Easter weekend, I feel VERY strongly that I should share what I wrote in an email conversation with a few of my fellow Sunday School members. So, here it is!

Over the past few weeks I have been having thoughts about the Crucifixion over and over again.  I don't typically think about this part of the story.  Most of the time, I skip over the torture part, the ridicule part, the blood part, the scorging part and go straight to the He Is Risen part.  As much as this is what we are supposed to remember, there is WAY more to the story.  I have totally missed this important part.  I have really been pondering that week of torture that ultimately ended Jesus' life here on this earth.  I have watched scene after scene from The Passion of the Christ and have really been thinking about the sins of all humanity.

As I thought about this, something came to me.  Yes, Jesus was persecuted.  Yes, Jesus was bruised.  Yes, Jesus was made to carry his "execution chair" up that hill.  He was literally tortured.  However, I am not sure that ANY of this even came close to comparing to the weight of MY sin, YOUR sin, ALL of humanity's sin on his back.  As I watched these scenes from this movie, which, by the way, don't even begin to capture exactly what Christ suffered, I saw it in a different way.  I had always watched it or thought about it as Jesus struggling because of what the Romans did to him.  As I watched these scenes again, I became completely overwhelmed to the point of almost weeping because my Jesus struggled, He fell, He bled, He died not because of what those wicked men did to him but, more importantly because of the wicked sin I commit each day.  Jesus carried the weight of my sin on His shoulders, and felt the FULL wrath of God, His own Father, for US!!!!! 

I thought about it this way.  When I am not living like I should, when I am not doing what God has called me to do, when I sin, I feel heavy.  When I repent of my sins, when I am living like I should, when I am doing what God has called me to do, I feel like weight has literally been lifted off of me.  Can you imagine the weight of your sins for your entire life on your shoulders all at once?!  Gosh!  Our bodies physically couldn't hold it, but Jesus, carried the weight of every sin all at once.  What a sacrifice!

So, this Easter weekend, please think about how Christ suffered, bled, DIED for you.  I beg you, please go to church tomorrow!  If you don't have a home church, we would love to have you at Pine Grove Baptist Church (which starts at 11:00 by the way).  And most importantly, if you don't have a relationship with Christ, I beg you, invite Him in.  He WILLINGLY gave is ALL for you!  He WANTS to have a relationship with you!  HE LOVES YOU!  "While we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us!"  Nothing you have done, no sin you have committed, surprises Christ.  He already bore that sin for you over 2000 years ago.  IT IS FINISHED!  Lay it down, sweet child.  Softly and tenderly JESUS is CALLING.  He's calling for you to COME HOME to Him.

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed." ~Isaiah 53:5

Monday, March 19, 2012


I love my Sunday School Class SO much.  We have been traveling through the Bible in a 52 week study by David Platt called Radical.  This has been quite a task because there are some things in the Old Testament that are hard to read and hard to understand.  I have been continually amazed at how even through the "tough" scriptures that God never fails to speak to each of us each and every week.

I was led to a group of scriptures a week or so ago in Ezekiel (37) where the Lord sends a message in the form of a prophecy through Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones.  Now, let me just stop right here for a minute.  Imagine standing on the top of a mountain looking out over a valley of dead people, but not just the recently deceased, these people have been dead a LONG time.  These are dry bones, bones that have been bleached from the sun. I mean D-E-A-D!!!

Now, imagine God saying to you, "Go down there and speak to these bones, telling them to RISE UP".  HA!  I have literally laughed at what HAD to have gone through Ezekiel's head at this one.  But nevertheless, Ezekiel did just a God instructed him to do.  He went down and told the bones to "Rise Up, that God would attach their organs back to them, that He would stretch skin over their bones, and that He would breathe life back into them."  Ezekiel HAD to be freaked out because as he spoke the wind started to blow and the bones started to MOVE!!!!!  And then just as God had told him, He reattached their organs and placed skin over their bones, but they had no breath in them.

So, God told Ezekiel again to speak to the wind, calling on the Four Winds to breathe life into these dead bodies.  So, the wind did just as He commanded it to do.  Now, I think at this point God would have had to call on the Four Winds to breathe life back into me because I am pretty sure I would be the one dead on the ground at this point.  What a brave soul Ezekiel was!  No wonder he believed!!!

