Thursday, July 31, 2008

Think BIG

Well gang, my ministry partner Leigh had an awesome post this week. Some of you read her stuff as well, but to many this will be new. I was going to put it in my own words, but why fix something that's not broke (or is it broken?). Anyway, you know what I mean! We have exciting times ahead of us at Speaking Thru Me Ministries. I'll be talking more about that as well. But for now, read this and enjoy hearing from Leigh:)

What is God asking you to do right now? I don't mean if God has ever asked you to do something, I mean right now He is asking something of you - Are you listening? God always wants to engage us in things that He is involved in. Are you willing to respond and think big?

The line of questioning above reminds me of the time Jesus asked the disciples to feed the 5000. On this occasion Jesus and his guys had been ministering all day and were ready to retreat. They asked Jesus to make the crowd go away. Jesus replied with an odd statement and probably very frustrating to the the disciples, "You give them something to eat." Jesus was not solving the problem, but giving the disciples even more to do. He was engaging them - big time!

Coming from Charlotte, NC we had every conference under the sun not only come to the city, but most of the conferences came to my big church. It was not uncommon at all for me to go to each and every event - I LOVED it. I would always come home with so much excitement and energy. But it was one of those things that unless you are there it was too difficult to explain. No matter how dramatic I got with Clay he just didn't feel it the way I did at that time. Bummer!

It was not long after moving to Southern Illinois that I began to thirst and starve for that kind of ministering again. And then the Lord asked something of me. I was at a Mark Schultz concert down in Marion and as I stood up to look around the Lord whispered in my heart, "Bring it here - men and women alike." Over time He revealed not just a music concert, but speakers and worship for both the man and woman at the same time. Not a marriage conference at all, but a worship/ministering conference for both of all ages. Something for the area of Southern Illinois that doesn't make us drive to St. Louis, Indy, Chicago, or Louisville. The impulse girl that I am said, "Sure thing Lord, I would love to do that." Then the fear began to set in.

As the disciples began to pass out all they had, 5 loaves and 2 fishes, I am sure the fear began to set in. "What happens when we get to the sixth person? What happens when I can not feed a baby? What happens when i run out? What if more people come up?" I think there was fear there as well even though they had seen Jesus work all the miracles not only that day, but throughout His ministry.

In verse 16 of Luke 9 Jesus gave thanks and then gave the food to the disciples to let them be engaged in the miracle happening. Jesus could have multiplied the food immediately, but instead He gave the food to them to see and feel with their own eyes and hands all He was doing. It was if He was saying, "Come on guys, take part, be engaged, think bigger, and trust Me." After feeding everyone I believe it to be no coincidence that there was 12 baskets leftover for each of the disciple. When we give of everything, even a heart lacking in faith, He still faithfully provides filling us in unimaginable ways!

Speaking Thru Me Ministries has just been granted 501(c) tax exempt status. That means that we are able to take donations and give the donor a tax benefit. Yeah!! But having said that we have little to nothing in the pot to speak of. If you remember correctly our speakers take no kind of speaking fee. I would say we have even less than 5 loaves and 2 fish. Nevertheless God has given me this story today to encourage me that He will provide in abundance.

September 2009 I have rented the Marion Civic Center for a conference for men and women. I have already booked Curtis Jones, Beth Moore's son in law, to speak. I am working on the worship leader and a few more speakers. Priscilla Shirer has already gracefully declined. So i continue to reach my hand in the basket to pull out more and more loaves and fishes. Every time I begin to panic - will anyone show up - how will i ever pay for all this - what if my speakers cancel at the last minute - how is this different than anything else - I reach my hand once again in the basket and He provides...scripture, cards from friends, emails from family, holy nudges!!

So, what is it for you today? What is He calling for in your life to be engaged and think bigger? Can you hear Him today? Have you taken the time to sit before Him today? Listen to the voice of the Savior! Keep digging for more loaves and fish!! It is there!!! He is there!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Do you pick and choose your sin?

