Thursday, January 29, 2009

In Gods Hands

Psalm 56:4 When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

The day that the IPOD incident occurred last week, I was headed out of town with another mom friend of mine, to take Morgan and two of her friends to the mountains for a snowboarding trip. It was Morgans 15th birthday, so the day was already filled with excitement and drama, before the whole theft incident even occurred.

So after meeting with the principal about the theft, I knew I had to get home and pack the car for the mountain trip, so I kissed Kaitlyn goodbye and turned to leave. But as I watched my sweet Katybug (as we call her) slowly walk back to class, shoulders slumping, heavy with sorrow, trying to regain her composure. Suddenly, I felt a surge of maternal emotion overcome me.

I found myself wanting to run down the hall like a mad mom, scoop her up into my arms, and rush her out to the car, whisking her home where she could wrap in a blanket, drink hot chocolate, and watch a cartoon to get her mind off of her troubles. But I knew she would miss too much during the school day, so with every ounce of energy I could muster up, I continued to walk towards the door. But as I did, I prayed.

I prayed for God to wrap His arms around her and take care of her the rest of the day. I asked Him to be with her and comfort her, since I could not be there with her.

I have to be honest with you though...I actually did go back and pick her up after lunch - I just couldnt go out of town without one more hug! So after I got her snuggled into the couch and watching that cartoon, Morgan and I set off for the mountains.

Morgan and her friends were so excited, acting silly beyond belief and giggling continuously for no real reason. I had a great time chatting with my friend on the drive to the mountains and we enjoyed a nice dinner at Ruby Tuesdays before heading to the condo and getting to bed early so we would be all rested for the next day.

Morning arrived quickly, and as I aroused from sleep, my first thought of the morning was, "uggg. It is going to be cold outside". Inside I felt a bit anxious .... not about the cold weather, but about my little Morgan, even though she is not so little anymore, and knowing that her safety would be at risk today.

We arrived to Sugar Mountain, in Boone, NC about 9am. The wind was cold and the snow was slippery, but the sun was peeking out, the mountain was beautiful, and the enthusiasm of those 3 teenage girls seemed to outweigh the shivers. We had arranged for them to take a one hour snowboarding lesson that morning since none of them had ever snowboarded before, so my friend and I got them all zipped up in their coats, scarves and protective gear and watched them walk off with the rest of the group to begin their lesson with the instructor.

Suddenly, I felt this little rush of panic come over me. It was a familiar feeling. For the past 15 years, I have mastered the art of worrying about the safety of my children. It seems that when there is even the most remote possibility that one of them could experience any type of danger or emotional harm, my mind begins to fill with irrational thoughts about what could possibly happen in the worst of circumstances.

What if Morgan couldnt get on the ski lift properly as it briskly rushed past her, and she slipped and got hit in the head with the seat? What if she could not get off the lift quick enough at the top of the mountain, and fell and got hurt? Even worse, what if she slipped and fell off the lift while hoisted five stories up in the air? What if she got too close to the edge of the slope and fell off the mountain? What if she got separated from her friends and panicked all alone? What if she breaks her arm/leg/neck? What if..........

Yep, panic. Irrational panic. But I couldnt let it show. I didnt want to look like one of those freakish over protective moms running up the ski slope (or running through a middle school hallway) trying to tie her daughters scarf a little tighter so she didnt catch cold.

I so wished I could go with her up the slopes and enjoy learning to snowboard, but it would have been too risky in light of my recent arm surgery. So as she walked into the distance, I turned to walk back towards the lodge. I wished I could whisk her up and take her back with me to drink hot chocolate and watch cartoons, safe and sound in my presence, free from any lurking harm. Sound familiar?

But I could not do that, just like I couldnt pull Kaitlyn out of school that morning, so I simply prayed. Just a simple prayer, " Oh, Lord, I cant be with her today. I cant protect her. I cant watch after her. She will be out of sight, at the top of a mountain, far from my reach. Only you can see her. Only you can protect her now. Please keep her safe. Please wrap your arms around her." And as always, I felt Gods reassurance. I heard Him quietly speaking to my heart, and He simply said, "Put her in My hands. Entrust her to me".

But I dont want to Lord!!! I want to protect her myself! I want to be able to see her and hold her and keep her safe, just like I could do when she was five years old. It was much easier then! I liked it that way!