As I kept reading, I came upon these following two parts of the story.  " 11 Then God said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Listen to what they're saying: 'Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone, there's nothing left of us.'  12-14 "Therefore, prophesy. Tell them, 'God, the Master, says: I'll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I'll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you'll realize that I am God. I'll breathe my life into you and you'll live. Then I'll lead you straight back to your land and you'll realize that I am God. I've said it and I'll do it. God's Decree.'"

WOW!!!  If I had not embarked upon this study and read this passage, I would have never had the overwhelming moment when I see myself in scripture.  This story has been about me so many times in my life... before I met my Jesus at the age of 18 and when I had no hope that my marriage could be restored!  I was the bones in the valley.  I was dried up, my hope was gone, there was nothing left of me.  BUT HALLELUJAH, my God dug up my grave and brought me out ALIVE.  He breathed HIS LIFE in me and I NOW LIVE!!!  THANK YOU, JESUS!!!!

Earlier in the passage, God asked Ezekiel if he thought these bones could live?  I want to ask you this same question, "Can these bones live?"  Bones that are dead, bones that are dried up, bones with no hope, bones that are withering away back to the dust from which they came?  Are they too far gone?  Can they REALLY live?  The answer to this question is "Yes, Yes, a Million Times YES!"  Sister, it doesn't matter how dry you are, how DEAD you feel, nor does it matter how long you have been lying there in that valley, GOD CAN and WILL lift you up out of that grave, out of that valley of death, out of that pit of dispair, breathe HIS life into you and


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Drop the STUFF!!!

I have had this on my mind and wanted to share it with you.  Today's post won't be long but I feel that God is urging me to share this video with you.

Last Sunday evening, as I stood up to leave out of my Beth Moore Bible Study, I grabbed my Bible, my workbook, my purse and my Diet Coke.  When I walked out the door, my husband met me with both of my boys.  I picked up my youngest son and as we began to go down the stairs Sam, my oldest, asked to hold my hand.  Well, needless to say, I did not have another hand to give because I was holding onto so much STUFF.  As I walked down those stairs, thinking about that STUFF in my arms, how heavy it all was, and how I didn't have another hand to give, I was reminded of a video I had seen earlier that morning on a church service that Ryan and I watch before attending our church.

The bottom line is this:  We all have stuff, baggage in our lives that keeps us from DOING and BEING all God wants of us.  Until we let go of some of the baggage, if not all of it, we are never going to move forward in our walk with the Lord.  If you are holding onto something, my friend, be it little or big, it is hindering you from growing spiritually, and SATAN is having a field day with that.  Don't let him have the satisfaction of being able to use that as a tool to keep you from becoming all God wants you to be.

Satan used my baggage of insecurity, lack of trust, sin and pride against me for a very long time.  For a long time, I would "give" my STUFF over to God but the next day, I would pick it right back up and hold onto it so tight that you could pry it out of my hands.  This almost caused my marriage to fail.  I realized, the hard way, that if I would COMPLETELY give these things over to Christ, I would be free from the chains that held me in bondage.  Was it easy? NO!  Because the first time something came up, Satan tried to use the very things that I gave to Christ against me like never before.  But you know what?!  I was free of that bondage and I could lift my empty, light, weightless arms to my God with a Faith like never before, asking Him to protect me from the snare of the trapper. 

I could ramble on and on about this but I can NEVER hold a candle to the message in this video. 


 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  ~Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day!!

Most of you have read my marriage journey, so you know that things have not always been a "bed of roses" for Ryan and I.  We have been on a constant roller coaster ride for almost 8 years, with more downs than ups.  However, in September of 2011, God stepped into our marriage fully and the roller coaster ride has FINALLY come to a stop.  This is a roller coaster that I never want to ride again.  Now, don't get me wrong, I KNOW there are going to be down times in our marriage, when things aren't as wonderful as they could be, but I believe we have the tools now to ward off attacks from the enemy (and by enemy, I mean ole Satan himself). 

