Sunday, August 31, 2008

Day 27 of 30 Days of Praise

I praise God for LIFE!  What an awesome idea God had in creating us---just to have someone with whom to fellowship.    And not just life---but ETERNAL life.  Wow!  It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that God wants to be with me for all of eternity.
I just visited with a young girl who was having thoughts of ending her life.  That's happening more and more.  I taught her how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.  She left here with an exchanged burden--her heavy burden for God's light burden.  How rewarding to see someone eagerly grab hold of Truth--Truth that sets free!!
I don't think about every breath I take every day.  I don't think about what a gift that is...until I watch someone take their last breath.  Or until I meet someone who is thinking of ending their own breathing.
I get very philosophical when I sit and think about why God would even create us.  Wasn't it enough to have fellowship as Father, Son & Holy Spirit?  If I'd known all the trouble it would cause (and He did---He's omniscient!), I'm not sure I would have created the human race.  If I'd known how little fellowship I'd  actually get out of the deal, I'm not sure I'd bothered.  But God did.  What love.  What grace.
Father, thank You for life.  Thank You for every breath I've breathed for 52 years!  (And I know You know exactly how many that is!)  Thank You for wanting fellowship with me so badly that You created me!  That blows my mind!  But thank You.  I love You so much and I want to give You the fellowship You desire so badly.  I love You, Daddy!  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Consider this....

Have you thought about how soon the Lord may return?  I think the "pressure" we all feel is from the birth pains--and they're getting closer together.  And most of us know what that feels like!  The thought occurred to me this week:  What if the Lord is coming soon?  What if it was within one month?  Or one year?  Now I know there are different thoughts on this---you could be pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib.  But regardless...what if He's coming soon?  And what if our blogs are here to guide or comfort those who are left behind (if you're "pre" or "mid!" ha!  And it's probably pretty obvious where I lean)?  What if???  How would you live your lives differently if you really believed you only had one month left?  Would you?  And what if God let us know the signs----and it was so close that we knew we had a year at the most?
I'M ASKING QUESTIONS HERE!!  Tell me how you'd do things differently.

Day 26 of 30 Days of Praise

Well, another day to share what else I learned from G&G at Living Water on Wednesday.  We were talking about what respect and disrespect look like to men.  They really didn't want to get into this conversation, but once we got started, it was hard to stop them!  They got on a roll.

I gave them a scenario about if a husband delegates the finances to his wife, but then she wants him to lead and begins trying to give the finances back to him---how does that make a man feel?  (Now you have to know that one of the G's was a banker!)  His reply to me was that it's going to create a vacuum and make the man very confused.  Being head of the home brings great responsibility...and if he's asked you to do the finances, it's probably because he sees you're more gifted in that area.  I used finances specifically because it seems a lot of women are very confused about this area---like me~!   His answer really satisfied me!!  It brought understanding to my own heart.  And, of course, it could be applied to anything in your marriage!  It's made me want to do what my husband has delegated to me with even more passion----he sees me as capable!
They both told me that a controlling woman is very disrespectful.  A man needs a woman to be dependent on him in some ways.  He needs to be needed.  But they said it's a very thin line---they don't want us being too dependent on them.  G used an illustration.  He said if his wife wants a new car, he'd like for her to come ask him what to look for, what's a good deal---be dependent on him in the process.  But...if she asked him to go to the grocery store with her everytime she went and asked if she should get this can or that can---that would be being too dependent.
And they ended with this bit of advice which I think is a great way to end.  "A domineering spirit is headed for trouble."  Wow!  I have to wonder how poor Andy has survived!!  Yikes!!  I've got a long way to go...but I think I'm now more equipped and headed in the right direction.
Father, thank You for what You're teaching me.  Thank You for insight from a man into Your Word about respect.  Communication---what a great idea You had!  If I'd only learned to listen earlier, Father....I could be so much further down the road.  But thank You that I'm learning.  Help me, teach me---I'm all Yours!  I love you, Daddy!  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Day 25 of 30 Days of Praise

