Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For The Life Of Your Little Ones

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“Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones.” Lamentations 2:19

Well, I did it! I took my “baby steps” on perfectionism and I DID NOT purchase Jamison an “I’m the Birthday Boy” shirt for his party on Monday night. I did not even put him in a polo, button down or anything that was really even nice for that matter! I let him wear one of his favorite sweat suits. YES – a sweat suit! Surprisingly, the world did not stop spinning.

You know ---- I spend a lot of time stressing about my kids. And, most of the time over silly things. Think like - how Jamison will look for his birthday party. And, sometimes over medium silly things like - is Savannah really prepared for her Science test? And, occasionally serious things like – is Cassidy ready to make her decision to follow Christ?

But, until recently – I spent more time stressing and less time praying. I LOVE the verse above – how beautiful is that??!! I have it posted right here in front of my computer on my desk. It serves as a reminder for me to stop stressing and start praying. You would think that common “Christian” sense would make you know to pray for your kids – specifically and often. But, I must say guilty as charged on that one sometimes! I have to especially work at the specific part. I told my Ladies Ministry Team at church recently that I am the queen of blanket prayers. Do you know what that means? Saying things like, “Father, forgive me for all my sins.” Or “Lord, be with my children today.” Just saying simple things --- and not putting forth the effort to get down to the nitty gritty.

This is an area that I have been trying to work on for some time now. I have in NO WAY arrived, but I can tell a change not only in the relationship with my children – but also in my relationship with Christ.

Two things that I pray specifically for is that: 1) our children will have a LOVE for the Lord and His Word and 2) our children will be obedient to God’s call in their life and serve Him in ministry. Now – you can be a nurse and still serve Him in ministry. What a calling! You don’t have to be a missionary in Africa to be in ministry. BUT – I want my children to understand that whatever job God has called them to – it is a ministry. Something that God uniquely designed only for them to do for His glory.

I also say a prayer for me as a parent that I will see how He is molding my children and also be obedient to encourage them in their calling. For example, Jamison loves his Bible. He hugs it, holds it and even asks to sleep with it! Well, at first I thought about how the pages might rip if he sleeps with it. Or if he leaves it laying out the dog could chew the corners! This was his baby dedication Bible and I don't really want it torn to shreds!!! But then, God had me to look at this situation in terms of "eternity". If I restrict Jamison from using his Bible and say that's only for Sunday --- what am I teaching him? Is it that big of a deal if a Bible is tattered and worn?? No! I think God knows that that kind of Bible is really the best kind. One that is used. One with the pages taped together. One with scribbles on the pages from a toddler who wants to read and write in their Bible like they see their Mommy and Daddy do. I've decided that that kind of Bible --- it is a keeper far better than one in perfect condition.

Inside I laugh at how I can see Savannah as a missionary to China, Cassidy adopting 10 kids and Jamison being a preacher (and I have the photo to show for!). Only time will tell where God leads them, but I can’t wait to share with them how I poured out my heart, like water before the presence of the Lord; lifting my hands to Him for the choices they will make.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Well gang! It's been a long time, huh? Thanks for you "faithfuls" who have patiently awaited my return:) But, during this time away - I have learned something about myself that I want to talk about today.

I spoke at a church back before Christmas about Perfectionism. I had never given it much thought - but, because my house is NOT spotless, I'm terribly unorganized and given the fact that I am confident that I WILL be late for my own funeral --- I never thought that I was a perfectionist.

It was during this time of study that I learned a new term: Selective Perfectionism. That means that we pretty much pick and choose, we select, the areas where we are a perfectionist. We may not live at the gym and drink Soy milk, but our house is obsessively spotless. We might spend an outrageous amount on dressing ourselves and our children but we can never found our car keys (no matter how many cute baskets we purchase to hold them in!).

I also discovered that perfectionist are always thinking how nothing is as good as it could have been. We think back on what wasn’t good enough and tend to see only how things are wrong and forget what is right. It’s very tempting for a perfectionist to lay in bed at night and think about what they didn’t get done --- instead of what they did accomplish.

Not very far into my message that I was preparing to share with others --- I realized that perfectionism had a hold on my own life. My areas of weakness are the appearance of my family and myself and this blog! Hang on, and let me explain.