Hey gang! I have something really quick today as a follow up from my last post. We are wrapping up summer around here (school starts in about two weeks!) so, you might want to sign up to receive e-mails on my blog updates instead of just checking the site here and there. I might be a little scattered on writing between now and school:) But, I promise I will try to write at least once a week.

OK - I was getting my nails done the other day and I had a new gal this time. She was very chatty and told me all kinds of details about herself. She was young, only 19 and talked a lot about her friends and starting college. She went on to tell me how a group of friends were going down to Atlanta before school started to hit some clubs and party for the weekend. She proudly told me that she wasn't into that. And, she didn't want to risk getting caught with a fake ID. She said that she had accomplished to much to get hauled off to jail for something silly like that. Then, her next sentence was this. "So instead, I'm just going to go with my boyfriend on a weekend trip." Now, this was the first time I had ever spoken to this young girl. No, I don't know if she considers herself a Christian or not. And, yes - some of you will think I'm judging her - but just hang in there and hear me out:)

So - we have, for the sake of our example, a young girl who doesn't drink under age - because that is wrong. But, she is willing to spend the weekend with her boyfriend. Now, come on guys. Do you really think that two 19 years olds of the opposite sex are going to stay in a hotel room for the weekend and nothing is going to happen? If so, I will just tell you straight up that you are nuts!

Now, to get away from someone else's example and turn this on myself (YIKES!). Do I pick and choose my sin? Wow, what a question! Think about it. Do I rank sin and think to myself -- I will never murder that's terrible! But, an occasional lie or exaggeration of the truth is OK. I won't gossip with this person over here because I know they think it's bad, BUT - I know this person doesn't mind so it's OK when I talk to them. You know that I could go on and on with things that we consider petty, but God still calls them sin.

If you have some time, I've listed below some scripture references about sin. If you have a certain area in your life where you are feeling defeated - talk to God about that today. Satan wants us to feel defeated in our sin. He wants us to think that the occasional sin is OK. No, Christians are not perfect and as long as we are alive - we will sin. BUT, does your sin break your heart? Does the sin of our nation break your heart? Have you grown so accustomed to certain sins, probably "petty" sins, that you don't even feel guilty anymore? Or if you see a sin in someone else - you don't grieve for them. You just consider it their personal choice. If we want to live a radical life for Christ, when we sin - it MUST break our hearts. Pray today for true conviction of sin. Not just for your life personally, but also for our nation.

Sin steals joy (Psalm 51:12)

Sin removes confidence (I John 3:19-21)

Sin quenches God's Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19)

Sin brings physical damage (Psalm 38:1-11; 31:10)

Sin breaks God's heart (Ephesians 4:30)

Sin opens the door to other sins (Isaiah 30:1)

Sin breaks fellowship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Sin desires to control my life (John 8:34; Romans 6:16)

Monday, July 21, 2008

How to Become a Christian

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Roman 3:23

Hey guys! I've been on a quick vacation so sorry for the delay in blogging this week. BEWARE - today's blog is of a more serious nature. No silly kid stories today, but I feel that someone in Blog World needs to read this right now!

Several years ago I took a discipleship class about learning to share your faith. So, of course - during the course of the class we were to go out and share our faith and put to practice what we were learning. The first question we were encouraged to ask the people we met was this, "What do you think that a person must do to go to heaven?" Many times people would say - "I just need to be a good person." They would continue by letting me know that they thought they were "good". The people I talked to would claim to be "good" parents, friends, neighbors. They would tell me a lot of what they didn't do, such as steal, do drugs and so on.

But the verse above reminds me of my contrast with God. In regards to salvation, this verse is making us aware of how we are ALL SINNERS - we were not born "good", and we do not become "good".

You know, if a doctor suddenly announced to us in an exciting voice that he had a cure for the Paraguayan Flu, would we really care about it? In order for his discovery to impress us so deeply that we would seek a vaccination, the doctor would first need to prove to us the terrible dangers facing us of the unknown virus. People will not seek a cure until they know they are ill. Our illness is sin, and our cure is salvation. Jesus said in Matthew 9:12, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

So I've mentioned how we can not get to heaven by being "good", but did you know that you don't go to hell just because you are bad? Do I have your attention now??? People go to hell because they reject Christ, and they go to heaven because they accept the free gift of eternal life.