I'm praising God today for the wise men at Living Water who were brave enough to answer my questions about men!  (You're gonna love this.  And I know some of you guys are stalking this page---you're loving the fact that I'm learning how to "respect" and encouraging  your wife to do the same!)
If you haven't read the book, For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhan, you need to!  Her book was born out of interviewing men for a fiction book she was writing.  She was so blown away by what she found out, that she decided if she hadn't known these things, most women didn't know them either.  So she wrote For Women Only.
I decided to try my own hand at interviews.  So I took my questions to G&G (both of these guys are older than me) at Living Water Wednesday morning.  Somehow, they got the idea that I was interviewing them because I was going to teach this to some young women.  (I didn't want them to freak out!!)  I asked them what "respect" looked like to a man.  Interestingly, they were hesitant to get into this conversation---which really surprised me!  Their first answer was that we need to allow our men to be the spiritual leaders of the home.  They said that we shouldn't "run down" our husbands or talk about our husbands to other women.  They were very adamant that we should build our husbands up.  In fact, (they said this very secretively) they said that if we build them up, they'll work hard to get more of that praise.  The younger G (about 65) said that men have very big egos.  And the more we build them up, the more they'll want to please us.
The oldest G (about 78) said that our first allegiance must be to God.  If our husbands ask us to do something that is against the Word of God, we must obey God and not man.  They both began a side note that if you're a believing wife married to an unbelieving husband, you're living in "double jeapordy."  You're having to be the spiritual leader for your children and still try to respect your husband as the leader of your home.  I thought that terminology was very interesting.
Because they were so hesitant to get into practical ideas of respect, I decided to approach it a different way.  I asked them what disrespect looked like to them.  (This got interesting!)  They said one of the worst ways to disrespect your husband is to do anything in public that was disrespectful....such as rolling your eyes, your sarcasm, your jokes that put him down, your tone of voice, your disdain.  That not only disrespects your husband, but encourages others to think of him that way.  They also said to interrupt your husband when he's trying to tell you something (even if you think you know where he's going w/ his story!) is highly disrespectful.  In fact, the younger G got red-faced telling me this one!
I asked them what they thought of a wife who disagreed with or corrected their husband.  They said they didn't think there were many men who had a problem with a wife disagreeing with or correcting their husbands, but it was the "HOW and the WAY" they did it!  They said tone of voice, body language, attitude are all important when speaking to him.  They said it's very important to choose your timing.  In fact, God has already been teaching me this one----to give God the first opportunity to correct your husband!  Too often, I jump in where God won't even go!!  G&G told me that marriage is made stronger with this kind of interchange.  But you need to be just as willing to be corrected by your husband.
There's more, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow.  Wow!  I never dreamed what I'd find out from 2 wise men in Borger Wednesday!  Very enlightening.
Father, thank You for G&G and their wisdom and their willingness to talk to me, to instruct me.  Bless them, God.  Bless their marriages.  Bless our marriages, Father!!  Make us respectful wives.  Make ME a respectful wife.  Help me to choose my tone and my timing carefully.  Quicken my spirit when I'm in the middle of a situation to hear You!!  I love you, Daddy!  In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 24 of 30 Days of Praise