It is my belief that my girls should ALWAYS have a hair bow. At 7AM on Christmas morning I'm sticking a hair bow in the girls hair before one picture can be taken! My kids should also ALWAYS match while on vacation. When I speak - I always have a suit jacket with matching accessories (thanks for the grace Knoxville when I couldn't find my earrings!!). Birthday parties are ALWAYS to be extravagant adventures for children and the very reason that Party City loves me!!!

I've read that “Perfectionist take great pains and give them to others.” That perfectly describes me in the above scenarios:( Would Christmas really never be the same if I didn't cram in a hair bow? Do other vacationers in Disney really stop to look at my well dressed kids? Of course not!! And, guess what -- the ladies in Knoxville didn't pass out because I couldn't find my earrings.

You see, there is obviously nothing wrong with wanting my girls to wear a hair bow. However, there is something wrong when “it” – your particular area of perfectionism ---- when you feel that “it” defines your worth. When the way my kids look suddenly defines the way that I find value as a person ---- then, we have a problem!

I've also learned that perfectionism can cause you to have a type of paralysis. For example – if I can’t do the perfect dinner party, why have anyone over at all. If the house will get wreck in 10 minutes – why pick up a thing. If my medication says, causes weight gain then why exercise? We can develop the attitude of, “If it can’t be perfect – then I just won’t do it.” This is where I have been with my blog.

I LOVE to write. I LOVE to share what God is doing in the small things in my life --- but I was getting so stressed out because I didn't feel that it could be "perfect" - so I just stopped. I didn't like my old design - it wasn't "me", then I wouldn't have time to really say what I wanted to say.... and the excuses would just keep coming.

Do you see yourself in any of the areas above? Are you over-doing it in some (like me with the kids) and under-doing in others (like me with my blog)?

The above scripture says that we can not earn our salvation. God knows that we are not perfect, so He offers it to us as a gift. So, let's stop trying to pretend like we are perfect! We do not have to earn our worth in Christ.

Let's take some baby steps together. My Son's birthday party is Monday night and it is killing me NOT to get him a new birthday shirt. The truth is - the little rascal has hardly grown since last year and if it is that important to me that he have on a shirt declaring it's his birthday --- then he can wear the old one!! See, silly to most - but baby steps for me! And, how about with my blog. Instead of feeling pressure to write a novel every day of the week --- how about being more realistic with just one or two posts a week.

Let me know how it's going for your! And, of course --- since I've spilled the beans on my personal life - I have ALL of you to keep me accountable.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Inheritance

In August of 2008, I attended a Beth Moore Living Proof Live conference. These are my notes from what I heard during that time. These 8 points are very important to understanding who we are in Christ. As a believer, Your Father is a King, and YES – you are an heir. Even if you are a Hillbilly one!

1) I am an heir of God – My life is not left to chance.
God works through natural events as well as the supernatural; fate has no control.
Esther 4:14, “If you keep silent at this time, liberation and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father's house will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this."

2) I am an heir of God – I am inheriting a kingdom.
We will “live” in eternity. We will “live” in a literal place – a kingdom.
Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’”

3) I am an heir of God – He is my portion and I am His.
God’s treasured possession is people. Your God considers you wealth and value beyond silver and gold. His own people are His inheritance.
Deuteronomy 4:20 “But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of His inheritance, as you now are.”

4) I am an heir of God – The down payment has been made.
God’s inheritance trumps anything else that you’ve inherited. Don’t just use your past as an excuse. You can do all things through Christ ---- You can be set free.

5) I am an heir of God – My boundary lines form a pleasing place.
Think about your life as land with boundaries. Your Faith should be the capitol city. Surrounding your faith are things like: intimacy with God, life experiences, your past and your giftings.
Ephesians 4:27 “and do not give the devil a foothold.” Where is the enemy standing on your land?

6) I am an heir of God – The will has been activated.
In order for a will to be activated, someone has to die.
Galatians 4:1- 7; Hebrews 9:15 -17

7) I am an heir of God – I can be secure.
Our security should be found in Christ --- not in the affirmation of others. If we need a “pat on the back” from someone, then we have put that person in Christ’s place.
Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

This is one of my favorite “Beth Moore” lines of all time – “If you are constantly saying, ‘Woe is me – I just live a the church.’ Well then, go home. Don’t look for martyrdom in your stress!”

8) I am an heir of God – I have a beautiful inheritance.
II Timothy 4: 7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” When you are in a “fight” or a “race” - you don’t finish with a powdered face and your lipstick on! No – you are sweaty, dirty and most likely bruised or even bleeding. But our fight is beautiful to our Lord. Isaiah 61:3 says that He will “…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oak of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of HIS splendor.” 61:7 “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance’; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.”

