Thursday, July 28, 2011

Train up a Child...or raise brats

Have you seen the story about the restaurant in in Pennsylvania that banned children 6 years and under from eating there?
McDains Restaurant in Monroe, PA recently issued a statement to their customers saying-

“We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”

This article states that their business went up by 20% when this happened. Other media is calling this a "Brat Ban"

As a parent, how does this hit you?  Do you agree?
I think we have all been in both situations.  We have been in a restaurant with our kids when one of our kids decides this is the time to throw a huge tantrum.  It's embarrassing!
And we have been in a restaurant when other kids are throwing the fits.  This is when I am thinking that I am glad it isn't my kid...because I have been there before.
It really saddens me that restaurants feel the need to do this for two reasons.
1. It is a reflection of the lack of parenting going on.
2. It is a reflection of the worldy view of children as burdens.

When I was young, my parents made it very clear to me how to act in public, especially while eating at a restaurant.  If I threw a fit, there was no way he would take me out for a long time.  WE have tried to do the same with our kids, but it seems to be a lost value taught to children.

In the Washington Post article something was said that I agreed with.

This generation of parents is somehow more self- and kid-centered than previous generations

Ya think?

We need to get back to basics.
1. As the parent, your world should not revolve around your child.  Their world revolves around you.  My kids are extremely important to me.  They know this.  But my day doesn't revolve around them.  If I am meeting a friend for coffee and my daughter wants me to take her to the mall, she waits until I get home (unless I can drop her off on my way). I do not cancel my plans.  If my daughter chooses to get upset then when I get back from seeing my friend, my daughter doesn't go to the mall. 
If my child throws a tantrum in a restaurant or a store, we leave.  We do not make everyone around us endure the screaming & floundering on the floor.  If my child has thrown this fit because they want to leave, we go sit in the car until they are over themselves & then we go back in.  I need to go shopping, I will still go shopping.  And that child will not go with me next time I go.
The same goes for church.  I probably need to write a post on letting your children sit in church with you.  They need to be there with you.  It is so important that our kids see us worship!  They also need to learn how to act while in the service.

2.  Do not let your child interrupt you when you are talking to someone else.  I can tell you how many times I am speaking with a mom, her child walks up and begins the, "Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom" until the mom finally turns and says, "WHAT?".
I have taught my children that if they need to speak to me and I am already speaking to someone else all they have to do is stand beside me, I put my hand on their shoulder so they know that I know they are there. Then they wait until I can see what they need.  If it is really important they put their hand on my hand so I know.  These are our secret signals to each other without interrupting the conversation.  It works.  It took some kids longer than others to do, but it works. 
When Ben was about 5 years old we went to see family that were meeting at a hotel.  I was talking to some relatives when Ben walked up. I put my hand on his shoulder & he put his hand on my hand.  When my Aunt had finished her sentence I looked down at Ben and asked what he needed. "I think I'm gonna throw up".  We ran to the bathroom just in time.  I was impressed with Ben because if I had been him, I wouldn't have waited, I would have interrupted before I threw up. But even while sick, he understood that it is rude to interuppt.

3.  Teach your child to be considerate of others.  This ties in with #1 & #2.  Most of my children's bad behavior stems from selfishness.  They way their own way & they will make your life miserable until they get it.  No way!  This starts with siblings.  Teach them to put their siblings first.  This is hard & we still work on this everyday. 
Funny story...I had made a chocolate cake.  The boys were running in to get the first piece.  I reminded the boys of when Jesus said, "Whoever wants to be first will be last." I told them, "I think that if Jesus were here he would say, "let my brother have the first piece of cake, I can wait."' Austin looks at Ben and says, "You be Jesus".
It is not impossible to teach our kids to respect others.  The amazing thing is that even though it may not seem like they are doing it in the home, they do it outside the home. At least that is what I hear. :o)

4. Simple manners go a long way.  "Yes mam" "No Sir" "Thank You" "I'm sorry" Teach these as soon as they begin speaking.
Teach your boys to open doors for girls.  My boys have always seen my husband do this for me.  Now when I go somewhere with my teen boys, they open the doors for me. I love it!  I see them doing this for others also.  Sometimes they even do it for their sisters!  Baby steps... :o)
Teach your girls to say "thank you" when a boy is gentlemen like to her.  I heard girls at church make fun of a boy because he had opened a door for them. Ugh!