This morning I'm praising God for Jesus' example.  This morning I read John 14.  I highly recommend it!  This is what verses 30 & 31 say, 
"I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me. [He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, and he has no power over Me.  But [Satan is coming and] I do as the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know (be convinced) that I love the Father and that I do only what the Father has instructed Me to do. [I act in full agreement with His orders.] Rise, let us go away from here."
Jesus only did what the Father instructed Him to do.  A few verses earlier, here's what Jesus says about us, "The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]" 
So today, I'm asking God to give me a new hunger for His Word.  In order for me to hear God's instructions and not be deceived, I have to be in His Word.  In order to obey God and keep His commands, I have to know what they are.  In order to be like Jesus, I have to know what He did.  
When my kids were all in school, I realized one day I'd never read through the whole Bible.  So I set out to do just that.  And what that did was create an insatiable appetite for the Word.  It was a glorious time.  Of course, life changes.  I no longer have a whole day to sit and read and study the Bible.  But I do have time.  Recently, I realized how little time I was devoting to once again, I've purposed to get in the Word.  It changes you.  It builds faith.  (Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.")  It transforms you and renews your mind.  It leads you into Truth!  I want to love the things Jesus loved.  I want to do the things Jesus did.  I want to be like Him.
Father, thank You that You didn't leave us without examples to follow---and the greatest of these is Your own Son, Jesus.  Thank You for Your Word that instructs us and gives us the Way to LIFE!  Thank You that You love us.  I want to please You, Father.  I want to be an example for others to follow.  Keep me close to You.  Oh!  And thank You for sealing Your Spirit inside me to teach me---what a deal!  You've blessed me, Daddy---and I love you!!  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I want to do funny stuff....

But that's not where God has me right now! I love reading all of your funny blogs and seeing your hysterical pictures, though.
Have you ever wondered why you batted your eyes at your man, hung on his every word, laughed hysterically at his corny jokes, and told him how smart, handsome, adorable, etc., etc. he was when you were dating? And then when you got married....Poof! Those very same things began driving you nuts! As Jodina & I walked, talked & prayed this morning, she figured it out! (Now do you see why I like hanging around this girl so much??)
The curse comes in when you MARRY!
Oh. My. Goodness. The curse that says, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16.
But praise God! When we give up control, when we learn to submit, when we begin REDEEMING, the curse is broken. Well, it's broken anyway (at the cross), but that's when it's broken--practically--in our lives.
Do you want to redeem? Then "date" your husband again. Laugh over his craziness. Join him in those adorable things he does. Dance when he turns on that loud rock 'n roll music. Clip your nails right along with him. LOVE him. ADORE him. ADAPT to him.
And by the way, I encourage you and your girlfriends to talk about God-things when you're together. It keeps you from gossiping or being critical. Jodina & I try to walk every morning...ok, at least 3-4 mornings a week...and that's when we do soul-searching together, talk about what God's done, and pray for our families. I love that girl!!

Day 23 of 30 Days of Praise

Ezekiel 14:1-5; 12-14 (New Living Translation)
"Then some of the leaders of Israel visited me, and while they were sitting with me,  this message came to me from the Lord “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests?  Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves.  I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols'...Then this message came to me from the Lord “Son of man, suppose the people of a country were to sin against me, and I lifted my fist to crush them, cutting off their food supply and sending a famine to destroy both people and animals.  Even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, their righteousness would save no one but themselves, says the Sovereign Lord."

Father, thank You that You are faithful to Yourself and to Your Word.  Thank You that You pursue a relationship with me.  Forgive me for the idols that I have set up in my heart.  Forgive us as a nation for our sin against You.  I want to pursue You with all that I am.  I give You my heart, soul, spirit and body.  I want to hear Your voice, Father.  I want to live a righteous life, Father.  Teach me.  I submit to You.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Sisters

Day 22 of 30 Days of Praise

Sisters, I'm about to share a secret with you. And it's a secret God shared with my prayer partners & me this morning. God is so good---and so faithful! He wants us to "get" this!! So listen closely. It's important and I want you to "get" this, too.
Yesterday, as I was walking with Jodina, I was telling her how I'd learned from Gary Smalley (I think it was him!) years ago that men learn with word pictures. For instance, if your husband was pressuring you to buy a new car and you knew you didn't have the money for that, you might tell him this: "You know, Gene (good neutral name!), you've asked me to take care of our finances and I have. That's like you've put a backpack on my back. I'm equipped to do it. But because of our debt, it's like bricks have been added to that backpack. And every time you tell me new things you want, it's like you're adding another 20 lb. brick! This backpack is getting too heavy for me to carry." That's a word picture.
So we talked about how visual our men are. They need to "see" something to understand.

