Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is God Enough?

Tears are flowing. I can't catch a breath. Emotions are running ramped through the core of my soul as I begin to ask myself such a scary question, "Is God enough." I want to believe my answer will always be yes. I want to believe that no matter what happens to my marriage, my kids, my health, my family, my friends, or my church that God is enough. But there is always that little doubt that if something immeasurably awful might happen I could still believe in my heart of hearts that God was enough.

One of our favorite pastor's, Matt Chandler, recently had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor. He is one of the most unbelievable pastor's George and I have experienced in our short time in ministry and he is quite possibly facing the immeasurably awful. A 35 year old man who has done nothing but believe God, preach the gospel, and live a life full of grace and love. He has led hundreds if not thousands into eternity with God the Father and here he faces the immeasurable. My flesh wants to scream out, "it is not fair." My heart wants to plead with God, "why, why, why?" But Matt reminds me that for him, if he never gets to watch his son play football, walk his daughter down the aisle, or kiss his wife again, that God is enough. And I am humbled to my knees.

I realize that as a couple on the front lines of ministry, the enemy is always on attack. I watched it happen on Sunday. Saturday night both of my girls were vomiting violently. They were sick, sick, sick. And I knew all it was, was the enemy fighting against something that was going to be more powerful and more glorious than he could handle. Sunday was glorious. Sunday was amazing. God was powerful. And here we were being attacked to keep it from happening. I have experienced it time and time again. And if I am totally honest, as I tend to be, it scares me. I know our family will always be the target of attack. Our health, our relationships, our love for the Lord will be the big red target for the enemy.

And so I ask myself, is God enough? Will He be enough when the attack comes? Will He be enough if I lose it all? Will He be enough and all I need or want. I want to believe that I love Him enough to always say yes. But it scares me. I know the kind of love He has for me and believe that He loves me enough to use me for His glory alone. And whatever that looks like I am willing to endure because His grace is sufficient for me. It is sufficient for me in the moment, but not a minute before. And when I am in the moment He will be enough. But if I endure with Him, because He is enough, I will have nothing to fear. I believe this. I do, I really do. But I wouldn't be completely honest, or completely me, if I didn't say it scares me.

We need your prayers. We need your support as we face attacks and we face the enemy and his schemes to destroy us. Pray that God is enough. Pray that God is all we need. Pray that God will be glorified when the storms come. And then Praise Him. Praise Him that even if the world is crumbling around us, He is enough. That He is a God who is so loving, so wonderful, so merciful and so perfect, that even facing the immeasurable HE IS ENOUGH!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jesus Shouldn't Be the Most Important Thing

I have been living my life where Christ is the most important thing. Claiming to put Him first before my family, friends, wants, needs and desires, but what I am realizing is He doesn't need to be the most important thing in my life. Jesus should be the only thing in my life. Everything I do should ooze of Jesus. Should have His fragrance all over it. Should be about the love I have for the Man who loved me first, and yet, I live my life so differently.

I am in a place where I realize my relationship about Jesus is mostly about me and my effort and my time and my needs and my desires and my, my, my!! I use Him for my own benefit and gain, and then I wonder why when things fail, or I am hurt or frustrated I begin to lose sight of what matters most. What He wants from me is not a show, or perfection, or a mask, a lifetime of ministry, or even to know about Him, what He wants is for me to know Him.

It is amazing that after almost 18 years of knowing Jesus as my Savior, I still find myself boasting in how much I know about Him instead of truly knowing Him. When I go through the day I don't just listen to the Rabbi's heartbeat. I don't keep my heart inclined with the love and spirit of Jesus, if I am truly honest. I don't bring everything to Him. I try to tackle most of life without even considering listening to the Jesus I claim to love more than anything. I think because I am pastor's wife I have truly convinced myself that it all should just be innate in me. I should know the right things to say, how to pray, how to think, how to raise my kids, how to do anything that is remotely spiritual and so I pretend that I know how to. I have done such a good job of performing the art of pretending I have even convinced myself I know how. And all it does is lead to self-righteousness and self-dependency.

So here I am, once again, broken before the Lord, realizing the distractions of life and the role I play, has kept me from Jesus. From really hearing his heartbeat. I have fooled myself but have only saddened my sweet Lord. I read about a Jewish man named Mordecai who was this rambunctious lover of the world. He loved the lakes he swam in and the trees he climbed and refused to go to the synagogue to worship because he did not want to leave what he loved. Jesus came to his village and asked to be left alone with the boy. He picked Mordecai up and held him silently against his heart. Jesus said nothing. Just held him. The next day the boy began going to the synagogue before the lakes and woods he loved so much. You see Jesus became one with the world Mordecai loved all because He heard the heart of Jesus.

I love my world. I love my husband, my kids, my family, my habits (good and bad), my church, my world. And I love Jesus first. But that isn't what He wants. He wants me to understand that I am the one that Jesus loves. That even in the midst of my flesh laying against His breast is where I find myself because I am the one Jesus loves. In my authentic true person He created for His pleasure, I am the one that Jesus loves. Our hearts will begin to beat together as one when I just lay against His breast and listen to his heartbeat even in the midst of sin and selfishness and rebellion and know that I am the one that Jesus loves.