But I knew I had to entrust her to God. I am just a human, He is a sovereign God. Any protection I can give her pales in comparison to protection from a Savior. And not merely protection on the ski slope, but every day. As she approaches these high school years, where peer pressure is heavy, temptations are lurking, some girls are mean, some boys are one track minded, and the future is scary, I know she needs to be in Gods hands. And Kaitlyn in middle school, trying to fit in, worry about self image, have good grades and make the cheerleading squad for next year, I know she needs to be in Gods hands. When they are out with their friends, at the mall, at the movies, and walking down the street, I will entrust them into Gods hands.

I am physically here with them, when I can be, but God is spiritually with them, and my biggest comfort is knowing that He is protecting them, loving them, watching over them, and seeing them when they are out of my sight.

My faith leads me to believe that He knows best, that He wants them to be happy, and that His Holy Spirit will convict their hearts in these coming years, leading them to make good decisions, but using their bad decisions to help bring them closer to Him. Teaching me to depend on Him, and trust in Him, more each day.

So after spending a brief moment in a mental argument with God in the freezing wind over who gets control, I gave in. I reassured myself, and my God, that I do trust Him. I know He will be up there with her, on that huge, tall, cold, slippery mountain where strangers lurk and danger is one side step away. But I told Him, "I trust You Lord. I entrust my children to you. Thank you for being there for them when I cannot." A little peace came over me, and so I went and got some hot chocolate of my own and found a seat with my friend where we chatted for hours.

My son Michael is only 9 years old, so he is my snuggle bunny right now; still little enough to keep within reach, but growing like a weed. Soon, he will skipping out of sight, where only Gods eyes can see him and Gods hands can protect him. I entrust him to Him as well.

Trusting God is a daily commitment, sometimes even a struggle. But putting my trust in Him, instead of entertaining irrational and silly thoughts that the enemy tries to pour into my mind, will most certainly result in a happier me, a happier family, and a more fulfilled life with Christ right in the center of it all.

PS Other than a few sore muscles and a stiff neck, Morgan survived her first snowboarding experience with no broken bones. As promised, God brought her back safe and sound. Kaitlyn has rebounded from her IPOD loss, and little Michael won his basketball game while I was away. God is so good!

In Gods HandsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Day Full of "If onlys"..... "what ifs"... and "I wish"......

As soon as I answered the phone, I heard the panic in her voice. My sweet Kaitlyn was calling to ask me if she had possibly left her brand new IPOD Touch which she had gotten for Christmas three weeks ago, in the car that morning. I had not seen it, but checked the car anyway, but no IPOD.

I immediately went to the school and met with the principal about the missing IPOD. He informed me that there had been a rash of thefts since school resumed after Christmas. As Kaitlyn sat there in the chair beside me in his office, trying to hold back the wails of sobs that wanted to burst out of her, I knew she was beating herself up inside.

I know that an IPOD is just a material thing, but she had anxiously and excitedly waited for months for Christmas day to arrive, and of all the presents she received for Christmas, her IPOD was her favorite. If she had not received another gift besides that, I think she would have been happy as a lark. It was a gift she really wanted, and she loved it. But now it was gone.

Once we left the Principal's office and the tears overflowed, she expressed how desperately she wished she could go back in time that morning. How she wished she would have left it at home or in the car that morning. How she wished she would not have left her purse at her desk when the class went to the library for a brief time. Her mind was flooded with "what if's", "if only's", and "I wish's", but nothing would change the outcome, which was that her IPOD was gone forever.

I have been in her shoes before. I have felt that desperation to change the past before. Not about an IPOD, but about decisions I made in my past, which I desperately wished I had made differently. For many years, I spent my days filling my mind with "what if's", and "if only's", and "I wish's", but no matter how much or how long I beat myself up for my mistakes, it didnt change anything.

One miraculous day I finally realized that God loved me no matter what my mistakes were, no matter how bad my decisions had been, and that no amount of self condemnation was going to change His love for me, or change the past. After a lot of internal struggling, I humbly accepted the fact that I was forgiven, and as a result, have allowed God to do things in my heart and my life that I would have never dreamed of.

Do I still entertain those self defeating thoughts? Sometimes. Im only human. But as a result of seeing God at work in my life over the past few years, my belief that all things happen for a purpose is stronger than the insecurities that the devil tries to pierce my heart with. I try to allow Gods voice to drown out that mean ol enemys voice, and that is always a daily struggle.