Well, this morning as we met to pray, Jodina read from I Peter 3:1-2. (We've been camped at I Peter 3 for YEARS!) It says this: "In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives, When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]."
Did you catch it? Jodina caught it first...When they observe our pure modest way in which we conduct ourselves!! It's been there all along! Men are visual. They're not going to change because of anything we SAY---it's going to be by what they observe. In fact, as you may have read yesterday, my words get in the way. Think about Eve. She got in-between Adam & God. Yet she was the one deceived!!! Adam knew the rules about the tree, but he was hearing Eve instead of God. She got in the way with her words.
You know, some of these Truths have been spelled out for us all along. For instance, 30 years ago when we were being taught how to love our husbands and submit, we were trying to love them. But Ephesians 5 clearly tells us what both the man and woman need. It wasn't until I read Dr. Emerson Eggerichs book, "Love & Respect," that I saw it! Ephesians 5 tells us that men need respect and women need love! God had it there all along. Daniel 12:4 says, "But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the Book until the time of the end. [Then] many shall run to and fro and search anxiously [through the Book], and knowledge [of God's purposes as revealed by His prophets] shall be increased and become great." Knowledge and understanding of God's Word is increasing. Isn't that exciting??
What do you think of when you read this verse? Genesis 2:18 "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." When I asked my friends what they thought it meant, here are some of the answers we gave:
1. Help him change.
2. Help him see where to go
3. Help him make decisions
Eve probably did those things in the Spirit until the fall. But then the curse came in that she would want to control her husband. So now our flesh gets in the way. My flesh wants to control my husband. I want to change him. I want to tell him where to go. I want to manipulate his decisions. (I'm being honest, here!)
But what does it really mean for me now? Me telling my husband what to do isn't going to help him. My actions will. He's not going to be persuaded by my words (at least in the right way). I need to learn to be quiet and not get in-between him and God. What happens if I manipulate and he does what I tell him----and it fails? He blames me. And he feels justified in that. And he doesn't change.
I know...I know. This is a lot to take in. And it's all new to me. So it's hard to put it down in words because I haven't fleshed it all out yet. I just know that I don't want to get in-between my husband and God. I want my husband to see by my actions a "picture" of submission, grace and obedience.
Jeremiah 6:16 says, "Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it!"
Walk in the paths God has told you will work---from ancient times. Be a visual aid for God. WE ARE GOD'S VISUAL AID--HIS "WORD PICTURE"--FOR OUR HUSBANDS!! Do you get that??? Do we trust God enough to get out of His way? We may have to bind fear in our lives to do it. But I want to be a channel that God can flow through. I want to bless and not curse. I want to submit and leave the results to God. Do you realize what's at stake? The GENERATIONS coming behind us!! Esther had no idea a nation would be saved because she learned how to submit. She didn't get in the way of God. She didn't speak up to save herself until she was counseled to do so---and only after calling for a nation to fast and pray. Is that not a picture for us???
Father, help me. I want to get this. I want to learn that my words are not important---but my behavior is. My words may not be remembered, but how I live will be. Help us as women learn to hold our tongues. Help us to have pure, modest behavior. Bind control and manipulation from us. Loose pure hearts. Loose faith in You! You've never failed us...and You've worked in spite of us! You're so awesome and Your ways are past finding out. Oh!! And thank You for sharing Your secrets with us!!! I love You, Daddy! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Day 21 of 30 Days of Praise

Did you know that I'm not my husband's teacher, his counselor, or his Holy Spirit? He doesn't need my help at all!! Ok...I know. God calls me his "helpmeet," but he really doesn't need me. He especially doesn't need my "guidance." So why do I feel this extraordinary need to correct him or "suggest" ways of doing things? Am I the only one here or can I hear a "that's right!" in the house?