Jesus shouldn't be the most important thing, He should be the only thing. And yet I don't live this way, and until heaven, I never fully will. But even knowing that, I am learning to lay against His breast and breathe in that I am the one that Jesus loves. And slowly my world will become one with Jesus, my unbelievable, Jesus. And then and only then does Jesus become not the most important thing, but the only thing.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Caught in the Net

I keep hearing the Lord whisper in my ear, "One step at a time, Megan. Just take it one step at a time." This is in response to my frazzled mind wondering how am I going to "do better" next time when it comes to sin. There is always that one thing in your life that becomes the incessant thorn in your side that you wonder how you are going to let go of because it is such a part of you. That sin that you have dealt with for years and years ago you thought surely by 30 or 40 or 50 you wouldn't still have this "problem." You know what I am talking about. For me it is Performance and Perfection, two very nasty things I have come to despise. For you it might be gossip, pessimism, doubt, control, pride, fear...just to name a few. And whatever it is seems to be the driving force in your life.

I have come to a place of exhaustion and I ask myself why, Lord, why can't this just go away. Why do I still battle with the same things over and over again. You would think I would get it by now. And I keep hearing Him say to me, "One step at a time, Megan." But here is the clincher it has to be "one step at a time while you fix your eyes on me." Oh, you mean I have to get my eyes off myself (who I am pitying at the moment) and fix them on Jesus? I have to get my eyes off of the sin than entangles me in its nasty web. So for the moment I start to fix my eyes on Jesus. Whispering His name over and over again and peace is there for a moment. And then, I hear that nagging voice in my head that says, "What about next week when you are in this situation? Or what about when you encounter this person? Or what if you wake up one day and find that this has happened?" You can fill in the blanks for yourself because we all do it. And I start to panic, taking my eyes off the prize and back onto self, sin and the web I am caught in.

And a few days ago I am reading God's word and it's like He shouts at me through the pages. Psalm 25:15 says "My eyes are CONTINUALLY toward the Lord, For He will pluck my feet out of the net." I sit. I breath. I listen and let God speak. I envision myself caught in this net like a bird. Fingers, toes, head, legs, arms all twisted and caught in this web that is keeping me from freedom. Freedom to be me. Freedom to be complete. Freedom to be used for God's glory. I am so sad. Sad because I am so caught up in this net. I long to be plucked. And the Lord shows me something gently and kindly. He slowly unravels one finger as our eyes meet and I see such compassion and grace and mercy in His sweet face. Then He unravels another and another and another. Then He moves to my toes when I begin to realize He is just at my toes and I have a whole body to unravel!! Panic sets in and I start to squirm. Reaching to help Him, He who needs no help, I am desperately seeking to quickly unravel my toes when my eyes turned away from Jesus and back onto my self. And in that process I have managed to get my fingers, the very same fingers that God himself untangled, right back in the net, caught up and twisted and entangled once again.

This seems to be the theme for so many of us that live life in the net. We long to be plucked out of it and yet we are working and weaving so hard to get ourselves out of it we panic only to find ourselves right back where we started, and sometimes, even more tangled than before. So I have a new goal. My goal is different this time. Instead of setting actual, tangible self-improvements I will just focus on Jesus. I will be aware of the risen Christ even while in the web. I will improve what it means to have the discipline of awareness of the present risenness of Jesus. I will know that if I just keep my eyes on Him, He will slowly, but surely untangle me. Then He will pluck me from the web that keeps me from being all that God desires.

God promises to pluck me out of the net if my eyes are on Him. All the while He is doing it "one step at a time." Thank you Lord that you want to do the unravelling yourself. All you ask of me is to look into your eyes CONTINUALLY. Keep me from myself, Lord. And keep my eyes on yours; eyes full of love, grace, mercy and peace. Teach me this Lord. Please teach me this.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Suburbia is Killing Me

I can't believe it has really been 6 weeks since I allowed the time to indulge myself in some mind-clearing, gut wrenching blogging. Summer is crazy in the Wright house as I am sure it is in most homes. Vacations, pools, playgrounds, friends, barbecues and sunscreen eat up most of our time in the months of June and July. Running around trying to cram it all in before the days start to get shorter and the weather begins to get cooler. Just trying to do the all-American thing that most families do during summer vacation. I get caught up in the busyness of it all. Packing for two weeks at the beach for five people seems utterly overwhelming and exhausting at the moment. Picking out the right out-fits for all of us to wear for great beach pics! Applying sunscreen, then re-applying sunscreen. Making sure lunches are packed and ready to be toted to the pool. Everything seems so.....so.....Suburbia.

I mean, really, does it really matter that all of us wear coordinating colors for beach pictures? Or that everyone has a different outfit to wear each day on vacation. The things I work myself up over are, needless to say, RIDICULOUS! And then, my sweet, godly, righteous husband says it all to me during a Sunday afternoon stroll, "I think Suburbia is killing us. It is the worst thing for our walk with the Lord and the kids." What! I mean how can Suburbia be bad for our family? We live in a great neighborhood with lots of families and kids and fun and....and....and....he is right. It is killing us.