So was I mad at Kaitlyn for losing her IPOD? Not mad, just frustrated, and disappointed, because I cannot run out and buy another expensive IPOD right away, so she will have to wait until we can afford to replace it. She will unfortunately have to suffer the consequences of being somewhat careless, even if it was done innocently, and inadvertently. And she has to suffer the consequences for someone elses bad decision, which seems to make it even worse.

But do I forgive her? Of course, instantaneously, and without a shadow of a doubt.

When I first approached her at school that day, I could see the sadness in her eyes, hear the loss in her voice, and feel the overwhelming regret pouring out of her little heart. I know it is just a "thing", but it was something that was special to her.

As I looked at her flushed and tear stained face that day, and felt compassion building up inside of me, I couldnt help but think how God experiences those same feelings for us. How no matter how much we mess up, make careless decisions, and let Him down, that He feels the same loving compassion for us, as we do for our own children. That He feels compassion and mercy, not anger and disappointment, even when we do not deserve it.

If you are beating yourself up today for something you have done, thought or said, and you secretly desperately wish you could go back in time and do things differently, I encourage you today to let those feelings go. You are listening to the voice of the one who wants you to condemn yourself, so he can keep you down and discouraged.

None of us can change the past, despite all the wishing in the world....but we can control how we allow those mistakes to help us grow spiritually, depend on Christ, and trust that He always knows best.

If I had to look for a silver lining in all this, I did have some teachable moments with Kaitlyn. Not just about being more careful with her valuables, but about praying for people that steal or hurt us.

We talked about how the person who stole it must not know Christ; they must not know that stealing is wrong; they must not feel convicted by the Holy Spirit or even their own morals when they do something wrong; and maybe they have a bad family situation, and were never taught right from wrong or to be considerate of other peoples feelings, or things. I asked her if she had prayed about it, and she said she had, and we prayed about it together. It was hard, but we prayed for the thief. It is not fair and that person had no right to steal something from her, but we still need to forgive them and pray for them, and she understood. She has such a sweet heart.

I did want to give her a little hope though, and reminded her that if God can run an entire universe, He could certainly help her IPOD get back to her, if that was His will in His ultimate plan.

So, now we will just cross our fingers, and keep praying, that maybe it will be found and turned in and returned to her in some way, but regardless, lessons were learned, and life moves on. God always has a plan for everything .... even IPODS. Kaitlyn had dozens of Christian songs on her IPOD, maybe God will use it to reach a place in a heart that He could not reach before. But even if we never see it again, and never understand why it happened, I still believe that God can do something good out of it. And also, that He will.

A Day Full of "If onlys"..... "what ifs"... and "I wish"......SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow in the Carolinas!

Whoo hoo! We woke up to a beautiful blanket of white snow this morning! We have not had any snow here in nearly five years, so the kids are loving it! We even had school cancelled today, and the kids were outside freezing by 8:30am! Dont get me wrong now, I do not envy those who live up north, I dont like snow that much! One or two days of fun snow are great, and then Im glad to see it go!

Here are a few pictures from this morning. Maybe Ill venture out a bit later!

Here is Kaitlyn licking some snow off of a leaf, and my 3 amigos -

Here are the kids warming up after being frozen solid - Morgan playing some praise music on her new guitar, and Kaitlyn singing, Michael is just reading his book and drinking his hot chocolate.

Signing off to have some fun!

Snow in the Carolinas!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Year, Another Plan

When I was in middle school, I wanted to be in high school. I was sure I would feel more confident and more important then.

When I was in high school, I just wanted to be 16 so I could drive.

Then when I was 16, I wanted to be 18 so I would be a "legal" adult, and would have a valid reason to tell my parents I should be able to do what I want.

When I turned 18, I could not wait to get to college, discover my freedom and start a new life adventure.

Once I was in college, I wanted to be 21, because I thought all problems would end if I could ever reach legal drinking age. Ha!

When I turned 21, it was not that big of a deal though. I just wanted to do good in school, so I could get of college and get a job.

I got out of college at the age of 23, found a job, and then desperately wished I didnt have to go to work every day, but looked forward to when I could get married.

Once I got married six months later, I looked forward to the day when I could be a mommy.

Three years later when I became a mommy, there were days when I yearned for the days of teenagedom and college freedom again!

It seems like my whole life, I have wasted time and energy looking for something else. Searching and yearning for what lie just beyond my reach, and when I met that goal, immediately creating a new goal in my mind.