Are You An Heiress

How to Become an Heir of Christ

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

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, and 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."

From Hillbilly To Heiress

From Hillbilly to Heiress
"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance."

Psalms 16:5-6

For those who don't know - I went to the Beth Moore Conference in San Antonio, TX and I am over loaded with information and could write for days, but I promise - I will not!

Before leaving for my trip I was pretty bummed. My ministry partner, Leigh Gray, had nearly broken both ankles just a few days before she was to drive to my house so that we could fly out together and head to Texas. But, that's a little hard to do when both of your feet are in boots! You see -- we just knew that God was going to tell us great and mighty things about ourselves and ministry as we worshiped and prayed together during the course of the weekend. Now, she wasn't coming.

So - thankfully, I had two other ladies on our ministry teams going to the same conference. I had talked to them by phone, e-mail, heard their messages on tape, etc.... but NEVER officially met them. Also, right before leaving - I recognized a name on a list of ladies attending a special event offered during the course of the conference. Ends up - it was a Mom I know from Nashville. So long story short here (this isn't my main message for today) ---- God worked out all the details. I left Nashville not really knowing a soul and came back with a slew of new friends!!

OK - now for the main thing ---- the point is, I was determined that I was going to hear from God this weekend. I mean I wanted the Alamo Dome to part wide open and have rays of sun light shining down on me with angels singing and my face glowing like Moses in the Old Testament!

Beth's message was right on. I took pages, upon pages of notes. And I can't wait to share what I've learned with all my "peeps". It was GREAT stuff and Beth was very anointed and profound in her speaking.
But, for me - the Alamo Dome didn't open. The rays of sun didn't fall on me. And I was definitely not glowing. As a matter of fact - I was caught blocks away from the hotel when a rain storm hit and have never been so soaked in my life --- we are talking wringing your clothes out bone chilling soaked.

Nope. Instead, I heard the Lord say these words to me. "You are a Hillbilly Heiress." WHAT! Does the Lord even use the word Hillbilly in His vocabulary?! That is nuts --- I have no doubts that you are agreeing with me at this point. As strange as I thought it was - it kept coming back to me.

You see, Beth's theme was that "we" are an "Heiress of God." She had 8 points and they all started with "I am an Heir of God ........." and then another point would be stated. She laid the foundation for this on Friday night and then hit the ground running on Saturday with two sessions. Very early into the first session on Saturday, she talked about our past and how God's inheritance trumps anything else that we've inherited. This got me thinking .......

My family has no literal inheritance. I lived in a trailer park in Tennessee when I was young. I remember taking a bath in a tin tub in the front yard at my grandparents house --- they also had an out house! I remember at Russ' first Thanksgiving with my family, my relatives just busted out the instruments (including a canjo -- that is a literal can of food that has been turned into a musical instrument) and started sangin'. No,that is not a typo - they seriously talk that country. So --- they do not sing - they sang. At that time they were in a gospel "sangin' group". Russ also learned other vocabulary words he had never heard that weekend!!! I come from a line of Lilly Mae's and Clementine's. Until this weekend I was aware of all of this about my family, but never realized one thing. Yes, it is true - I am a Hillbilly.

You see - in my talking with God during the weekend (in addition to begging Him to part the skies for me to receive "my Word") --- I asked Him for a title. A title for my blog or for my book that would be cute, catchy and draw ladies in so that they could learn about Him. He was so faithful this weekend. He didn't speak to me the way I wanted Him too, but He spoke to me in the way I needed Him to. Soft and gently - very casually during the course of my day.

When I got back and was sharing everything with Leigh about the conference, she said to me, "You know, I've learned that conferences are great. But I don't need to go to a big conference to hear from God." AMEN! And I think that precious Beth Moore would agree with that. YES - God moved at her conference. AND, I'm confident that for someone there --- the Alamo Dome did part and the rays came down and the whole nine yards! But, not for me – this time. And that's OK. God desires a personal relationship where we can talk daily - just not one powerful time. And a relationship where He can be a little funny and say words like Hillbilly!!

So, ---- it looks like I'm on my way as being known as the Hillbilly Heiress from Tennessee. Sharing how God can take anyone and forgive their sins, give them worth and make them an Heir (even if they’ve used an out house and taken a bath in a tin tube in the front yard!).