I am justifying desperately seeking the complacent life because I really like Suburbia. I freely admit I like the comfort of it all. The friendly neighbors, the good schools, and even, dare I say it, "keeping up with the Jones." Not like we can even begin to keep up, but at least the "Jones" keep me informed of what ever is the popular at the moment. And as I begin to pray about it, I am completely convicted that it really taints what it means to be a follower of Christ. Please hear me when I say, there is nothing wrong with Suburbia, but it keeps us all so comfortable. We like the comfort. We begin to forget what it is like to step out on faith and rely on the Lord for everything. We get comfortable in our homes, our circumstances, our faith. We compare ourselves to the "Jones" next door and at least we are going to church and have a relationship with the Lord. We become so comfortable in our lives in Suburbia we forget to deny it all for the sake of the cross.

So now our goal has become familiarity and contentment. I find myself teaching my children the things that are really unimportant. Oh, Lord forgive me for loving Suburbia. I want to be willing to keep my faith fresh and real and I want my children to desire that instead of good schools and constant entertainment. I really do want them to know that He is all we need. But I do such a poor job at it. I want them to have the "best" just like everyone else. And yet all it is teaching them is the opposite of Jesus. Focused on self and the things of this world. Material things don't matter, education doesn't matter, pretty houses and cars don't matter, and heaven help me, cute children's clothes don't matter.

So my prayer has become "Lord, please don't let Suburbia kill us, the Wright family of five." Don't let it kill the passion we have to save those who don't know Jesus. Don't let it kill the the desire to be content in ALL circumstances. Don't let it kill my understanding of what is important. Don't let it kill this house who chooses to serve the Lord our God. And please don't let it kill the hearts of our church.

I have so far to go...but acknowledgment is the first step to healing from this sneaky illness called Suburbia.

Until next time,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have a little Compassion

I have been hurt. Hurt by words and speculations of people who don't really know me. They only see the person I am from afar on any given Sunday or the person at the pool trying to survive the summer with 3 small children. I hear comments and remarks made about me that hurt to the core. In fact, they hurt to the point I feel as if my heart is bleeding. I have learned through the power of the Lord to be resilient and pull myself up again and move on, but then someone reminds me of the hurtful words and assumptions again and I am right back where I started. I understand I break the mold. I am not your average pastor's wife nor am I your typical mother of three. I am who I am. A girl just trying to be the women God loves. And yet, I realize how painful people's judgements and assumptions can be. They are only assuming things from what they see at a distance and on the surface. Any mistakes that I make are magnified by life in the fish bowl. And I often wonder, when I will be able to come up and take a breath.

I am realizing how little compassion we have as people. And the unfortunate thing is, most of the people with judgement are the people who say they know Jesus. The very people who have received the greatest, largest capacity of compassion that has ever been displayed and yet they tend to be the ones who throw the stones. I am so grateful that my Jesus doesn't throw stones. In fact He is always there ready to pick me up when I fall, not one to push me back down when I try to get up. He has compassion. He loves me in spite of my mistakes and sin and He will keep loving me through both. So why do we do it? Why are we such judgemental, hurtful people who forget who had compassion on us? Why can't we love like Jesus loves? Why doesn't our hearts extend the grace and compassion that our Jesus does?

Sometimes I wonder if the assumption is, once you've become a Christian you should have it all together...or at least act like we do. Then we begin the performance cycle that just takes us down a path that leads us to self-righteousness and we become our own god. We look down on others who call themselves Christians who have "messed up." We are so disappointed in their foolish decisions and in turn we end up making ourselves feel better because we seem to have it all together. And then we start living a life Jesusless. I think the entire reason people fall away from the Lord is simply because we as believers do such a poor job of loving and showing people who Jesus really is; A God who loves us in the pit, through the pit, and out of the pit.

I want to have compassion. I am tired of the assumptions and the accusations that tear people apart. I want to love like Jesus. I want to extend the grace like He did. I realize I am nothing but a ragamuffin fully pleasing to God in spite of my flaws. And yet their are expectations we place on people and are so disappointed when they fail us. We are quick to judge and slow to extend grace. I will always fail you. I am human and full of flesh. But I do love the Lord. I am trying by His grace and power to be the obedient women He needs me to be. Isn't that all He asks of me? So why are we so quick to ask perfection? I am just as guilty, considering my LARGEST FLAW is the battle with perfection.

So just have some compassion, you who call yourselves believers. The kind of compassion that extends the hand to the mom in the grocery store who has lost her cool because her kids are running circles around her instead of snarling at her because she raised her voice! The kind of compassion that loves the addict through yet another painful fall off the wagon instead of wondering when are they ever going to "get it." The kind of compassion that judges not from the outside but gives a person the chance to show you their heart instead of making assumptions about who they are based on appearance.

Jesus says "And so, as those who have been chosen of God, Holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you." Ah, if we would only do what Jesus asks of us then no one would deny the love of our Savior. No one!!