I think that is pretty normal for most people, and as long as we keep things in perspective, be content with what we have, and appreciate each stage in life we will be okay - however, that does not mean it is the right way to be. It is Gods choice to give us every new day, each first breath of a new morning, and the blessing of life. So in my heart, I know God desires that we treasure where we are, not just where we could be or want to be.

Today is my birthday - the big, whopping, ugly-sounding 42 years old birthday. Wow, I cant even believe I had to type a number that high. When did that happen? When did I get old enough to have a child in high school? When did I get all these wrinkles? And thank goodness for Miss Clairol.

I used to like birthdays, even look forward to them, and get excited about getting some presents.....but now....uuuuummmmmm..... not so much. But the good thing is, I no longer waste time yearning to meet that next age level anymore! I would be perfectly happy staying right here, or maybe a few years ago. Smiles.

Each year when I have to face another birthday, I try to take a quick mental assessment of what I accomplished over the past year.... did that year matter in my life? Did I make a difference? Did I live for Christ? Was I a good mother and wife, daughter, friend, niece, sister, neighbor?

Overall, I think 2008 was a pretty good year. I will not bore with you all the details, but in light of my many mistakes and falling short of the glory of God each and every day, I believe that God did good things in my heart last year, and did great things in and through me, through the experiences that He brought me to, and brought me through. Through the people I met, the friends I made, the family I love, and the experiences He put in my life.

But I cant help wondering......what is just beyond my reach this year? I dont mean another age marker, but in Gods plan for me? I dont mean a self serving goal wrapped in pride or personal desire, but a new level or accomplishment that God wants me to climb to?

What is it that God has in store for me? Is there a goal or spiritual mile marker that He desires that I reach this year, that I may not even be aware of? What amazing things is God doing in my life this year that will excite me so much, that I will stand in speechless awe of His sovereignty?

Wow, just writing that made me get goose bumps all over! My prayer this year is that I truly live for Christ. Whether Christ keeps me where I am, or leads me to new adventures and goal heights, I just pray that whatever I do, is His will.

I feel in my heart that God is trying to tell me something. In years past, if God was trying to get something across to me, I felt a sense of anxiousness each and every day. I would find myself searching the bible, browsing websites, praying, looking for clues to drop in my lap or maybe be written on a big billboard somewhere. I desperately wanted to know what was on Gods mind......and eventually, in one way or another, He always got through to me somehow. Sometimes it took years, other times it took days.... but I seemed to get the message eventually.

Lately, the last few weeks, I have been having that feeling again. I feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart, and almost feel like a little girl waiting at the mailbox each day, waiting for the mail to arrive with a $10 bill in it from granny! I know God is reaching out to me.

I dont know what God has in store for me in 2009, but whatever it is, I am already looking forward to it! As I kick off yet another year, which from a mirror standpoint I would like to defer, but from a spiritual standpoint, I am at the edge of my seat.

So, will you pray for me? Pray that I will be still enough to hear His voice, and aware enough to know His commands when He tells me. Pray that I will hear His voice sooner, than later. Pray that when He does reveal His plan for me, that I will be able to accept it, embrace it, and move forward with it - even if it is so far out of my comfort zone, that I feel it is far beyond my capabilities. I have learned, that if we feel God has told to do something that we think is completely ridiculous in our mind, that we have most definitely heard Him correctly! If His plans were easy, it wouldnt take much faith to follow!

I am always reminded of my life theme verse, it still appears in my life quite often, and is also the verse on my bible cover: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans for a future and a hope."

I am still in utter amazement at the plans I have already seen Him carry out in my life, and in the lives of those I am close to. I know God still has more plans for me, and I have found that the key to unlocking that plan, is having a relationship with Him. Not just a prayer life, a relationship.

It takes a relationship to truly be able to communicate openly and honestly with someone, and only then can two way conversations take place. My plan, is to continue building that relationship with my Savior, so that I can hear His plan loud and clear when He chooses to share it with me.

Friend, God is always waiting for us to open our spiritual ears and eyes, and then when we do hear and see His will, to embrace that plan with a full heart. That is my personal goal for 2009, even if it means accepting another birthday.

There is no better place to be than right smack in the middle of Gods will.

Another Year, Another PlanSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

All Info-mercials Are Not Created Equal!