Read this scripture, John 3:16-21 and then we will talk about it. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

Look again at the part I've put in BOLD. The Bible does not say that he was condemned because he got drunk, or because he committed adultery, gambled, or even murdered. He was condemned because he did not believe in Christ. Listen, Jesus' blood on the cross atoned for all those sins. And Christ CAN and HAS and WILL forgive them. However, hear me on this ---- far worse than gambling, adultery, or murder - is rejecting Christ. Matthew 12:31-32 "And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."

Someone reading this needs to hear right now that Christ died for you. As crazy as that sounds in our selfish world - it is true. I will never forgot when "Passion of the Christ" by Mel Gibson was out and my heart broke one night watching TV. I was watching a show called "Politically Incorrect with Bill Marh". You can tell that Bill Marh has some head knowledge of the Bible and he was debating with those on his show that night about the accuracy of the film. Bill had seen the movie. He had read the scriptures that related to the movie. BUT, he said this - "I see the passion Mel Gibson has for this film and I'm moved by how he truly believes what he created on film is the true Gospel. But, I can not image that someone, who doesn't even know me - would ever die for me, a sinner. That is incomprehensible." My eyes just filled with tears and I prayed for Bill Marh that very moment. He was so close to believing, but could just not understand the truth of God's love. John 4:10 "This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

So, now what? Did you know that Satan believes in God. It is not enough for us to believe that God exists. Since we are a "Christian Nation", most Americans believe themselves to be "Christians" because they live in America! I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Are you needing to do that today? Confess with your mouth your sins and ask God to forgive you? I've had the need to write about salvation on my heart for some time - and I couldn't put it off any longer. If you have more questions OR make this decision - please contact me. If you aren't even sure what to pray - I have a prayer below that you can pray. I would love to know if you prayed this prayer and send you some resources to encourage you in your walk with God. I hope to hear from you soon:)

"Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I have been a sinner from birth and there is no good thing in me. But God today, right now - I am believing Your Word, the Bible. I want to confess my sins to You and ask You to forgive me. I know that You died on the cross for me. And, I want to accept the free gift that You want to give me, which is the gift of eternal life. God I want to know more of You while on this earth. And, I want to spend eternity with You in heaven. Amen."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guess what Jamison did now!

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what is lost."
Luke 19:10

Well, my last two posts have been about the girls. I guess the Lord didn't want me to leave Jamsion out so I have a story to share from yesterday.

First, I need to tell you a little about Jamison. He is 3 and if there is such a thing as being 200% boy - than he is it! If I had not raised two other children before him I would totally be questioning my parenting skills. He makes me look 200% irresponsible! He is adventurous and as quick as lightening thus the reason for two ER visits and in a completely unrelated case a call to 911 where police were involved!!! At this time I need to remind you he is only 3 and look at what all he's already done:( YIKES!! As I type this he is trying to convince me that it is OK to sword fight with his Dad's screwdrivers!

But, I can't leave you with that impression. He is also one of the most affectionate of my children. He holds my hand all over the house. Literally, one day it took me nearly one hour to put groceries up because I did it one handed. If he is not holding my hand, he is holding my shirt tale or my leg. He showers me with kisses - and his preference is smack on the lips! He has fallen asleep at my feet on our hard wood kitchen floor while I did the dishes. If we are in a room together and I leave that room without him --- he comes running fussing to me, "Mommy, you lost me!" He is my blue eyed shadow, and most of the time - I wouldn't have it any other way.

So yesterday, AT SWIM LESSONS - he slides into the water off the pool steps over his head. There are only 4 kids in the class, but the instructor is at the opposite end of the pool helping another child. I did not even see him fall in - I just happened to look that way. He was under and not even making any splashes. His eyes were open and his mouth was open. He would slightly float up, but not even high enough to take another breath. I ran into the pool clothes and all. When I pulled him out he coughed some and was crying, "Mommy, I go under." Of course my heart was racing and I was near tears - when I pulled him up I had no idea what to expect. I was thrilled that he was going to be OK, but very shocked that he wasn't spitting out more water than what he did. The poor instructor was a nervous wreck the rest of class. It was truly an accident and she was not to blame. The class was very much under control and well organized. It was just unfortunately, one of those things and I am so glad I stayed for swim lessons. With him not making any splashes and the instructor at the other end of the pool at the time --- this could have turned out very badly.