Until next time,

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stony Soul, Thorny Flesh

I have this person in my life (a godly woman, at that) who is always commenting on women who have had multiple children at once, or like myself, has had many children in a short time frame. Her comments are of sympathy, yet they tend to take the "what a crazy woman" and "her life will never be the same" tone. For some odd reason, it has driven me bonkers to hear her say it. It is not encouraging statements to a girl who had 3 children in 3 1/2 years! And its the fact that this person seems to think their lives are only going to get worse. How sad I often think. Even she, who should know Christ enough to know better, is still missing IT. But wait...don't I miss IT too?!. And how so often I am just like this person, which is why I think God allowed it to erk me so badly. I am a die-hard, love the Lord with all I have kinda gal, and I find myself judging others situations and thinking to myself, "man, their life will never be the same." In that same tone I have heard from this particular person...and I start to examine myself. We get so hung up on logistics, facts, finances, and demands that we take things that are meant to be blessings and we make them into thorns. We forget that the Lord is Sovereign and He is ultimately in control.

When things don't go as we like, we immediately indulge in feelings of anger, resentment and frustration over the circumstances and we miss the point. God wants us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand. He wants us to believe that His ways are better than ours. But we get caught up in our world around us and we turn our eyes away from Jesus. They keep staring at the "problem" and we forget that God has a purpose for all of it. It is so hard to see what the Lord is doing through these "thorns" when all of our focus is on the pain and hardship. Some thorns are constant...like the child who just won't obey (I have a couple of those!) and some are for a season...like an illness or a financial hardship. But I really believe God gives us these thorns to make us who He wants us to be. Trust me, I was not planning on having 3 children so quickly, but I have already seen God grow me through the demands of having 3 so close together.

Someone once told me that the removal of small stones which encumber fields does not always increase the crop. In fact they are an advantage because they attract moisture and radiate heat. Their was once an experiment where they removed all of the stones to improve the soil and they ultimately had to bring the stones back because the soil began to function so poorly. How often do we cry out to God and ask Him to remove the stones in our life. The thorns that hurt and cause us to be weak and tired. Sometimes, they even cause us to sin, to stumble and fall. But if we turn our eyes to Christ we see that sometimes it is better that they remain. So God can use them to make us into a richer, deeper, more nutrient soil.

Is it easy? No. But I would love to know where it says in the bible that life as a Christian would be easy, comfortable and safe. It sure sounds appealing, but the beauty of who God is tells us that we could not be the fruit-bearing people He wants us to be without hardships and pruning. And isn't that our ultimate goal, anyways? The goal is the journey to becoming more like Jesus. So I will bear my thorns with the strength that God gives me and I will remember that it is to become more like Jesus that matters. Although my eyes may wonder at times to the problem or overwhelming circumstance I will eventually remember that to Him be the glory for He knows that this is what I need to be WHO He needs me to be. And I will fix my eyes on Him when I find myself thinking, "Their life will never be the same," and my tone will sound different this time. One that reflects joy and hope and not discouragement or despair.

So to the Christians who see the circumstances instead of Jesus let us remember
2 Corinthians 12:10 "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults (I get lots of these as a pastor's wife who breaks the mold), persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Remind me of this when I am hurting, groaning with such pain it feels as if the Lord has turned His back on me. Remind me when one of my children is lost. Remind me of this when our finances remain so tight it feels as if we can't quite make it. Remind me of this when my eyes turn away from the Lord and to self. Remind me of this when I think the goal is comfort, ease and safety. Remind me of this when I see that person with difficult circumstances and think "man, their life will never be the same." Remind me that the stony soul and thorny flesh are what make me more like Jesus, and that my friend is my goal.

Until next time,


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Check it off the List

I love check lists. There is something about being able to cross off items, tasks, errands, or purchases off a list of things to do. It must be that performance based background I come from where there is a sense of accomplishment to cross off the bullets on a piece of paper. And I feel really good when I get it all done. You know the feeling, like you have conquered and completed something. I almost find myself giddy when I am on my way to the store with a list full of things to get knowing the list will be full of lines over words when I am finished. But my problem is not the list itself, it is when the list doesn't have any lines on it.

I got up on this rainy morning ready to start crossing things off my list. I have things to do and what a perfect day to do it. McKenna and Brody are at school for a couple of hours and I can't go for my usual Wednesday run with Anna Beth because of the rain, so I will get my errands done, right? Then I start thinking about the other list I need to write out BEFORE I can even leave the house. Example: Marinate the Pork Tenderloin, Unload the Dishwasher, Give Anna Beth a much needed bath, A short but "deep" quiet time, Make our lunch so we don't starve while running errands, and I guess bathing and dressing myself would be a good idea, too! Then I am frustrated at my TO DO LIST before my TO DO LIST.

And all the while God is tugging at me saying, "I am right here waiting for you. It is rainy and yucky and a good cup of coffee and your Bible will do far more for you then crossing those things off your list." But my flesh and performance gear kick in and I ignore the Holy Spirit. In fact I argue with him,"But I can't do this any other day of this week. When am I going to have the time to get all of these things done with 3 kids tagging along." So I sit down to check the quiet time part off my list and Anna Beth crawls over to me (walking is so far off my 14 month olds radar it is comical) and she wants to sit with me. Sit with me, be with me, and let me hold her.

In a way I think my 14 month old gets it far easier than I do. All she knows and understands is that I am love to her and for her. Every need is met by just being with Mommy. She is simply content and fulfilled by just being with me. In fact most of my joy comes from watching her just be her while she sits in my lap or crawls around at my feet. You see I could care less if she walks before she is 2 because then I know through my own flesh she will begin the cycle of performance and independence we all fall succumb too.

