Thursday, January 21, 2016

Audaciously digging out of the trenches

It's been two months since I've written a post and even the last one was a struggle.  I've got a lot to say now so just bare with me.  It may be a long one and it may not even be tactful.  So here goes....
Life can sometimes just down right suck.   There I said it.  Yes I am a preachers wife & you just read that right.  If you are offended, well then, move on. 
Is my life that bad?  NO!  No it's not.  However, 2015 was a flippin roller coaster.  It was full of mountain tops & valleys.  It seems once the cart reached the top it crashed at the bottom in a nano second.  There may be some exaggeration in that but not much.
January started out like any other January.  There was a bridal show.  There was cold weather.  February came with some snow and that led us to March where I found a bedroom "redo" and an 18th birthday.   Oh, not to mention a "small" procedure which took someone a good week to recover and then a few weeks after that.   I believe March also brought on time to get going on the fixer upper for the oldest and his bride because a date is now set.  April came and brought a 25th anniversary.  (yay us!)  May blew in bringing one to graduate high school.  Then there was June... June brought about 6 weeks away from church.  A sabbatical if you will.  Along with some bridal showers & another birthday. 21 to be exact.  July came & we were back at church.  August was here before I turned around twice and the oldest moved out & married.  That brought us to September, October, November & December.  Change. Change. Change & Change.  None of which I am good with. 

I let so much steal my joy. My voice.  My attitude.  My gratitude.  I was glad to see 2015 move on.
So here we are.  

I've been reading "Audacious" by Beth Moore.  Let me tell you it is a game changer.  
I knew in December it was time to get over everything & get back to where I needed to be.  To dig out of the trench & move on.  
So here I am.  Moving on.  Now you may be rolling your eyes at this.  You may not even care to read another post.  And that is fine.  But here's the deal.  God has given me a voice.  And it is time I use it.
I encourage you to get this book & read it.  
But let me just share a little bit from it.  Do you remember the time that Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him?  He asked him three times.  Each time Peter said yes.  Jesus knew Peter's heart just like the Father knows ours.   So if He were to ask you right now if you love Him what would your answer be?  Well of course it would be yes.  But do you REALLY???  Because if you dig deep enough in the scripture, to love Him, really love Him, takes on more than what I've been doing.  More than what I've been saying.  
It's time we as so called Christians get off of our high horse & examine ourselves.  This world is so messed up.  And we are letting everyone else speak for us.  Do you understand that a man died for you in order for you to spend eternity with Him?  What are we doing to advance His kingdom?  What are we doing that brings glory to Him?  What am I DOING?  I haven't been doing enough that's for sure. 
So starting now I have to do better.  So do you.  What do you want folks to say about you when you are gone from this world?  What kind of mark will you leave?  I've decided I want folks to know without a doubt that I loved Jesus more than anything.  No one ever had to ask me.  They knew it.  
Here's an example and it may be too much for some but it really happened.  
If you are a woman my age you know that when you hit 40 things change.  I'm smack dab in the middle of this.  Well the time came for me to get a new bra.  No lie.  I've never been a healthy girl in that area and I never complained about it.  But as I said, things change.  I headed out one day to get a new garment.  Walked in the store and told the girl I needed to be fitted because what I had wasn't working any more.  She looked at me & I quote, "You comin' outta that one."  What???? How did she know this?  I still had on ALL my clothes!  But she was right.  Just goes to show she knows her job well.  I walked away from that store thinking to myself, "if she could tell that, then what else could she tell?"  Did she know I'm a Christian?  Did she know that I love Jesus?  And I was so wrapped up & blown away by it all that I didn't even give a second thought to whether she was or not.  I know that's all a bit too much, but do you see where I'm going?  What do people see in me?  If I'm not audacious, if I'm not bold then how will they ever know? They won't!  
Now, if this has bothered you, well like I said, move on.  I welcome you here anytime there's a post and I hope there's a lot more of them.  
Isaiah 43:18-19 has rolled around in my head quite a bit since January 1.  "Forget the former things: do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!" I have no idea what "new thing" God is going to do in me, for me, with me/us in 2016 but I sure am excited about it.  And I sure hope and pray that I can be the audacious woman that He wants me to be. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

A rant & a prayer ....a must read

The past several weeks I've just gotten down right irritated when I scroll through my news feed on Facebook.  There's very few positives there.  What has happened?  I know I don't have to scroll Facebook & I don't that much anymore for that simple reason.  I very rarely watch the news anymore either.  I can't remember the last time I heard anything positive on it.