It is no secret that the world views children as a burden instead of a blessing.  This "brat ban" is evidence of that.  But we have brought it upon ourselves by not training our children properly.  Parents have given up I think.  It is harder than they thought. They don't know what to do.  I know!  I felt the same way...and still feel it in many ways. 
Parenting is daily!  Everyday, your child will need you to show him what is right and what is wrong.  Somewhere in the past, parents began losing site of their Biblical responsibilities as parents.  Scripture does a great job of lining out what we need to do.  But it is hard. We need to step up & do what God has given us the opportunity to do & not expect the church or school to do it.  And don't forget your children are watching you.  They really do learn more from what they see you do, than what they hear you say.

In the mean time, until your children are properly trained don't expect them to act in a way they haven't been taught to act.  Don't take them to places where they are expected to act above what they are capable.  Have mercy on your children and on others.

Train up a child in the way he should go. Proverbs 22:6


Storms bring Blessings

I love to read daily readings from Streams in the Desert.  If you don't have it, I encourage you to get it.  It is an old devotional favorite full of excellent writings from a variety of people.
Below is the reading for today.

"His way is in the whirlwind and the storm." (Nahum 1:3)

I remember when I was a young person attending school in the vicinity of Mount Pleasant.  One day I sat on the side of the mountain and watched a storm as it moved through the valley.  The skies were filled with darkness, and thunder began to shake the earth.  It seemed as though the lush landscape were completely changed, and its beauty gone forever.  But the storm passed quickly and soon moved out of the valley.
If I had sat in the same place the following day and said, "Where is that intense storm and all its terrible darkness?" the grass would have sand, "Part of it is in me.".  The beautiful daisy would have said, "Part of it is in me". And all the other flowers, fruits, and everything that grows in the ground would have said, "Part of the storm has produced the radiance in me."
Have you ever asked the Lord to make you like Him?  Have you ever desired the fruit of the Spirit and prayed for sweetness, gentleness and love? If so, then never fear the fierce storms that even now may be blowing through your life.  Storms bring blessings, and rich fruit will be harvested later.
(Henry Ward Beecher)


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Over the Top-Women of Faith 2011

Are you going?  I'm going & taking my oldest daughter, Ashley with me.  We can't wait.

I'm talking about the Women of Faith Conference for 2011.  The conference in Dallas is coming up really soon, August 26-27!

It has been several years since I was able to go so I am really looking forward to this, especially to be able to take my daughter with me.  I know we will have a great time & receive grand amounts of inspiration & encouragement.  With everything that we have had going on lately, it will be a great day to get away and be encouraged!

The Speaker line up is great...again.
Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, Lisa Whelchel, Sandy Patty & Brenda Warner.

God loves us more than we know. He gives us more than we can ask or dream. He's unrestrained... excessive... outrageous... Over the Top

Below is a preview video of what is to come.

If you don't live in the DFW area, there are still many more conferences to go after this one. Check out their site & see when they are coming to you.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaching your kids to work

The scenario has played over & over again on our front porch.
"Can you come play?" (neighbor kid)
"Not yet, I have to do my chores." (my kid)
"Chores?  Are you in trouble? What did you do this time?" (neighbor kid)
"Nothing, I just have to do some stuff before I can play." (my kid)
"Wow, that's not fair.  When can you come out? (neighbor kid)

You get the idea.

Before we moved to town, my kids never thought of chores as "not fair".  They just thought it was what you did.  Everyone did chores.  Now that we live in a neighborhood they have found out that not everyone has to do chores everyday.  It is frustrating as a mom.

Work is a part of our daily life, even for our kids.  They will work when they leave our home, so now is the time to teach them how to work.  It matters.  The parent who holds the opinion their children have plenty of time to learn to work, let them be kids will have adult children who do not know how to work.