So, I came home and held my sweet little boy the rest of the night --- thanking God over and over that he was OK. Jamison told me at least 100 times last night that he loved me. Even one time he said, "You saved me Mom" and came over to give me a big hug. It was during this time that God showed me how much "we" are like Jamison.

You see, as sinners - we are drowning. Sometimes we are so deep in sin, we feel so far down that we could not even make a splash for help if we tried. We wonder who, if anyone, would even see us to help us or care to help us get out. But someone does see you. The One whose eye is on the sparrow, is also on you. God desires to pull you up from the deep ---- from the place where you are in so over your head that without His help, you will never get out. If you call to Him, He will jump into the "pool", reach out and pull you up, hold you in His hand and then you can say -- "I love You. Thank You for saving me."

Monday, July 14, 2008

My God will fight for YOU

"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."'
Exodus 14:13

Oh my! It is so true that kids will say anything - and that seems especially true for my children! But one story stands out far above the rest and that's what I'm going to share with you today.

Several years ago, I had taken Savannah to a new Doctor's Office. This office had a huge chalk board on the wall to entertain the children and immediately after we arrived my little artist was quickly at work. The office was full and I was confident that my little Michelangelo had caught every one's eyes with her fascinating works of art.

During one particular drawing I could see the concentration on her face. She was drawing her stick figures with great precision. One was small and placed far away from the other two larger stick figures. Then, with serious determination, she began drawing straight lines over the two larger stick figures. She did this over and over until both stick figures had horizontal lines all across them. She finished her creation by drawing a line across the top and bottom of her horizontal lines --- making a box. (Is anyone following me here????)

Intrigued by what she had done and knowing that she had a purpose or a story behind what she had drawn - I asked Savannah to tell me about her picture. In a room FULL of people, in her very LOUD toddler voice she said, "Mommy, remember that one time the police came and took you and Daddy to jail and I was left all alone? Well, I drew that time."

Now, do you follow the picture?? One small stick figure (her) away from the larger two (me and her dad), the box with lines (a jail cell)!!!!

So, with all eyes on us - I replied back, "Oh honey, did you draw a dream that you had?" Immediately she responded with a very strong "NO Mom! I drew that time you and dad went to jail and left me all alone!" The more I tried to insist that she had no idea what she was talking about - the more adamant she became that she had indeed drawn a true life portrait! And, the more exchanges that we had - the more I could tell the entire waiting room was on her side! I mean come on! Even I have to admit that was one wild imagination for a toddler. Had the tables been reversed, I probably would have been one of the first in the waiting room to have a raised eyebrow.

The point of this wild and true tale is this: (oh wait - TRUE being the drawing in the Doctor's Office, not TRUE as in the going to jail part! just wanted to make sure we were clear - haha) the more I tried to stand up for myself, defend my parenting, prove that I really was a good person - the worse I made the situation. The more I looked guilty.

If you are a Christian, is their an area in your life where YOU are doing the fighting? You are arguing with those around you to prove that you are right "in Christ". Maybe you are trying to defend your reputation, maybe it is your parenting choices. It could be any decision you've made where you and God have worked out all the details - but your family and friends aren't on board with His plan. Maybe it's Homeschooling. Maybe it's moving your family across the world to be missionaries. Maybe it's about having more children (and most people feel you already have plenty!). I'm just tossing out things that I've witnessed recently --- and I realize most of these I'm mentioning deal with "younger" families because that's where I am right now, but I'm sure you catch my drift. No matter your age - right now, you can think of an issue.

Whatever the situation - you may be feeling personally attacked. Like your judgement is being questioned. BUT, Have you ever thought about how maybe this isn't your fight? Believe me - I like to "duke it out" with the best of them, and it's been a hard life lesson for me! Guys listen - we might not be going into a literal physical battle like our pals in the Old Testament, but God still fights AND wins His battles. Be encouraged by this list of scriptures:

Deuteronomy 1:30 "The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes."