Welllllllllllllll, here I am. Still hanging out on the couch, trying to do what I can with one arm. When the pain medicine is working, I have probably been doing way too much too soon though.... depends on whether or not you think washing clothes, one armed sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning dishes, cooking gumbo for dinner and even going to watch my NFL Carolina Panthers get smeared by the Cardinals while sitting out in the cold rain with 73,000 other fans, 48 hours after surgery, is over doing it.

I know, I know!!!! My busy-bodiness and inability to be restful and stationery for very long is kind of a serious fault of mine.

Anyway, its all good (at least I hope my doctor says so when I go back next week for my follow-up!).

I thought I would take today to tell you about two awesome things I came across last year that I am so thankful for, and that I try to tell everyone I know about. I cant even express how great these two discoveries were for me!

Probably like most of you, I used to stand firm on my belief that anything advertised in a TV info-mercial was most definitely going to be junk, garbage, not as advertised, or a royal ripoff, but last year, all that changed!

In fact, my life was changed because of watching an infomercial for P90X. P09X is an intense exercise program, which consists of 12 DVD workouts, and a high protein nutrition plan. The key to its' success is muscle confusion and eating right. Plus, when you start seeing results, you get even more motivated to work even harder!

Believe me when I say that I have bought several other work-out-at-home DVD programs in the past, and failed miserably every time because I was so bored, and because I didnt see real results. Even playing tennis four days a week and running 8-10 miles per week was not changing my body image the way I wanted.

But P90X was amazing. It was like having my very own personal trainer at home, so I was eager to do it every day. So why do I love it so much? I lost 20 pounds, but more importantly, I lost 15-17 inches over my body. I dropped from a size 8, to a size 0-2!! (I would show you my before/after pictures, but the before picture is way too embarassing!)

I didnt start this program to try to be super thin, I just wanted to feel better and be healthier. And now , I feel great. I have lots of energy, and my eating habits have permanently changed, in fact my husband now calls me a food snob, but I dont mind!

I kept this verse close to my heart over the past year: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

So many of us forget that our body is Gods temple. I heard a statistic on CNN yesterday that 33% of Americans are morbidly obese, and 32% of Americans are simply overweight. The statistics for eating disorders are astonishing. The prevalence of tatoos, extreme body piercings and other creative ways to negatively alter ones appearance has actually become disturbing.

I think people in todays society have forgotten that our bodies are Gods temple, or they just simply dont believe it. But the verse above reminds us of that undeniable truth. Please dont misunderstand me now, I know that God cares about our hearts, not our appearances, but He does say we are to take care of our bodies, our health, His residence.

If you feel as if you need to improve your health this year, get into shape, eat a healthier diet, tone, and maybe shed a few pounds if you are over your ideal weight for your frame, then check out the P09X website. The website itself is a bit hard on the eyes, but the program is phenonemal.

The other quick infomercial tip for today, is WEN haircare. Wow, this stuff gave me a new head of hair! The product is everything it claims to be. My hair is baby fine, bone straight, and dry. I am so sure you think I am way too young to have gray hairs (hee hee!), but I color my hair every month, so it had become brittle and frizzy. Yuck.

I took a chance on yet another infomercial, and my hair turned around completely! It is now softer, healthier and more manageable than it has ever been in my life.

So ladies, I know I sound like an infomercial wierdo, but I think if we find a great beauty secret, we should feel an obligation to share the knowledge!

So help me out here.....have you got any great beauty tips, home remedies, or successful infomercial purchases that you can share with your bloggy sisters? I would love to hear about them! There are actually 2 other infomercial products I have had on my eyes on.... about abs, and flawless skin...can you guess what they are?

Seriously though, whatever choice or life changes you need to make this year to become a more beautiful, healthier and happier you, I pray you will ask God to give you the perseverance and desire to follow through and meet your goals! Make a committment to honor God with you body this year!

All Info-mercials Are Not Created Equal!SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Hi friends. I am trying to type left handed and one handed with a quick update. My arm surgery went fine, although there was more tendon damage and internal scar tissue than originally thought, so the doctor had to do a bit more repair, including "drilling holes into the bone". Uggghh! Kind of glad I didnt know that ahead of time. So there is a lot of pain, and I am just trying to keep the pain medicine in me!

I didnt expect a hard partial cast up to my armpit, wrapped up so thick that my arm looks like the elephant man! So everything is a struggle! But my wonderful husband is taking great care of me.