Now I will be the first to admit my attitude often times isn't the best.  God and I, well we've been working on it.  And here's what we've come up with.  

There's so much uncertainty in our world and nation right now.  Folks seem to be on edge and offended at every turn.  It's irritating. 
Psalm 62:8  "Trust in him at all times O people; pour your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."

Lord may we trust in you at all times.  Even on those days when it is the hardest.  And why shouldn't we pour our hearts out to you?  You alone know the plans you have for us.  Plans to prosper us and not harm us.  If we can't trust you then who?  Your love is so vast we can't comprehend it.  So in all the uncertainty of this world may we rest in the peace and in the fact that you do love us.  That we can trust you at all times.  In all things.  Big and small. May we be reminded that you are still on your throne and you are still in control.  You still work miracles and no one can take any of that away.
Thanksgiving is less than a week away.  May we focus more on you and not all the negative.  May we be quick to realize the blessings that you have poured out that we don't deserve.  
May we be the person that you want us to be.  Not what the world wants.  Not what we want.  But what you want.  I want to be the kind that doesn't hide my light under a bush.  That when I encounter people they want some of what I have and that's you.  It's all about you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Once upon a time

Once upon a time we had a dog.  Not this dog.  The other dog.  His name was Sampson.  He was a mama's boy if a dog could ever be a mama's boy.  This dog is NOT!  We still have a love hate relationship.  It has evolved.  We've just decided it best for both of us to just do the best we can because, like it or not, we are stuck together.  We have no choice.  
God used Sampson to speak to me quiet often.  Now before you say the woman has lost her mind, let me remind you that God used a burning bush, a whale, even a donkey, to get his point across.  Dogs can be no different.  He hasn't done it that much with Silas.  Or maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm not paying attention.  (which is highly possible)  In my defense there's been quite a stir since Samps died & Silas entered the picture.  
Sampson had to be where I was.  If I was home, he was in the room with me.  Just about at all times.  If he knew I was outside, he was ok with that.  Some call it separation anxiety.  
Silas doesn't have that.
He doesn't care where I am or what I'm doing unless it's something he wants.  
If he hears the door open then by all means he thinks he needs to go out too.  Other than that, he simply doesn't care.  Just like at this moment, he is no where to be found.  Mainly because I don't have anything he wants.  
Let's just say I walk into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee.  He simply doesn't care.  But let me open a drawer, rattle the silverware, give him a second and he's there.  He thinks there might be food involved.  
Now let's say I'm in the kitchen to empty the dishwasher.  Not interested.  However, let me get in the kitchen to cook....Guess what....He's there.  
Which is where this post comes to life.  
I took the above picture while I stood at the stove.  He wasn't leaving.  He waited with anticipation.  Once the plates are set on the table he will wait by D's chair.  With anticipation.
Can you guess where I'm going with this?  
How often to we treat God this way?
We could care less if He's in the house or not.  We just want to know He's close by if we need Him.  Right?
Until we want something.  Or if we think He may have something we want.  
I'm guilty of this.  Knowing God is every present in all my goings & comings.  Yet I never acknowledge Him.  Until I want something.
How sad is this?  
I want to be better.  I want to do better.  I want to be closer.  I want to be more like Samps was.  I want to be where my Father is.  At all times.  I don't want to just be satisfied knowing He's in the house.  I want to be at His feet more.  Not because I want something from Him, but just because I enjoy His presence.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pray for those babies

These thoughts just flooded my brain, so bare with me. 
I'm a 70's baby.  That means I will be forty something in a few months.  Being a 70's baby means I'm an 80's child at heart.  I love, love, love fashion.  I'm picky with my hair.  I also love the sitcom "Friends".  I never get bored watching the reruns.  They take me back to a busy yet crazy time.  They take me back to the days when the preacher wasn't a full time preacher just yet.  The boys were little.  I guess I could call them babies.  It was nothing for me to be in the rocker on Thursday night with a new episode of "Friends" on the television, a baby in my arms & the other tucked in beside me.  Sweet times.
I'm ever so thankful that the show is still on.  Most every afternoon I change the channel just to have those familiar voices running through the house.  On one particular episode today, Rachel has come home from the hospital with the newborn Emma.  Rachel has no idea what to do with that crying baby.  She can't get her to stop crying.  She has tried everything.  Monica is the only one who can get her to stop crying.  Remember that episode?? 
Anyway, it made me think of all my mama friends. I have several friends/acquaintances who are at different levels of mothering.  There's a couple that are mothering newborns.  There are some in the midst of preschool and elementary.  There are some who are in the deep dark cave of teenagehood. There are some like me (and I expect to hear them shout AMEN).   Now I'm not going to get all sappy on you here.  I know I'm not the first mother who has ever had a child to get married.  I know I'm not the first who has ever had a child to grow up & move out.  I know I'm not the first mother to ever blog/write about such things.  But maybe I'm the first you have ever read.  Maybe I'm the first that one of my facebook friends will see/read.  So here ya go.