In our home we call them "chores" or "responsibilities".  Everyone has them, even the youngest in the family.  Everyone has jobs that are appropriate for their age.
The four year old helps me with laundry, unloading dishwasher, picking up toys, making the bed, etc...  He will soon have his own list of chores to do on his own when he turns five.  I don't ask the 4 year old to do what the 15 year can do, nor do I ask the 15 year old to do what the 4 year old can do.

Here is a website that has chores divided by age range.

We have some very basic rules in our house when it comes to chores.

1.  Work without complaining. Philippians 2:14 tells us to do all things without grumbling or complaining.  If you complain about doing your chores you get more chores to do until you stop complaining.
Funny of my boys was doing a lot of complaining about having to sweep the kitchen floor everyday.  so, for the rest of the week he had extra chores and could not play with friends.  He did all kinds of lovely chores everyday like; cleaning toilets,  scooping dog poop in the yard, matching my bottomless basket of socks, baseboards, blinds, and the list goes on.  by the fourth day he gave up.  He lasted longer than I thought he would.
"OK, OK I hate doing all of this.  I will never complain about sweeping the floor again!"
And he hasn't. :o)

2. If you make a mess, clean it up.  This sounds simple, but my problem is finding out who made the mess.  My little ones are the worst at making the mess and then trying to cover it up so they don't get in trouble.
Example: Yesterday Sam was eating chips and salsa on the couch.  A huge No-No!  his bowl of salsa spilled on the couch.  He tried to wipe it up & then cover it with a blanket.  Thankfully I can take the cover off of the cushion & throw it in the washer.  He knew he was not to eat on the couch & knew he would get in trouble, but I let him know he is in worse trouble for not being honest about what he did & punishment was given.
My big kids are good about this and they are trying to help the little kids learn it too.  Advantages to having a large family.

3. Don't step over it, pick it up.  I would love to say we have this one mastered.  But that would be a lie.  But we keep working towards it.  I like the rule, it is simple & one of these day we will have it mastered!

Benefits of Chores

We teach our kids to work from the time they are old enough to make a mess.  I like how this has paid off for us.  Our older kids are beginning to work outside of the home and they are highly respected because of their work ethic.  They are trusted by those they work for because their employers have learned that the job will not only get done, but get done very well.
We learned early on that by assigning various chores to our children it helped to give them purpose in our home.  They don't get bored near as often (though they still get bored) and they have more to do in their day than keep the couch warm and the TV on.  There is purpose to their day.

When they do their jobs, they are to do for the Lord, not for man.  Yes, it makes me very happy when they do their chores, but it pleases the Lord even more.

Colossians 3:17, "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

If you start when your children are small, teaching them to work for the Lord, by the time they are older they will have developed an attitude towards work very different from others around them.  They will stand out in the workforce.  More than that, they will know who they are really working for, which will make it possible to work for those who are hard to work for.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

He waits on me!

I found myself in Isaiah 30 this morning during my Bible reading.  I love the book of Isaiah.  It seems to satisfy my love for OT History & present life application all at one time. And this morning was no different.
In light of our present circumstances (that feel very desperate at the time) this chapter is a great reminder to me to keep my eyes on Jesus, not my circumstances, but it also taught me something new.
Context of this chapter is King Hezekiah is getting advice from advisers to do one thing but the Lord is telling him to do something different.
Little side note often does that happen?  Our girl friends are telling us what they think we should do to fix our problems, but the Lord is telling us something different.  Who to listen to?
The advisers are telling Hezekiah to go to Egypt for help, to form an alliance with them.  The Lord knows what they don't..the Assyrians, who the Israelite's were going to invade had already defeated the Egyptians, who the Israelite's were going to ask to help them invade the Assyrians.  Are you following me?
The Lord calls them;
"stubborn children who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit." (Is 30:1)
This is nothing new for Israel.  They completed this cycle for many generations of trying to do things their way, it fails, so they  repent & turn back to God & do things his way.
The Lord even gave them a way out & they refused.
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling. (Is 30:15

I read that over & over & underlined it.  God provided salvation & they wouldn't take it!  So, he had to wait on them.
"Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him." (Isaiah 30:18)
He waited for them to realize their own pride & sin. 
How many times does God have to wait on me?  I never thought about him waiting on me before, but I know he does.  He waits for me when I am putting my trust in someone else or something else to provide a way out.  He waits for me to come to him.  He waits for me!