Deuteronomy 3:22 "Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you."

2 Chronicles 20:17 "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

Jeremiah 1:19 "They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.

If we believe that God has called us and set us a part in a certain area of our life, do you honestly think He wants to leave the fighting up to us? Now I hope you know that I am not asking you to not stand up for what is right or that we should not take a stand against sin..... Of course we should! I am talking about a heart issue. Something where you are not letting go and letting God take 100% control of the situation. Something where you are yelling ..... "I am right! God told me to do this! You are crazy for thinking I'm crazy!! And above all, I've never been in jail and left my child all alone --- I promise!"

If this is an area of concern for you - pray these verses today. Pray for the people involved. Ask God to show them His heart in this are while also asking Him to continue to change your heart's attitude regarding those who are opposing you. Keep a journal of your prayer concerns ..... be still, do not be afraid, watch the Lord fight for you and anticipate His deliverance. Let me know how He moves.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tears at the Hair Salon

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Luke 12:7

Cassidy's New Hair Style

Even though the girls are just 6 & 8 years old, for years and years - they have gone with me to the Hair Salon. As much work as I have done to my hair, ha - I can be at the salon for up to three hours. So, we literally make a day of it. While I'm getting color and such, the girls get a wash, cut and style. They love it and surprisingly behave for that long of a time!

Well, it was Salon Day and I started early in the morning asking the girls what they wanted to have done. Savannah, 8, wanted some bangs this time. Not my favorite thing - they are so hard to work with - but I agreed. Cassidy, 6, really shocked me. "I think I want my hair short." Well, short to her was at her shoulders. Her hair at this time was mid-back, very long. It's not like Cassidy to want to be different. She often copies her sister and doesn't always make such brave statements. So, I applauded her for stepping out of her comfort zone and I agreed with her as well. I could live with should length.

So - I go first at the Salon and get my color and foil and the Hairdresser places me under the dryer. I've reviewed with him Cassidy's wishes stating - SHOULDER length. So from across the room I see Cassidy hop up in the chair. She is smiling ear to ear and thrilled to be getting her hair cut (she enjoys Salon Day the most between the girls I think!). Then, everything after that is like a slow motion movie to me.

Cassidy's hair is wet and the Hairdresser pulls it back into nearly a pony tail and then, snip. From across the room I can see the back of her neck and I start to panic. It was like in my mind - I was leaping out from under the dryer (all in slow motion), yelling "NNNNOOOOOOOO!!!!" and sliding across the slick black salon floor on my stomach with my arm stretched out as if to catch her long beautiful locks of hair before they hit the ground. ----- As if I could put it back on??!!

So I start saying to myself. "Don't cry. You can't cry. If you cry, she will cry. Wait, is she crying? Oh no! If she cries - I will cry!!!" It was the worst 5 seconds of my life. I keep looking at her sweet little face in the mirror as he continues to snip and add layers to my 6 year olds hair! Her facial expression has not changed. It's as if her smile is frozen. I start to wonder if she is even blinking!! But, she doesn't cry. I take a deep breath and decided that we will make it through this.

When her "style" was done, she whispered in my ear (not wanting to offend our stylist!), "Mommy, this isn't what I was wanting." I replied, "I know. It's not what Mommy thought you were getting either, but it looks adorable on you and I really like it. You look fabulous!"

As I looked at my little toothless new short hair styled little girl - I thought about all my worries for her. If I can't protect her from the hairdresser and a bad hair cut --- what's going to happen to her in the real world???? When I saw that first snip, I was terrified. As she starts kindergarten this fall, I'm terrified. I can't explain how she is "different", she just is. She has a hard time learning, she can not follow directions hardly at all - doctors and therapist admit they "see something that's not right" but can't diagnose exactly what it is. She often gets words turned around or calls an object by the wrong name. I'm terrified about .... will she fit in? Will the other kids laugh at her when something doesn't come easy to her? Will she pass Kindergarten --- she's already 6!!??