To you, young mother, who is rocking that newborn, hang in there.  That baby won't be a baby for long.  That baby won't always be crying.  That baby won't always want you to rock.  Sing with that baby & pray for that baby.  Time flies.

To you, young mother, who is between preschool & elementary, hang in there.  They told me once they started kindergarten time would never stand still again.  It don't.  It flies.   I promise it was just yesterday I put the oldest to bed knowing he started to school tomorrow.  That was many years ago.  There won't always be a lunch to pack.  There won't always be homework to help with.  There won't always be supper & homework & a ballgame or practice.  It will be done & gone in the blink of an eye. None the less, that is still your baby.  Pray for that baby.  

To you, young mother, that is in the depth of the cave....Lord bless your heart.  Those are some dark days aren't they?  But you hang in there.  It won't always be that dark.  Help with that homework as much as you can.  Answer those questions as best you can.  Keep your mouth shut as best you can.  Be there as much as you possibly can.  Your presence will mean more than you know. But that teenager is still your baby.  Pray for that baby.

And to you, young mother, who is in this boat with me.. Pray for that baby.  It may be that this is the first year on a college campus.  Maybe the first time away from home because they have joined a branch of the military.  Maybe they've just moved out & become a responsible adult.  Doesn't matter does it?  That is still your baby.

Bottom line is this, no matter what season you are in, whether it is the newborn or the teenager, it won't last long.  That stage will be gone tomorrow and a new one will arrive.  Just savor it.  Don't rush through it.  Take a million pictures either in your mind or on film.  Be present in every moment.  Don't make them beg for your attention.  Everything else will be there when they aren't.  Just hang in there.  They need you. 
I know there are long days and nights.  Let me encourage you to draw your strength from the Lord.  In those nights when that newborn isn't sure if it's day or night, savor that time as best you can.  As that little poem says, it may be the last night for an all nighter.  That baby may sleep through the night tomorrow night.  Get the idea?  Our babies are only little for such a little while.  Our little boys will only play in the mud for a short time.  Those little girls will only want to wear a bow for a little while.  And then one day....Pray for those babies.  If you, young mother, don't pray for them, who will?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August you confirmed it today.... I don't like you

I've debated it since the first day.  I will admit you have given me several important people.  People I love.  And now you add another anniversary to your list too.  But I just gotta tell you, I don't like you.  You have always brought change and we know how I am with change.  I don't like it much.  This year though, this year you have outdone yourself.  
You know, you always signified the end of summer.  You would roll around and we all had to head back to school and work.  Until this year.   While everyone else headed off to work, I was headed in a different direction.  I was sitting on the edge or out in a field chasing butterflies.  I was sitting on the edge because I knew on any given day, the oldest would come in from work for the last time.  He would come in and they would proceed to move his furniture and clothes out.  But while I waited on that day, I busied myself with whatever knowing all the changes were coming.  You see, when he came in to move his stuff that meant that the youngest was one day closer to moving upstairs.  Something he has said for a while he was going to do.  I wasn't even going to attempt that until after the wedding.  With the wedding over and the kids on the honeymoon, last Monday came & I headed upstairs.  By the end of the week, the room upstairs was done and the youngest was there.  That meant the room downstairs was in total disarray.  I worked on it over the weekend and they came yesterday to put the carpet down in there.  To sum up the last week, I've painted a total of four rooms.  Two bedrooms & two bathrooms.  I was making it just fine with all the changes going on around here. 
Until today.
Yesterday D came in to say he thought we would have the driveway blacktopped. Not a big deal.  It needs it.  It's bee several years since it's been done.  Can't park or drive on it for 24 hours after it's done.  I can live with that. 
Morning rolled around today just like any other morning. 
These men pulled up in the driveway to start the preparations for the blacktop.  They were done and it was time for Silas & I to head to the mailbox.  It's a trip we make daily.  But, when I raised the garage door, something was missing.