I don't want to be like King Hezekiah who trusted in the help of others than in God.
I don't want to be like the Israelites who were given a way out & were unwilling to take it.
I don't want God to wait on me. But I also realize that there is beauty and wisdom in his waiting.
Andrew Murray had this to say about God waiting on us.
God waits on us because He is a wise Gardner who "waits for the land to yield its valuable crop" and is "patient...for the autumn and spring rains"(James 5:7).  God knows He cannot gather the fruit until it is ripe, and He knows precisely when we are spiritually ready to receive blessings for our gain and His glory.  And waiting in the sunshine of His love is what will ripen our soul for His blessings.  Also waiting under the clouds of trials is as importance, for they will ultimately produce showers of blessings. 
Rest assured that if God waits longer than we desire, it is simply to make the blessings doubly precious. Only in His hands, and He will quickly avenge those He has chosen, swiftly coming to our support without ever delaying even one hour too long.
I appreciate Murray's words. He paints a picture of God's waiting on us that I did not have. I'm so thankful my God knows the exact moment that I am ready to receive his blessings.
He is patient.
He is gracious. 
He is merciful.
He is just.
He waits to be gracious to you.

Blessed are those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)


Guest post: Tending the Garden

Here is my guest post that was posted on The Confident Mom blog last week.  I encourage you to linger around on Susan's site.  She has some great goodies for sale & for free.

Tending the Garden

Many years ago we lived in the country on 20 acres.  My husband grew up in the country, farming with his dad. My dad is a preacher and I grew up in the city, but always thought the country life sounded amazing.  So I was thrilled when we had the chance to buy land and build a house in the country. I soon found out that it was very different from the city.  But, I still loved raising my kids out in the country in the wide open spaces & I tolerated the “critters”.  We all miss it very much.
One year, I wanted to plant a garden, because that is what you do when you live in the country.  I had never raised a garden before, but since my husband was a farmer I knew he could teach me how.  We tilled up the dirt, planted our seeds and waited to see what would come up.  Much to my amazement plants began to grow. It was wonderful.  I couldn’t wait until it was time to harvest our veggies.
Within a month or so we had a garden full of plants that would soon become vegetables for our table.  I was so excited!  But soon my excitement turned to horror as the grasshoppers moved into my garden and began to eat all the plants.  We could not keep them out.  The only plant they didn’t eat was the okra and my husband and I were the only ones who liked okra.
We tried again the next year, but didn’t have much more success.  If the seed actually sprouted the grasshoppers got it.  I was so frustrated.  Looking over my pitiful little garden I wondered if I would ever learn how to grow a garden that would produce something besides a mob of grasshoppers.
Have you ever looked at your children in the same way?  

What am I doing wrong?
Will I ever get this mom thing down?
Will my kids ever learn to obey?

I love the verse, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I have days when I really question that verse.  I mean really…motherhood is harmful!  You will get your feelings hurt.  You get your toes stomped on.  You get vomited, pooped and sneezed on.
My kids have disappointed me.
 They have embarrassed me. 
They make me angry.
 They make me cry.
 They make me proud.

Our third child gave me great cause to worry.  I wondered if he would ever listen to us or would make good choices.  The older he got it seemed that the worse his decisions became.  I spent many a nights praying over him and for him.  He and I really struggled when he was young.  He made me feel like a failure as a mom.
Thankfully, when he was about 12, the Lord showed me Jeremiah 29:11-13 in the context of my relationship with my son.
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