But I need to take all these fears, all these concerns and replace them with:

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken..... He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:1-2; 62:7-8

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

And the scriptures could go on and on. Yes, I am initially fearful about my sweet Cassidy and her future. But, I can not live or dwell in fear. And anytime a fearful thought arises, I must replace that with God's Word. I'm so thankful to know that God is Sovereign in all He does. He has a purpose for her life. He knows the hairs on her head (even though they are all shorter now!).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

You're kidding me! I'm old?

"Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage."
Psalm 84:5

I hope that you had a great 4th of July. I had a very eye opening weekend!

Just earlier this week I was telling Russ how I feel just like the young Moms at our church. The ones who have only be married a short while and have just had their first child --- I still feel just like one of them! I actually think of myself as their "peer".

Well, this weekend I was enjoying the 4th of July sales at the Disney Store and had found some steals for my kids ($2.99 t-shirts!!) As the young girl behind the counter rang up my items, she said the strangest thing to me. Very politely she commented, "Oh, you must be buying for your grand kids." Completely stunned - I started thinking ...... what about me looks grandmotherish today? Is it my new highlights --- they are very blond, maybe they are so blond, she thinks they are white! I know I've been using my moisturizer ..... my wrinkles can't be that deep, can they??!! I couldn't think on my feet - how in the world do you respond to something like this??? So, I said, "No, these are for my children. My oldest is only 8." Then, I thought .... OK Ginger, that was great! Make the young girl feel as terrible as possible. The entire scene was very uncomfortable and a complete nightmare! She tried to quickly recover and reply, "Oh, well, my mom never really bought us stuff - our grandmother always did, so I just thought since you had a lot of stuff it was for your grandchildren." Bless her heart, that was not a good save.

So, I walked away - with reality hitting me in the face. Nope, I'm obviously not peers with the young girls at church after all.

Recently in a Bible Study we were asked to write down the number of years that we had been on a pilgrimage with God. Meaning, at what age did you accept Christ and start your journey with Him. I have very clear memories of my decision at age 9. Actually, my Spiritual Birthday is just a few days away. But, I have never thought about how many years I've been a Christian before. I was surprised to learn that I had been on my pilgrimage with God for 25 years! YIKES! That's a long time --- that's actually how old I feel (or felt before my bubble burst at the Disney Store!) Now some of you might be laughing at me because your Spiritual pilgrimage already doubles mine in years (and here I am kinda complaining of "age"). And, I just want you to know that in so many ways --- I can't wait to be you! What wisdom and stories you have to share about our Lord Jesus Christ:) And now that I'm aware of this concept of being on a pilgrimage --- I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for where this journey leads for the next 80 years!

So, these events really got me thinking ..... how have I grown? what experiences has He used to shape me over these 25 years? how often have I been obedient? how often have I heard His voice on this pilgrimage? how much longer will my journey continue?

I wish that years ago I had understood this concept. It makes so much sense now! I've always wanted to "run with perseverance the race marked out" for me - Heb. 12:1 And, fix my eyes on the prize, our Lord Jesus - Heb. 12:2. And, finish the race well. BUT, all this time - I've been missing the process, the pilgrimage! Where I am now --- I'm not staying! Whatever problem, crisis or even sorrow that I am experiencing today is preparing me to finish the race well.

Psalm 84:5, "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage." I want my heart to be set on pilgrimage. I don't want to wallow in what's taking place today. Yes, I need to address today - I can't ignore today, with His strength I can face it - whatever "it" is! BUT, the great news is that I have the promise of today leading me towards the next level in my relationship with Christ. Oh Lord, please help me not to be so focused on "finishing well" that I miss all the details in between that are so important to the process of how I get to the end!!

So, here I am. 34ish with a wonderful husband and three great kids. I still can't deny that I feel only 25:) But I'm looking forward to this journey. When I think about how my love for the Lord has truly grown in recent years - I get goose bumps to think about loving Him even more! Knowing Him even more! Remembering in the hard times - that I'm only passing through and in all things - He will be glorified.