You may not notice it, but a piece of history is gone.  We have lived here for sixteen years now.  For the majority of those years there's been a basketball goal of some sort in this spot.  It's been a subject of irritation sometimes.  You always had to remember it was there or you would hit it backing out of the garage.  Visitors would always have to be directed around it.  But that's not the reason I was undone.  There's been lots of shots taken on that stupid thing.

At some point, there were competitions to see who could slap the backboard.

There have also been competitions to see who could get "net".  And now???
It's lying on the ground in the back yard.
This last one was a gift from Santa one year.  It wasn't one of those on wheels.  It had a pole that had to have a hole in the ground.
Now, the hole is there but no pole.
Will it go back up once the driveway is done?  I have no idea.  I'm thinking probably not.
So today August, I don't like you.  You have brought one too many changes for me this year. And for just a sliver of a second I'm gonna stomp my foot and say I've had enough.  I'm gonna pout for just a second and then move on.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I sat & stared at the white page on the screen with the flashing cursor for a while before I could type.  Mainly because I don't know where to begin.  We had known this day would come.  He gave her the ring in November 2013.  However, no serious plans were written down until this year.  And since March, it has been a ride.  We all started working on their house in March and it seems it has been day & night since then.  There was a minor surgery thrown in the mix.  A graduation.  A sabbatical from the church.  And just the everyday life of a woman with hormones.  And if the last fact doesn't kill a woman or anyone in her line of fire, then right there's proof enough that God does still work miracles.

Now let me talk to you mama's with boys for a minute. If you haven't already, start praying right now for them & their mate.  Ask God to guide their steps & their life.  And in His time, put them together.  You, mama, get out of the way.  Let God do His work.  And He will.  But in His time.  
Next, start preparing yourself.  One day when the woman that God has for your son comes along, you will wake up & realize your job is done.  He won't need you to wash his clothes or cook for him.  He won't call you to fix his lawn mower, car, or roof.  All he will basically need from you, is to know that you are, as you always have been, praying for him & his bride.  And when your boy(s) is/are what makes up the biggest part of your heart, this hurts.  But let me remind you, they aren't yours to keep.  That's not the way God intended it to be.  He entrusted them to you.  Pray for them & let them go.  They have to spread their wings too just like your husband did.  

 Now let's get down to some more business.. I knew the day was approaching.  Rather quickly in fact.  And as the months grew closer, I felt the nudge & heard that still small voice.  You see, the date was set, along with the back yard of the church as the venue.  There was, however, no plan B in case of rain.  And you know what an August day is here in Tennessee?  HOT!  
The daughter in law, her mother, sister & myself had been to a bridal show in January and I told them the only thing to do would be to ask God to pour out His grace & mercy on the day.  I was going to be specific and ask for a high of 75 with a north wind.  They laughed.  I wasn't kidding.  
Back to the nudge...I knew God was guiding me into a fast I was just hesitant to go.  But the days grew closer & the voice got louder.  I had no doubts what so ever what He was calling me to do.  So, mama, let me tell you this, when God tells you to do something, do it!  In my case, it was to fast & pray for my son & soon to be daughter's wedding day.  And no, I didn't fast from food.  God was direct though in what I was to fast from.  Two weeks ago I knew it was time to get serious.  I pulled the weather app on my phone & waited with faith to see what He was going to do.  Family &  friends would say, it's going to be so hot.  What if it rains?   But I knew no matter what it was going to be the best day.  Not because of me or what God had told me to do, but because of who God is.  Saturday drew closer and the chance of rain crept in like a secret.  I still knew not to worry.  God had it.  Sure enough a little after noon we heard the rumble of thunder.  Wasn't long until we were getting word that it was raining at the church.  I wasn't concerned. 

I hadn't planned on getting on the roller coaster Saturday morning.  I didn't have time for the ride, but I found myself on the front row.  Until I happened to look out the bedroom door.  A cardinal flew onto a limb of our crept myrtle.  And boy did he have that limb flapping.  I knew then, not only had God heard my prayer, He was answering.  That cardinal was a sign that my earthly father was telling me to get off the ride. To hush.  A little funny from my wedding day twenty five years ago.... I'm a stickler for order.  I don't usually fly by the seat of my pants.  I plan things out.  I organize.  But on my wedding day when my daddy got me to the lobby of the church, the preacher, D & best man were already at the alter.  IT WASN'T TIME!!!!  All I could say to my daddy is, "they aren't supposed to be there yet."  His reply was "hush there's nothing you can do about it!"