 The Lord reminded me that he does have a plan for my son and a plan for me.  It is an excellent plan.  The Lord wants me to seek him and let him take care of my son.  I learned that through seeking the Lord, He guided me in how to handle my son.  There were so many days when I still wondered if my son would have a life outside of a jail cell.  As he entered into his teen years it seemed as though it became worse and I was so tempted to take back the reigns and do things my way.
Today he is 17, only a few months away from 18.  I still have my moments when I wonder about him, but there is one thing that I know for sure.  He loves the Lord.  He may not always follow him as closely as I think he should, but he has a growing, changing relationship with the Lord.  He recently got his first job as an assistant swim instructor and at the end of his first month he was given 3 awards by his boss for outstanding work ethic, integrity and ability to diffuse a volatile situation with a parent. I was so proud of him!
I can look back over the years now and see where the Lord clearly guided me in how I spoke to my son, how I touched him and how I prayed for him.  I mentioned earlier that my son made me feel like a failure as a parent.  Actually, my son has shown me the importance of seeking the Lord in how to be a parent.  He has shown me that I can’t do any of this on my own.
 I gave up on the vegetable garden, but I am still working on my other garden…my children.  I’m so thankful the Lord has given me the opportunity to care for these little sprouts. He guides me when weeding needs to be done and allows me to see the fruit that is produced in my children.  By his grace and mercy, someday I will have a bumper crop of children whose heart desire is to love the Lord and share his love with others.
Tend to your garden carefully, recognizing who the real gardener is. Seek him in all you do and watch His fruit be produced in your little sprouts.


Thursday, July 21, 2011


Then our mouth was filled with laughter...The Lord has done great things for us and we are glad.  Psalm 126:2-3

People often say they would like to be a fly on the wall in our house, just to get a glimpse into what life is like with so many kids.  Well, if we didn't swat you flat first you would hear a lot of laughing & play happening.
Don't get me wrong, we still argue, the kids fight, people get mad & frustrated with each other.  We are definitely not Leave it to Beaver! But at the end of the day, I can safely say that there has been more laughter in our home than other. 
Our life isn't perfect.  I blog about how un-perfect our life really is.  We have problems...serious problems.  But, we try not to dwell on our troubles, but instead on the good things that God has done for us.  That list is a lot more fun to make.
Our family is good at laughing with each other.  We can even get away with laughing at someone as long as we don't cross the line.  We have fun together and (depending on their age) my kids like coming home. (Preteens & young teenagers never like being home. :o)  At least not mine.)  We enjoy watching movies together with all the kids crowded on our bed.  We enjoy listening to Dad tell stories that his dad told him about life in the 1940's as poor dirt farmers & the crazy things he & his brothers used to do. We really enjoy laughing about things the kids did when they were little.  Like the time that Josh dared Ashley to spray paint his butt with silver spray paint!  Yep, she did it!

Laughter is good for you!
Did you know there are heart doctors who actually prescribe their heart patients at least 2 laughs a day.  It is that good for your cardiovascular system.  Not just a giggle!  But a whole body, until you pee in your pants kind of laugh!

It is easier for me to laugh & enjoy my day when I am focused on the good things God has done.

Laugh!  I dare ya! Below is a video that might help.

Tim Hawkins on Moms


Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Pack for Camp

As my kids get older, our summers have become consumed by camps.  Our church offers a camp for every school age group and of course I have a kid who is eligible for each group.  So, we have become quite good at packing up for camp.
Thankfully now that my girls are older they pack for themselves.  Packing for them when they were younger was quite the ordeal.  Packing for boys is easy.  So, here are a few of my best tips on how to pack for camp.

Pack for dirt.  I don't know about your kids, but my kids usually go to camps that are hot and dirty.  So I NEVER buy them new clothes for camp.  We either pull out the old stuff or go to Goodwill or Salvation Army if they need anything, with the exception of socks & underwear.  I like to send clothes that we call "disposable". If it gets really dirty or lost it is no big deal.  It can be thrown away.  I tell my boys that if it get's wet & muddy just throw it away.  I know that girls are a little different, but the same concept can stand.  Don't send clothes that would be missed if they didn't make it home.

Let them help you pack.  Don't pack up your kids bags & not let them see what you put in the bag.  They need to see what towels you put in there & what clothes.  Even though they use these things at home all the time, for some reason when they get to camp they forget what it all looks like.  Make sure they know their own stuff.

How much to pack?  I usually send clothes for twice as many days as they will be there.  Zach will be at camp 4 full days so he takes 8 sets of clothes.  I know they get dirty during games & really sweaty, so I make sure he has something to change into that evening for dinner & evening devotions (or whatever they do).