So Jesus begins to whisper in my ear "The more you work to cross those things off your list, the more things that will show up on your list. The harder you try, the more frustrated you will become." Which is exactly what happened this morning. I had a list, which produced another list, which I realized would only cause frustration and anxiety to try to "get it all done." So I sat in the Lord's lap for a minute that turned into five which turned into and hour and realized God's joy, just like my joy comes from watching me BE. Just sitting in His lap and crawling around His feet fills his heart with joy. And there is where all of my needs are met. At the feet and in the lap of the Lord. My lists only bring temporary satisfaction, never-ending frustration and failure.

So today I will just Be. I am going to listen to what the Lord is telling me. If I hadn't been obedient to the pull of the Holy Spirit I would never have seen His love for me through my precious child. I would have spent the morning crossing things off my list. Things that are temporal and not eternal. Things that would have made me even more frustrated about life. Why can't we all just BE? Something my mother would tell you I have never been good at in my whole life. So I will learn from my sweet baby what I didn't learn on my own...

2 Corinthians 4: 18 "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

Until next time,


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dirty, Filthy Mind

First off, let me just say to even write this I have gone against everything I preach and put the oldest two kids in front of a movie and the baby in her crib (she has only been awake for an hour) because I need to fill my soul a minute with the yearning God has given me to write. I am realizing as a blog....occasionally...I do this for myself and for my relationship with God. Not that He doesn't already know the writing on the wall of my heart, but I sure feel better to express it out loud in a manner that pleases me and I hope is encouraging somebody. So never, ever let me even pretend I don't have "sanity" moments where I put the kids in places I know are "against the rules" just to indulge in self, even for just a moment.

We went to a birthday party on Saturday...all four of us. George was studying as usual for the unbelievable sermon he was preaching on Sunday, NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED!, so I had the honor of attending this party with all of the kids. When we got there, the birthday girl was vomiting frequently. Her mom, a dear friend of mine, was convinced she was just excited about her party, but as time progressed she was laying on the floor instead of playing with the other children. Two days later she and her brother were in the ER for dehydration...and to cap it all off Brody had decided to pick HER cup to drink out of at the party.

OK. any mom who has taken care of more than one sick child at a time can tell you the dread I felt when I saw my son joyfully drinking Jillian's juice. See, I have only been "supermom" twice in my life. And both of those times were when the kids were throwing up and I was too! And George just happened to be out of town both times. It was all on me, only me to nurse these precious children as well as myself back to health. Let me just say, ain't nobody comin', not even your dearest friend, when you mention even the slightest possibility of vomit. Therefore I do not recommend this to anyone. And now that I have done it...twice...and once pregnant, I DO NOT want to ever be "supermom" again. So you can only imagine the panic and fear that set in as Brody was drinking from her cup...and guess what...George is leaving tomorrow for L.A...of course!

So here starts the downward spiral. I know what this can turn out to be and it is BAD. So I begin to panic. I am angry, frustrated, convinced we are all going to be lying in a pool of vomit any minute (there is still a strong chance of that, since Brody began throwing up last night) and I start the anxiety attacks. I think I even convince the children they ARE sick just by the number of times I ask them "Does your tummy hurt?" They finally figure out they might get some extra attention and just say yes to humor themselves. So here I am in a full on panic attack waking every hour in the night at every peep waiting to hear "mommy, I need you" because the violent illness has set in, when surprisingly, I hear nothing. It was peaceful, even though sweet Brody tossed his cookies before bed last night.

Then, I open my bible this morning and begin to read Romans 8:6 "For the mind set on self is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." It was God saying to me, "Let me control your mind." The mind is a restless place, especially that of a mom of three small children. I have learned the "right" things to say on most occasions, but my mind is constantly rebelling against the peace that Christ offers through setting it on Him. I am so bad about letting my mind wander into ungodly things. And because nobody else can see it, it becomes my little secret. Especially when you can convince everyone you have total trust in the Lord by what comes out of your mouth. I love to say, "but God is good," and if I were really gut wrenching honest about my thoughts, I find myself doubting it by letting the brain-train take me down a road of "what ifs" which always leads to destruction, not to mention absolute ridiculousness!

So through this small episode of panic, George would say it was rather a large episode, I have learned how dirty and filthy my mind really is. I let it imagine, ponder, wonder the things that are of this world...fear, worry, envy, greed, jealousy and lust just to name a few. And yet nobody would know because after all "God is good." So it is a choice I am having to make. Do I set my thoughts on things that are pleasing to the Lord? On His promises and His word? Or do I let myself live in a state of panic and fear on a regular basis? It will be daily battle for me, as most of the thorns in my side are, but I so desperately want to have life and peace instead of destruction. So I am claiming Romans 8:6 and believing that if I set my mind, not my tongue, on things above I will have peace.

So I am saying "God is good," but I am also thinking it, meditating on it and believing it as well...at least one day at a time.

Until next time,


Thursday, March 26, 2009

I love to be thirsty!