I did learn something new today.... neither of my girls know how to use a regular curling iron! They are pros at using their straighteners though. Guess my hair will just be looking a little straggly for a week or two.

So just keep me in your prayers for a quick recovery and I'll be back as soon as I can use ten fingers again!

UpdateSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Coveting Your Prayers

Hi friends - for some reason, I am at a loss as to what to write the past couple days. I think I must be having some type of writers block! Or, I just have a lot of mind and do not seem to have my head on straight. So, I decided to simply focus on praying for you, and asking for your prayers.

Many of you left such sweet and amazing comments regarding Mondays blog post about living out Gods will in 2009, that I was moved to tears. Thank you for sharing your heart with me.

I want you to know that I am praying for you -

Jessica, Joy, sad granny, Be His Girl, an unknown friend, Mary, Nikki, Meeka, Janice, Casey, Cheri, Sheila, Vicki, Julie, Crystal, Kimby, Renee and all the others who said the prayer in their hearts to live out Gods will in their lives year but did not leave a comment.

For each of you, I pray that God will continue to work in your heart and that when the year is done, you can look back and see all the amazing things that God has done in your life and how you have transformed to be more of who you want to be. I pray that your struggles will make you more dependent on God, and that your blessings will never be taken for granted. I pray that you will be able to hear Gods voice this year, in the special and unique way that He chooses to talk to you. And I pray that God allows you to love yourself as much as He loves you, and that your self confidence and self esteem can also grow this year as you begin to see yourself through Gods eyes.

I hope that we can become prayer partners over the coming year and continue to lift each other up.

On that note, I would covet your prayers for me and my family right now.

My sister, Christie, was diagnosed with a very progressive form of Multiple Schlerosis about 10 years ago, and struggles so much every day. She is a wife, mother of a 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son, and a stay at home mom. She had serious abdominal surgery six months ago and still trying to recuperate, plus has incurred several injuries at home due to falling. But despite her hardships, she still has a heart for God. She still loves Him. She still has faith. But she needs prayer. My heart breaks for her every day, I just wish there was something I could do to ease her pain, to end her suffering, and to give her hope for the future and the miracle of healing. Also please pray for her heart, her spirit, her attitude, and her ability to stay hopeful, positive and happy, even when things look despairingly hopeless.

My dad married his wife Martha Ellen over 16 years ago, and now she is struggling with lung cancer. The prognosis is not good, but we are still praying for a miracle. She goes to the doctor tomorrow to hear about a new type of treatment that the doctors may be able to give her. She cant take anymore chemo or radiation because her body is too weak. Please pray that they can find something to help cure her and extend her life, and also for my dad who spends every waking moment caring for her every need. We live 3 hours from them so cannot be there to help very often.

Lastly, and least importantly, I am having some surgery on Thursday January 8th for a bad case of tennis elbow. I have a severely torn tendon across my right elbow and need to get it repaired. Please pray that the surgery goes well and that I can have a quick recovery. A twelve week recovery period is predicted, but I know myself all too well, and I doubt that I will be able to wait that long to get back to normal! However, it may only be a week or so before I can write/type again, so bear with me until I get back!

James 5;16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Matthew 17:20 He replied, Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ .

Coveting Your PrayersSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, January 5, 2009

What's The Big Deal About A New Year?

Welcome Proverbs 31 subscribers! Thank you for visiting today, and thanks to all my faithful readers & bloggy friends over the past year!

Now, I dont know about you, but when it comes to new years celebrations, all I can say is..... yaaawwwnnnn; ho hum. Whats the big deal anyway?

I am just not a new years eve fan. All the hullabaloo about an outrageously expensive ball dropping seems to leave me a little dismayed - it is simply the turning over of another day in another month on another calendar, for goodness sakes!

In that same mindset, I try not to get caught up in making new years resolutions, because I know that even the best intentions with the greatest motivations will fail, if in our hearts, we are not truly committed to your goal.

Although there are lots of areas where I could come up with valid resolutions, the most important thing I want to work on this year, is my relationship with Christ. I know that as my relationships flourishes, everything else in my life will follow suit, including my relationships with my husband, children, friends, attitude, joy, and so on.

As a result, I plan to purchase the Chronological Bible (available on the P31 website and mentioned in a recent devotion) this week, and read the entire bible this year. I cant wait!

And secondly, I so want to live in the center of Gods will this year.