If you'll remember, the reason I started the 30 Days of Praise was because I wanted to praise God while I learned to pursue this thing of encouraging my husband's dreams. (Refer to Day 1 of 30 Days of Praise) Now I'll admit to you that I'm in a totally new arena of my life. You may be pleased to know that I HAVE asked my husband what his dream is....and he's told me. I've also told him that I'm ready to help him achieve his dream. (The revelation of what that is may come later---it's really his to tell.) Have you asked your husband what his dream is? One of my friends was delighted when she found out what her husband's dream was---it was more than she expected. Another friends' husband had to think on it. My friend was sad---it made her think that his dreams had been squelched for way too long. It's RISKY!! You know that? It's risky to ask, knowing then you'll be responsible to get behind your husband.

But another thing I'm learning is that God may then begin preparing your husband and you for that dream---or your future. I'm trying to learn to keep my mouth shut so God can do all the talking to my husband. It's made me realize I've put myself in the position God has wanted all this time. Hmmm...might that be called idolatry?

The thing that has surprised me is that I thought my husband would rush right out to take his dream. That hasn't happened. He seems to be waiting on God. Now come on...really!! Don't you think if the person who'd been hindering you all these years got out of the way that you wouldn't run out to get it? This is surprising the dickens out of me. Who'dathunk?

I just want to encourage you in your own journey of encouraging your husband's dreams. "And the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband---obeying, praising and honoring him." Ephesians 5:33
Press onward, sisters!
Father, thank You for my husband. Thank you that he loves You and listens to You. Thank You that he's obedient to You. Thank You that he's a man I can follow wholeheartedly. I praise You for this gift You've given me. I praise You for the dreams You've planted in his heart. Fulfill his dreams, Father. Keep me out of the way with my mouth shut. I know in my head he doesn't need my instruction--bring it on down to my heart! Teach me, Holy Spirit. Counsel me every step of the way. Thank You for how You're changing me. I love You for it. Help all my friends out there who are brave enough to take this journey with me. Bless them, God. I love You, Daddy! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Day 20 of 30 Days of Praise

The thought just crossed my mind: What am I going to blog about after 30 Days of Praise??? Yikes!! Oh well...I'm wordy enough something will come to me!
I'm praising God today for sisterhood. What a wonderful thing God did to put little hooks in our hearts that can only be connected to another sister. Sisters come in all sizes, ages and shapes, too.
I have one biological sister. I prayed for this sister to come into existence!! No joke. I began praying for a sister and---Wahlah! My mom got pregnant---with no intention of getting pregnant. So I took full responsibility for this sister when she was born. I was 8 years old at the time so my best friend & I would spend hours pushing her up and down the sidewalk in an old-fashioned baby carriage. I can remember crying when she got her first spanking. I also remember the day she fell off the kitchen counter and as mom & dad were trying to get her to breathe again, I was yelling & screaming, "She has a sucker in her mouth!!!" No wonder I panicked over everything my own kids did!!! I'm just no good in emergencies. Back to the real subject....I love my sister, Sandra.
But as I've gotten older, I've gained lots of sisters. I have sisters that helped me through the little kid stage. We would go out to get a coke at night while our husbands watched the kids (I refuse to call that "babysitting") about once a month. We did wild and crazy things while we were out. I swear that's how we kept our sanity through those days! We went and planted tampons in another friends' yard---the kind that "bloom" when wet. HYSTERICAL! There's so much more to that story....
I have sisters who have walked through tragedies with me. We've cried together, wailed together, prayed and fasted together. We've literally held each other's hands while walking through some very tough times.
I have sisters who challenge me! They are the iron---that sharpens my iron. They don't let me get by with anything! (Sometimes I wish they would!!) They give it to me straight and keep me on the path of Truth.
I have a sister that came in the form of a daughter. That began while I was still mothering her. We had 2 other sisters that we'd go get a coke with about once a month and we'd drive around Borger talking and laughing together. We'd even do spiritual warfare occasionally. I never knew Amy would become such a sweet sister to me. I might add that the same has happened with my 3 daughters-in-law.
I have sisters from other nations. I never expected that one!! But how awesome. We keep in close contact with email and share burdens and successes with one another.
Father, I praise You for sisters. What a wonderful idea you had!!! Thank You for understanding that we would need that. Thank you for creating us with that need, desire and the way to fulfill it. You are awesome to make us so multi-dimensional. I can't believe You're a man!! hee-hee! You're so good to us. For those who don't have a sister yet, give them one! I know they need it. Thank You for mine. I love you Daddy. In Jesus' name, Amen
Here's a pic of me with some of my sisters.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I GOT it!!!