Over a month and no blogging. I have been in the desert. Well, let me rephrase that. I was in the desert for a LONG TIME and for a month I have been drinking the cool waters from the Lords everlasting spring because I was so thirsty from being in the desert. Lapping up the Holy Spirit like it was going to run away and hide. I didn't even know I was in the desert. The craziness of life had thrown me in their a LONG time ago...like maybe 2 kids ago?? And yet I didn't even know it until the storm hit about a month ago and I found myself on my knees unable to pick my face off the ground due to a collaboration of events...and yet there I was, face down, broken, beaten and lonely when I discovered the most beautiful thing...It is in the desert that the Lord reveals himself in ways we can't see while on the mountain top. Let me explain...

We took the kids to Disney World for the first time. It was amazing. The moment they walked in and saw Cinderella's castle the indescribable joy on their faces could never be replaced. We did it all. We had one day and one day only. We rode all the rides, talked to all the characters, took in as many cheesy shows you could handle in a 12 hour period, and even stayed for the light parade and the fireworks. Our kids were sooo good. I mean knee-slapping, ear-to-ear grinning...a mother couldn't be more proud good. My oldest, McKenna, constantly said yes-ma'am this and no ma'am that...without even a hint of prompting. My son took a two hour nap in his stroller...not a question asked. Who were these children who invaded the bodies of the ones a remembered birthing? Then it hit me...they are getting everything they want at every turn. This was their heaven. They had the world at their finger tips and they were "happy" with their parents. So does this mean that we should always give them what they want and life would be so much easier....Absolutely not!! See my kids were on the mountain top and they thought life SHOULD and COULD be like this.

Aren't we, even as mature adults, like this when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. When everything is going good we LUV the Lord, don't we? Husband is making money, kids are behaving, marriage is exciting and fun, house looks good, we look good, and we just LUV Jesus...until He says NO! Then we frown and wonder what we did to deserve that cause everything seems to be going just fine. "That's not fair," we cry. We have already been through the desert and now that we have experienced the mountain shouldn't we get to stay there?? We find ourselves slowly backing away from the Lord cause we don't like what we are experiencing or secretly get angry (wouldn't want to ever tell anyone we were upset with God due to our circumstances cause that might hurt our "Christain" image) and so we stop going to church or stop spending time with the Lord because He just wasn't the genie in a bottle we thought He would be.

Then, if you have ever truly been in the desert, and allowed the Lord to speak to you there, you realize just how LOUD and TRUE He is when you get there. See when we come home from Disney world life is a shock. Kids still have to be told NO! They don't get what they want, they get what they need. And that makes them mad, mean and frustrated. And they fight hard for what they want instead of letting us, their parents, give them what they need. Which is love, discipline, boundaries, and correction. Sometimes, dare I say, God even places us in the desert! But because we have been so mad, mean and frustrated we can't hear Him. And let me just say it is much better to go to the desert willingly, knowing God has some life-altering things to teach you, because He loves you more than you could ever imagine, than to go their fighting...cause it looks pretty ugly when we go fighting.

So I love being thirsty. I love knowing I am empty without the Lord. I know that being in the desert is the most beautiful picture of grace and love one could ever experience. Face down, eating dirt, embarrassed and hurt is where I feel the strong loving arms and sweet, sweet voice of my Savior reach out and rescue me. He shows me how much He loves me and all it does is make me want to stay right there in that moment. No matter what the circumstances around me look like, in that moment is where I want to be. So that is where I have been. In that moment, just basking in the fragrance and love of my King. Oh, and I guess I went to Disney World, too! And now, now it is over. I am sad and yet I am grateful for the time I spent there. Who knows, maybe I will end up there again soon. I pray that I will live broken. And in that brokenness, cling to the soft voice of Jesus, instead of the LOUD EMPTY voice of the world that tells me it is better to have it all...because in the small, still voice that lives in the desert is riches far beyond what this world has to offer.

Until next time,

Friday, February 20, 2009

Serving an Audience of One

God is moving in me! He is stirring up things, shaking me to the core of who I am as a Christian. He is reminding me of why He has given George and I this vision of the local church. He has met me with his Holy Spirit in such a manner these past few days all I have felt is His holy Hand upon me. All I can smell is the fragrance of my King. All I can feel is the undeniable love my Savior has for me. And I am reminded that all I am called to do is share it with those around me.

I lose sight of what God has called us, meaning believers, to do. I get consumed with the thoughts and opinions of those around me wondering if their perspective of me is good, bad or indifferent. I get bogged down with the minor things...the daily grind of being a mom and a pastor's wife. I get tired. But God is reminding me that it is a HOLY privilege to serve Him. My husband has been anointed by Jesus Christ and we are called to share Him with the world. We are privileged to go into the world and be used by the Lord through our gifts to lead people to Him. He is gently, lovingly showing me that it is NOT the perspective of the church that matters to me, it is God's perspective of me. It is like this new found freedom I have found in this basic lesson in Christianity.

We tell people all the time we are free in Christ. But then we as Christians, find ourselves being enslaved to others opinions, especially to those who ARE Christians. We let those opinions get in the way of who we are serving. See we forget that the only audience we serve is ONE. Not our church, our family, our friends, our ministry, our kids, but ONE God and ONE King. That is so freeing to me. And the one thing God, the only one I serve, has asked us to do is share His love and sacrifice to those who do not know him. That is what makes the heavens shake. Nothing else matters. Do we get this believers? Do we really get this when we find ourselves complaining about how the church isn't doing this, or isn't doing that? Are people coming to know God? I mean people who didn't know Him before. Because my concern isn't for the healed it is for the sick. And if you are truly healed then your concern should be about the sick as well...not about yourself! OUCH!