Ben at camp
Label. Label. Label.  OK, 2 reasons why you need to label their stuff.  1st, if they throw their stuff on the floor their counselor can call them on it & make them pick it up. Scott & 2 of my daughters have gone to many camps as counselors and they are amazed every year at the stuff that is thrown around and even though it has the kids name in it, they swear it isn't theirs.  LOL!  2nd, if it get's left somewhere at the camp it can be returned to them.  If they are taking camera's or water bottles, it is inevitable that they will set them down & forget to pick it up before they leave.  Something besides their clothes that you might want to label is their spending money if they have any.  Guaranteed every year there is someone in a cabin who likes to help themselves to other peoples money.  We usually put initials or full name on the bills.  Works!

Kids love mail!  I am the absolute worst at this!  That is why I started sending my husband to camp with my kids.  LOL!  The week before camp, you can get the mailing address for the camp & start mailing them letters before they even go.  Some camps even have it set up where you can email your kid.

Snacks.  Most camps have vending machines or an area the kids can buy snacks, but honestly they are so expensive!  So I usually send some snacks with my kids.  I send stuff that is individually wrapped so that they don' t have open packages of food left in their bag.  That is nothing more than a giant WELCOME TO MY SUITCASE sign for ants & other nasty's.

Camps are so much fun & I am so thankful that my kids get to experience them.  They learn so much and always come back excited about next year.  I wasn't sure if I wanted my kids to do the "camp thing" as my experience as a kid was not always that great, but there are a lot of life lessons involved in spending a little bit of time away from Mom & Dad.

Happy Packing!

Sarah worked this Summer as a counselor at Joni & Friends Camp.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Newest baby girl!

My friends on Facebook know, but I haven't blogged about my newest baby girl!
Months ago I had this weird desire for a puppy.  Crazy, I know!  It's not like I don't already have enough to take care of or deal with.  But I decided I wanted a puppy anyway.  I talked to my husband about it & said, "It's either a puppy or a baby".  He quickly replied with "go get a puppy".  LOL!
But, there was a catch, the puppy had to be free.  That is understandable since we don't have any money.  So, I just gave it to the Lord & said, "If you want me to have a dog, you will give me a dog." And I left it at that.  Barely thought about it again.  In my mind I had envisioned what I wanted my sweet little dog to look like. I wanted a female that was small like  Shih-tzu or Maltese with white hair.  Other than that I didn't care.
Fast forward a few months.  I get an email from a friend whose grandmother had passed away.  Her grandmother had a female Shih-Tzu and they needed to find a home for her.  She was FREE!  I emailed & text her right away..."I WANT THE DOG!"  She replied back with "LOL!"  "I'm serious" I told her.
She sent me a picture & guess what color she was....yep, you guessed it!  She was white!

The crazy thing is that her name was "Sweetie", same as our old dog.  So we renamed her Ruby Ann.  Scott always wanted a little girl named Ruby & now he has one.  LOL!
She is a crazy dog.  She is 2 yrs old so we are past the puppy stage.  We have learned that she is a pick pocket.  Her bed is under my desk (because she is never more than 3 ft away from me) and we find all kinds of things that she has taken to her bed.  One day she even took my wallet off my desk & hid it!  Another day, while I was having my devotionals in the bathroom, she ran into my closet, grabbed my bra and ran out of the bathroom with it!  Crazy dog!  I'm in love with her though!  She follows me everywhere & even sleeps on our bed.  Not sure that is a good thing though.  We may nick name her "birth control".  Can I say that here?  It's my blog so I think I can. :o)

Sam is loving on Ruby!

Princess Ruby Ann


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Very Best Intentions

Recently, the Lord brought to my attention something that surprised me. I participated in a woman's leadership training program through my church last Spring.  There are several phases to it that when completed will have taken about 2 years.  The 2nd phase is about to start.  I picked up my books and began looking through them, excited to participate again.  The purpose of this study is to better equip women to minister to women and to facilitate small groups on this actual study.  Sounded fun to me and I really wanted to better educate myself on how I can minister to women more effectively.  It was a time commitment and there would be a lot of homework at home, but I didn't mind.