I finally got it!  Blogging is the adult version of Myspace.

Cartoon Ryan

Ryan & Addie came to see us today.  Well, ok...their parents came, too.  We had so much fun with them.  Pops played "roughhouse" with them.  (He pounds them with pillows on our bed and then they hide under the pillows and covers until someone comes to find them)  But as they were getting ready to leave, Ryan did the funniest thing I've ever seen a kid do.  He put his arms up and back like a cartoon character getting ready to run fast and then as he took off, he made a short, light noise, "Shwew" and took off running.  He was running like they do in the cartoons----with the added sound effect!  Pretty cute!
(Wish I had a camera to show you what it looked like.  Sigh....)  But here's a picture of my favorite superheroes!!  From left to right:  Josiah, Ryan, Isaac & Addilyn Belle (Addie Belle).

Day 19 of 30 Days of Praise

I learned something from a young man named Jake yesterday.  Jake has been the youth intern at our church this summer---sharp guy!!  I'd asked him to come and "preach" at Living Water yesterday before he headed out for college.  I praise God for these young people He's raising up as our future leaders!  He had a dynamic word and I only hope I can relay it and give it the credit it deserves.
Jake told us that even though he'd grown up in a Christian home, he'd totally dismissed God and gone into a wild lifestyle in high school.  He hung out with an atheist, who even though he said he didn't believe in God, was angry with a God he didn't believe existed!  Jake said his idea of God was someone sitting up in heaven with a tally book waiting for him to mess up.   He said that because God knew we wouldn't understand who He was, He sent His son to earth.  Jesus stepped out of His royal robes and put on a skin suit and stepped into earth. Now...(this is where it gets good!) he said....Jesus had spent all this time watching His father.  He'd learned what moved God's heart.  He knew how much God loved us.  So Jesus loved the prostitutes, the tax collectors, etc.  In fact, He loved them so much, he spent time with them.  This made the religious leaders angry.  But that didn't move Jesus---He kept right on doing what He knew His father would do.  Bottom line...(and this is because this is so much on my mind right now)...what I took from it was this:  God the Father mentored God the Son.  Is that not an awesome thought???  And one I'd never considered.  Jesus said He did nothing apart from what His father told Him to do.  Wow!!
I love learning from someone as young as Jake!  I think he's probably 20 years old.  What an awesome young man!!  (And if you have a single daughter, he'd be a GREAT catch---very cute, too! ha!)  The end of Jake's story goes like this.  He got in a crisis situation.  A man got out of prison and called him and told him he was coming to kill him.  Jake's atheist friend told him, "Man, you need to get right with God!"  LOL!  Isn't that funny---how God used his atheist friend?  Jake immediately got on his knees and told God that if He got him out of this situation, he'd serve God the rest of his life.  The guy wanting to kill him came and sat beside Jake at a ball game---and never saw Jake.  Jake said it was if he were looking right through him.  Jake gave his life to God then and is serving Him now.  He quoted a verse where Jesus told the religious leaders that "if you can't believe in Me, believe in the miracles I do."  Jake believed because of this miracle he saw God do in his life.  And he's quite the preacher!!
Father, I want to praise You for Jake and all the young people like him that You're raising up for this next generation.  Make them Truth-Seekers.  Guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Keep them from temptation.  Teach them, train them, mentor them.  I praise You that You gave us the Holy Spirit to do that very thing.    Bless Jake, God.  I thank You for what I learned yesterday.  I love you, Daddy!  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Interesting night