The rest of the day was perfect.  Yes, it was hot.  Yes it rained at the church.  But God....
He is faithful.  He knows our needs.  He knows our desires.  He hears our prayers. 

When the music began to play at 5:30, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  The sun was beaming & there was a river running down my back. 

Now to you, my new daughter, you now will share in the role that my oldest has had all his life.  The first.  You will both share in the role of teaching me how to be a mother in law.  You will both teach me how to pray for your family.  And honestly, I'm a little excited about it.  Do you remember the messages we had a few days before the wedding concerning the weather?  Remember the one where I told you I was on it?  I still am.  I know there will be days that I may not pray like I need to, but I do know that God knows the desires of my heart.  My heart's desire is for you & my boy to have many wonderful years together.  There will be days when you don't even want to look at him.  But there will be days when you can't get enough of him.  Be patient with him.  Love him.  Cheer him on.  Laugh with him.  Pray with him & for him.  Daily.

Finally, I can't take any credit for any of the weather Saturday.  I can't take credit for the way these boys have turned out.  I will always believe that the shower Saturday & the brilliant sunshine was from God alone.  He gets all the glory for the way it all turned out.  He just proved to me that what His word says is true.  He used the opportunity to prove to me that nothing is to hard or to big for Him.  He proved to me that if I will just trust Him, His time, His will, it will all be alright.   I've known it.  I've always believed it.  But He never stops teaching me.

As for this first child of mine, he's my gift.  I've said it from the moment I thought I might be pregnant with him.  I will always believe God orchestrated that boys life at a time when I needed him the most.  He was my life.  My world.  And I would have moved heaven & earth for him.  Letting him go was hard.  I won't lie.  But I also knew I couldn't keep him for long anyway.  

The sunset was as beautiful as the day & the bride.
 This may be my favorite.  I love him big!

 But this one?  This one will always have a special place. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What I know for sure

There comes a point is one's life when you just need to slow down.  Even stop.  And that is exactly what we've done these past six weeks.  We didn't completely stop, but we have been doing a slow crawl.  (or so it seems)  In less than a month now, the oldest and his new bride won't even be married a full twenty four hours.  I expect the house to be a little quieter & the grocery bill & electric to decrease some. 

During these past six weeks several things have happened in our nation.  Debates have risen to the point that I just can't hardly stand to scroll all the social media news feeds.  And during these past six weeks God has been doing a work in me.  Maybe not a big work, but a work.  He's been adjusting my attitude toward some things.  Some things, though, I'm trying hard to hold on to.  Which probably isn't good.  Maybe that is where the struggle is.   What can I say, I'm a work in progress. 

The preacher, the dog, & I have taken a quick road trip this week.  We headed south on Monday.  It was more business than it was rest & relaxing.  At this point in the game who has time to relax?  The whole trip was off just about from the beginning.  But none the less, we went.  We stayed in a completely different place this time & the whole time I was trying to find a place, D was telling me he didn't think I would like this area.  It wasn't on the beach.  My mother recently made a statement & I quoted her to him, "I can tolerate just about anything for a little while."  That's what I did.  I tolerated it. 

I finally got my feet in the sand Wednesday morning.  Now, let me stop here & interject that these days, I am an emotional walking time bomb.  (or so it seems to me) As soon as I got a glimpse of that sight, I could hardly contain myself.  That place holds something special for me.  It's a place where these boys spent at least seven weeks of their lives.  They may have been miserable doing it, but there are seven weeks of memories there.  There's been some stress relief on that sand & in that water.  There's been some worship in that sand.  There's just something about that sand, water & the breeze.  It just seems to take whatever life has thrown and make it disappear.  If only for a few minutes.  That's what it does.

So during these last six weeks I've come to know a couple of things for sure.  One is this.  I need worship.  I mean a good, deep down time of worship.  One that will last a little longer than the Sunday morning worship hour.  I need to stay at His feet a little longer than I have been.  And as for all the mess & the debates that are lingering out there... Bishop T. D. Jakes said it best..."God is still on His throne."  He is still in control of all this.  I also agree with what Beth Moore tweeted today..."holding onto the Scriptures-knowing them/loving them-will be the way we survive with our belief system intact here."  We as Christians will have to dig deeper than we ever have, search harder than we've ever searched & believe with a bigger faith than we ever have.  God is gonna get His glory.