What are we doing to bring those around us to know Christ? Are we reaching out to the people who are hurting or are we spending our time trying to fix something that isn't broken in the first place? I want to go where other people won't go. I want to have the church that people feel welcomed in and loved because God shows up there. Not where people are concerned about themselves and what is in this for them. I want Jesus. I want to see lives changed. I want to stop doing church for the church people and start doing it for the one's who are lost. Bet I stepped on some toes there! I want to serve an audience of ONE. I want God to transform the heart's of the people in our church to want these things too. I want there to be a movement in Dallas/Acworth Georgia that people can't resist because Christians are acting like Christians. They are caring about others instead of themselves. Where the local church is a safe place for those who aren't welcomed anywhere else.

All I want is Jesus! What if... just what if that is ALL we, who call ourselves Christians, wanted too? Then maybe those who didn't know Christ would actually know Him if we stopped letting ourselves get in the way of Jesus.

Lord shove me aside and make it about You, only You, and then let me tell the world!!

Until next time,

Monday, February 9, 2009

Naked and Unashamed

After years of counseling, I have discovered my biggest struggle....CONTROL. Which inevitably rears its ugly head into the form of perfectionism. We moms don't view this as a bad thing, in fact we feed the monster. Constantly comparing ourselves to the other, praising each other when our houses are immaculate, kids are always cute and bows in tact, food is perfectly prepared....and then we get tired. And we realize a ball is going to have to drop or else we will! So I listen to the advise, once again from that older wiser mom, to let the cobwebs go. Don't worry if the bed isn't made or I am not dressed and showered until 5 pm on most days. So I swallow my pride and let it go. And then comes the ugly monster again...CONTROL.

See, this is all an illusion. The cobwebs, the unmade beds, the cereal bowls in the sink, its all an illusion. I am only trying to convince myself and others around me I DO NOT struggle with control anymore. Then why am I always frustrated? Angry? Bitter? Because I can't function in chaos. I can't function until things look perfect, or pretty close to it. So instead of being exhausted from perfectionism I am frustrated from lack of control. Frustrated I can't manage to make the house sparkle 24/7. Frustrated I can't seem to leave the house without leaving pajamas on the floor from the night before. Frustrated I can't get ANYWHERE on time. Frustrated because I am afraid. Afraid of what? Of FAILURE! It all boils down to fear for me. Fear of Failure. Failure to be a good mom, a good wife, a good homemaker, a good minister, a good daughter, a good friend. The list goes on. I live most of my days frustrated with the world around me because it doesn't fit into my box.

And then I realize, with the help of my counselor (man, I love counselors) I am letting my fear of failure dictate how I feel about myself. It controls me! It prevents me from inviting a friend over because I am too afraid of what they might thing if the house looks the way it does. And if I try to take the "high road" and invite them anyway (convincing myself I have over come this monster of control) I remain frustrated with the situation and finding myself apologizing for the mess. Who has three kids under 4 and lives in perfect peace and serenity anyways?? So I live frustrated all of the time. Frustrated with myself, my kids, my husband because they are the reason I can't make it all look perfect. Or at least good.

And then I read God's word. In Genesis 32:24-32 Jacob wrestles with an angel...and loses. He is wounded and hurt. Which is where most of our failures leave us. Wounded and hurt. Ashamed that we can't live up to our own expectations of ourselves or of the expectations of those around us. Then, the most beautiful thing happens. The angel blesses Jacob. And we aren't talking about just any blessing. He names him Israel, which means Gods chosen people. Um hello. Jacob failed and God blessed him...majorly!! So am fearing what? Yes, the instant wound or hurt or scar, but I am preventing the lasting blessing that comes through failure. God wants us to fail. It shows us we are in need of a Savior. We can't do this thing called life on our own. But I mask it with the facade of control. In fact I am so in control, I masked the issue of control it self by trying to look as if I didn't need to be (hence the dirty dishes in my sink this very moment), only secretely leaving me void and frustrated.

So when I fail, and I will say when because it will happen daily, I will know there is a blessing from the Lord right behind it. It might show up in the form of grace, comfort, love, endurance, peace, whatever it is God wants to use to make me more like Jesus in the process. So I am going to let my fear go, one step at a time. I will not miss out on God's blessing because I am frustrated and disappointed in myself and those around me. I will not miss out! Hold me to this, I love the Lord and the people around me too much to live like this. I am breaking this cycle of sin that has passed itself down from generation to generation in my family. May I drop naked and unashamed into the hands of Christ full of admitted failure so he might bless me and in turn bless those around me.

God is beautiful, free, unashamed, and ready for me to run to him imperfections and all.

Until next time,


Monday, February 2, 2009

When I grow up, I don't want to be a Mommy!