Ok, so the part that surprised me is when I sat down with the books & the Holy Spirit spoke loud & clear..."Not now!"
Wait! What did you say?
"This is not the time to do this study"
Really?  I really wanted to do this.  I need to do this.
"Not now!"
I kept thumbing through the books...I did this for days.  I didn't understand.  This is a good study & it will help me a lot do what I feel I am called to do.
Why can't I do this?
Even though I was frustrated, I recognized what was going on & knew I needed to let my leader know that I would turn my books back in and could not participate in the study.

The next day I was reading in my current devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  I have used this off & on for years & never grow tired of it.
This is what I read.
"Rehabilitation means the putting back of the whole human race into the relationship God designed it to be in, and this is what Jesus Christ did in Redemption.  The Church ceases to be a spiritual society when it is on the look-out for the development of its own organization.  We are not here to develop a spiritual life of our own, or to enjoy spiritual retirement; we are here so to realize Jesus Christ that the Body of Christ may be built up.
Am I building up the Bod of Christ, or am I looking for my own personal development only?  The essential thing is my personal relationship to Jesus Christ-"That I may know Him." To fulfill God's design means entire abandonment to Him.  Whenever I want things for myself, the relationship is distorted.  "My goal is God Himself, not joy or peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God."
(My Utmost of my Highest, July 12th writing. )

This made me think about my motive's in doing this leadership training.
Why was I doing this?
Did I feel it necessary in order to have a more effective ministry?
Am I trying to further my own ministry on my own?

The training is good.  It has been done in many countries, equipping women all over the globe to minister to other women.  It is an excellent program, but if the Lord doesn't want me involved it doesn't matter how good it is, it won't be effective in my own ministry.

Sometimes we have the very best intentions, but they are wrong.  Our very best intentions are meant to take us on one path, but instead they take us in the wrong direction.  I'm very thankful that the Holy Spirit stopped me before I took off in the wrong direction.
One other thing, I never prayed and asked the Lord if I should do this study.  I just jumped in.  Why pray about it?  It is a great study!  Hmmm, there is a reason why scripture tells us to pray with out ceasing! 

Is there anything you are trying to do with the very best intentions, but that still small voice is warning you not to?  LISTEN TO IT!

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things..." John 14:26


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another Anniversary

Tomorrow is Scott & mine's 21st wedding anniversary.  For the first time in several years, he is home & not at our church children's camp.  I'm hoping we can go out for dinner at least.

I thought I would post the link to the posts I have written specifically about marriage.  I didn't realize there were so few. I guess I don't write on this topic as much as I thought I did.  I'm still learning about this marriage stuff & definitely don't feel as open to write about it as I guess I do other stuff.

Wedding day...1990

Date night!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Disappointed again

My hopes were high, but I was trying not to let them get too high.  I didn't want to be disappointed again.

We are needing to move.  Our lease was up in May & we are now living month to month on our lease because the landlord raised the rent that we already couldn't afford.  So, I have started packing, not knowing when or where we will go.
We have been praying for a while about moving.  We don't want to, but we want to.  Does that make sense?  We love the area we are in, but not the neighborhood and we don't like the amount we have to pay each month.  So, we are looking for a house.
I thought we had found it.  It met so many of the specific requests we had prayed.  And then I got the email this morning.
I'm sorry to have to let you know that I have chosen to rent to another family.

UGH!  Really?  But this was the house!  I just know it!  My heart sank.  I wanted to cry.  I just knew this would be our next house.  I was so disappointed!  It's ok to be disappointed when things don't work out.  Where I usually go wrong is when I sit in my disappointment & let it become more than that.  Maybe anger or resentment.  Move past the disappointment and realize that God answered my prayers. Just not the way I thought he would.

I was quickly reminded I had prayed the Lord would make it very clear if this was where he wanted us to live or not.  That email was pretty clear!
OK, so this means there is another house out there somewhere.  Maybe it just isn't available yet.

God closed this door.  Now we wait for him to open another door.

My disappointment is now relief...relief that God spared us from making a mistake. 

So, the search does the waiting.