One thing I have learned (I have shared on here before) is that marriage takes a TRINITY, God, you and your spouse.  Without God, it's like having a math problem without the operation sign.  It makes the problem pointless, unsolvable.  I had to learn this the hard way.  My prayer is that, through this blog, you will understand the importance of INVITING God into your relationships, whether it be marriage, dating, OR singleness.  Invite God into every aspect of your life.  TRUST ME!!  TRUST HIM!!!

I want to share with you today a few ways to invite the God of the universe into your personal life, into your home, into your relationships.

I began looking for ways that I could "resolve" to do better, in all aspects of my life, but especially in my relationship with Ryan.  First, I decided to work on the "all aspects" part.  Well, I found "The Resolution of a Woman" on, none other than my favorite blog, Going Beyond (Priscilla Shirer).  You can find the resolutions here.  I prayed so hard about this because this was a big deal to me.  I printed it out, signed and dated it, and placed in the front of my Prayer Binder (more about this below) so that I would see it EVERY day and REMEMBER the resolution I made to my God and to my family.  I read over this list, asking God to help me in all these areas, asking Him to make known the things in me that aren't of Him in order to make me better for my family, for my husband, but most importantly, for Him. 

Most of you know that I have two small children, and that I work a full time job outside the home, not to mention having the full time job of being a wife and a mommy.  I struggle with having my NEEDED quiet time with God.  I have heard that some people use a prayer basket, others do their work on the computer, but I needed something that worked for me.  So, I began a Prayer Binder.  I added a section to this prayer binder for Myself, for Ryan, for my Children, and for Others.  Each day, during my quiet time, I will jot down a verse that really stood out to me, look over the verses I have already written, and write down any prayer requests that have been mentioned to me.  I also keep a pen and some note cards in the front cover so that when God lays someone on my heart, I can jot them a quick note and send it their way.  This works for me because I can be grab it quickly, look at it numerous times a day (in short increments because that's how I roll), and it's organized (if you have ever met me, then you understand what I mean).

A Resolution To Be the Kind Of Woman Who Truly Blesses Her Man
I will be faithful to my husband and honor him in my conduct and conversation in order to bring glory to the name of the Lord. I will aspire to be a suitable partner for him to help him reach his God-given potential.

This resolution struck a major chord with me.  THIS ONE IS HARD!!!!  It's hard because, like I said before, I am so busy being a mommy, a maid, a teacher (both at home and at my job), a cook (this list could go on for awhile), that I tend to forget about being a wife.  Does anybody else feel this way?  I get so wrapped up in everything else that Ryan gets pushed and shoved to the back of the line.  God has been prompting me to change this because in His word I am told to HONOR my husband, to PRAY for and with my husband, to PLACE him at the TOP of my list, only second to God. 

So....speaking of getting wrapped up!!!!

I LOVE Pinterest!!!!  Anybody with me?!  I have found SO many fun crafts, unique gift ideas, house plans, organizing tools, RECIPES galore, but I also found (not a coinsidence, I'm sure) a list of 25 Prayers for My Husband.  I printed this out and personalize it making my own list of Prayers for Ryan.  I placed this in my Prayer Binder as well.  I pray over him daily, asking God to protect him, to show him His favor, to allow Ryan to be a light to everyone he comes into contact with, to proctect him from the snare of the trapper, and to give him peace and joy in ALL circumstances. WHY???


I meant what I said to Ryan 7 years, 10 months and 18 days ago, when I promised to love, honor and cherish him, UNTIL DEATH PARTS US.  I meant the verse I had engraved on the inside of his wedding band. "Entreat me not to leave you.  Where you go I will go.  Where you live I will live.  Where you die, I will die, too.  Your people shall be my people and your God shall be my God."  ~Ruth 1:16-17  I meant it then, but TODAY, on Valentine's Day 2012, I mean it more THAN EVER before.

I challenge you to invite God into every aspect of your life, RESOLVE TO BE A BETTER YOU!  Do it for YOURSELF, for YOUR HUSBAND, for YOUR FRIENDS, for YOUR FAMILY....



I leave you with a picture of Ryan and I.  I mean I love this man with every fiber of my being!!!