I asked McKenna, my oldest and by far my most challenging child thus far, (could be because she is myself in toddler form!) "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Her response was something deafening to any mothers ears, "Well, I don't want to be a mommy." "Why not," I asked her. Her cool, calm response was, "Because I don't want to be like, you."

Stab, punch, jab, hurl right through the heart. My eyes welled up with tears, but I quickly put my pride back together and like any "good" mother responded, "Fine, well then don't be a mommy when you grow up. See if I care." Lie, lie, lie!! Not to mention I became 4 again as I responded to her with such elementary emphasis. My four year old has once again managed to bring me to my knees with piercing words that cut right through my core.

I am driving home after dropping her off at preschool rehashing the conversation over and over in my head and I am deeply hurt by the words of my four year old little girl. My baby. The pride and joy of my life. The same kind of hurt that makes you pause and do a soul search. What is wrong with me? Am I really that bad? What do I need to change? When I remember what God's Word says about the tongue. James 3: 5-6 "So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the VERY word of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell." You better believe my whole body was on fire... and it was my four year old who sent it a blazin'!

Words are so incredibly powerful. As women we use thousands of words a day. Not to mention thousands more words then men in just ONE day, which is probably why we set so many more fires than they do. We talk bad about it each other. We just can't help ourselves. And half of the time it is about those we love the most. We poke, prod, jab with a little dose of sugar, after all we do live in the sweet south, and feel like we aren't hurtin'any feelings if we end it with "bless their hearts." But bottom line, WORDS can HURT no matter what you season them with. Words have made me who I am. The good and the bad. The spoken words of those I love and the Word of God have molded me into the woman I am today.

So I am on a mission. If my four year old can hurt me like this, then I know I can do some serious damage, too! I want to heal with words, not hurt with them. I want to encourage people. I want to love with my lips. Isn't it the most amazing feeling when someone tells you how incredible you are. How much they love you. Isn't it soul feeding to hear scripture being prayed over you through the lips of a loved one. Almost like it's pouring down your throat like warm hot chocolate on a cold rainy day. It makes us feel cozy, comfortable in how God made us and accepted. This is why the Lord tells us "Encourage one another, and build each other up, don't tear each other down."

Think of how the non-believing person would gravitate to us if we really did this for each other. It would be revolutionary if we actually started building towers of encouragement for one another instead of setting them on fire. And it starts at home. It starts with the ones we love the most. Even if they are four, feisty and ready for battle guns a blazin.' So from here on out I am going to try my hardest to love with my tongue. God help me when I revert to four again. I just can't seem to help myself!

Until next time,

Saturday, January 31, 2009

This crazy thing we call life

As I am writing in my prayer journal God revealed to me how much easier, and quicker it would be to type my thoughts, prayers and life lessons out before Him on the computer. And maybe some lonely mother would benefit along the way as I hash out my mistakes and blessings I am learning from every day.

Motherhood is the loneliest place in the WORLD!! Yes I am at home with 3 children every single day of the week, all day, everyday, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I am lonely. Lonely because I am needed by someone or something at all hours never having the chance to stop and if I do my weary body falls fast asleep. So I am lonely. I crave time with the Lord and yet it continues to be interrupted by my four year old who wants to change clothes for the third time this morning. Or by my 11 month old who can't crawl, walk or even sit up on her own and needs to be moved yet again from boredom. Or it could be by my two year old son who wants his night night and needs to watch "TB." Too bad we only allow 30 min. of "TB" a day. Could be much easier if that wasn't a rule in our house. But I am sacrificing for the benefit of my children...right?? Isn't that what we all say. We are sacrificing for our children. We sacrifice workouts and date nights and sleep and lazy parenting (you know the kind of parenting where the kids can do whatever they want as long as the parents aren't inconvenienced in any way.) We alter the music and tv and movies we watch because we know our children's innocent eyes should not be watching . And yet I realize this is not at all a sacrifice...this is a blessing.

Oh those dreadful words I have heard from older, wiser moms all around me. I say dreadful because everytime I hear an older, wiser mom say "enjoy this time, it will be gone soon!" I want to throw my incredibly persistent demanding four year old at them and say "here, enjoy this!!" But what God is revealing to me on this journey of life is the obvious blessings of 3 beautiful healthy children can be tainted by whines, cries, poopie diapers, potty training and disobedience but the blessing is the refining God is doing to me and in me while I attempt to mother these amazing children. I can see my sin, my disobedience, my whines and my persistent selfishness in my children. How is this a blessing?? Because on this journey I am to become more like Jesus. And to become more like Jesus I have to see the sin in my life and God shows me this through my children who are becoming just like me. SCARY!!

So here I am, on my journey to become more like the man I call Lord being corrected and refined by my 4, 2 and 11 month old. Not to mention by the godly incedibly good looking husband I have as well. He doesn't have poopy diapers though!!

So I call it a blessing to be lonely. I call it a blessing to be frustrated ALL the time. I call it a blessing to be sleep deprived. I call it a blessing to mother and provide for this family. I call it CRAZY to call it a blessing. But that is the beauty of Christ. This crazy thing we call life and the mistakes we make daily He will use to grow us into people of love, people of perseverence, people of grace, people of holiness, people of Jesus.

Romans 5:3-5 "And not only in this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perserverence, and perserverance, proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not dissappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Until next time,