Yesterday morning at church, our pastor was talking about this subject, and God spoke to my heart about what it really means to live in Gods will.

Three and a half years ago, I left my career in the corporate world to be a stay at home mom, with the hopes of becoming a Christian speaker and writer, which I felt God had called me to. He confirmed that calling by opening many doors for me , and soon after I was given the amazing privilege of becoming a part of Proverbs 31.

Since then, I have felt like I was living out Gods will for my life. But after hearing yesterdays sermon, I began to doubt that. I found myself thinking I truly living out Gods will for my life? Was quitting my job and serving in ministry really all God wants from Tracie? Was I doing what God expected of me every day? Then we read the following verse.

Romans 12:1-2 says this, " Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." (NIV)

I started really thinking about what a living sacrifice is. I sat in the church pew, wondering whether or not God would agree with my opinion of whether or not I am fully living in His will. Hmmmm. I came to the quick conclusion that His answer would most definitely be a big fat obvious NO.

So, going against my typical anti-new years resolutions-making-attitude, I made a resolution. To try to live out Gods will for my life this year - not just in actions with great intentions and a true love for God, but in my full heart, with persistence and hope, and a desire to be molded and changed.

The Bible makes it very clear how we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Christ. The instructions are clear, but the task is daunting.

We have to die to our prior selves. We have to give up the things we like to do, to do the things that God likes for us to do. We have to commit to stop doing things, or behaving in ways that are not pleasing to God, and seek strength in Him to begin a process of change. A process of change that will not be easy, but that will be so rewarding when we see changes in ourselves that are pleasing to Christ, through the work that we are allowing Him to do in us.

I came across an anonymous writing about being a living sacrifice, which is below:

"When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don't sting or hurt with the oversight, but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for Christ...........That is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinion ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence;.......That is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus did........That is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, and offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God....That is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown......That is dying to self.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and you are in desperate circumstances.....That is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit, inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart.....That is dying to self.

Dying to self. Yikes. Sounds hard! It is! But I have made a covenant with God today to try to begin this process. Trust me, I know I will fail in many ways, every single day, but just like the beginning of a new year is fresh and new, inspiring us to improve and make changes in our life, I know that each and every day is a new day in Gods eyes, and that by the sacrifice of His son, that I can start with a fresh clean slate each morning.

So what does God really want? He simply wants our hearts to be full of Him, trusting Him, and for our lives to be a manifestation of His will - a life that is handed over to Him, so that He can do with it as He wishes. So that He can transform us to be a light for Christ.

He is calling us to a life of sacrifice and service. Luke 22:42 says, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (NIV) That is a hard pill to swallow at times - our will normally drives our actions; but God desires to hold the steering wheel of our life instead of us. His will, not ours.

Do you want to make a resolution that really matters this year? Do you want to set aside the earthly resolutions about weight loss or money changes, and commit to a covenant with God to become a living sacrifice? If your answer is yes, I invite you to pray this prayer with me:

Lord, today I pray that you give me the strength, perseverance and desire to be more like You. To put aside my selfish desires, and focus on others, even if it means a sacrifice for me. I pray that you begin a process of molding me Lord, of helping me to more patient, loving, and kind with my children and my husband; to recognize when my children need extra hugs and kisses instead of scolding; to discipline with love and not anger; to remember to be grateful every day; to reach out to those in need; to try to respond to all situations in a way that would please you and not in a way that I am accustomed to doing. Not just a heart change God, but a life transformation. Teach me Lord, how to be a living sacrifice for you. Bestow grace and mercy upon me as I stumble through this journey, but know my heart Lord. Your will, and to be like You, is my true desire. In Jesus' name, Amen.

So is the new year really a big deal? It depends on how you look at it. As I consider all the exciting things that I pray God will do in my life and through me this year, I have to admit, I am getting excited! As I imagine how my children can grow spiritually, how my marriage can be strengthened, how my faith can grow and how my trust in God can deepend, I am getting excited!

What makes the new year a big deal, is not resolutions, parties and balls dropping in Times Square, but that we can see it as a fresh start, and a first step to a stronger and more empowering relationship with Christ, so that all in due time, Gods Will be done, and we can have a part in carrying it out for His glory.

If you want to join me in this quest to seek Gods will for your life, and His ways in your life, in this new year, leave a quick prayer request in the comments and I will pray for you. I pray in turn that you will also pray for me.

I will be talking about Gods will all of this month, and I invite you to join me.

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