I had an interesting night last night.  Let me back up...I was so tired yesterday that I called Ember to tell her I just couldn't come to her house at 3.  Now if you know me, I love getting together and that was highly unusual for me to do any canceling!  But I was pooped!  So I came home and promptly fell asleep at 3 and didn't wake up until 5 when my phone rang.  Andy & I didn't do much last night...we just rested.  But I had to get up around 7 this morning to go to Living Water, so I set my alarm.  I was afraid with the state I was in, I wouldn't wake up on my own.  So when my alarm went off, I grabbed it and quickly shut it off (as Andy snorted) and went and jumped in the shower.  Andy came in and raised his voice and asked, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?"  I calmly replied that I was getting ready for work.  Then came the kicker:  "At 2:00 in the MORNING?"  ARRRGGHHHH!!!  
Thankfully, I hadn't shampooed my hair at this point, so I toweled off and went back to bed---where I laid awake going through my to-do list.  I'm really clean today---I showered again at the real 7:00 a.m.
I think I need to check my alarm clock battery.  "Alma...check your battery!" Sister Act

Door to the Church of the Sepulcher


I love this photo.  I took it of the door to the Church of the Sepulcher in Jerusalem, Israel.

Day 18 of 30 Days of Praise

I had a real life example of "what not to do to my husband" yesterday while I was at work at Living Water.  There's an older man who was in our church that I just love!  I'll call him Harry.  He reminded me alot of my dad (who has gone to be with the Lord), and I'd told him that.  We have a great relationship.  He volunteered at Living Water, so I saw him 2-3 times a week as he came up to help.  A few months ago, he and his wife (I'll call her Betty) moved to a retirement center in Amarillo.  I was so sad to see Harry leave, but knew it was a wonderful thing for them, so we sent them off with our blessing.  I really hadn't gotten to know this couple at our church because I had no occasion to be around them much.  But since I'd started directing Living Water a year ago, I'd gotten to know Harry, but still hadn't gotten to know Betty well.
Well, yesterday, they dropped by Living Water to see me.  Actually, Harry had tried to get there earlier to see all the guys, but Betty just wouldn't get around soon enough for them to make it earlier. (This had happened once before, too----they'd miss the guys by minutes!) the past when Harry was coming to Living Water to volunteer, the guys would sit around for 30-45 minutes after working to drink coffee, talk and pray and I'd come in on the tail end of their time and chat and/or pray with them.  It's been one of my favorite times!  I'd recognized the wisdom these men had and would ask them question after question.  I've learned so much through them.  And Harry was one of those men with that wisdom.
Well, I've learned that it's hard to get a question in edge-wise with Betty.  She monopolizes the conversation and tells things about Harry that embarrasses him.  She brought some of his slacks to donate to LW because "Harry's eating so much at this retirement center that he's outgrown all his clothes!  I keep trying to keep tabs on him, but he won't listen."  She also said, "It's a good thing I'm not a jealous woman.  All these women at the retirement center keep telling me what a wonderful man I'm married to."  And this was said in a way that questioned their sanity.  I would try to gear questions to Harry to include him in the conversation, but Betty would jump in with an answer before Harry could talk.
Harry never said much.  He looked at the floor alot.  You could tell he was grieved that we didn't get to have a quality conversation.  I was too.  Before he left, he came to me and hugged me and as he was hugging me, he quietly said, "Becky, you and Andy are so special to me.  You are welcome to come see us anytime!"
I've thought alot about that time with Harry & Betty since yesterday.  I know what a wise man he is.  I've heard him talk about his time in the army with humility.  (He got lots of medals.)  In fact, he's just a humble man.  He'd bring banana nut bread every Friday for all the volunteers.  For months, I told him every week to thank Betty for the banana nut bread.  One week, I wrote her a thank-you note and that's when I found out that she wasn't making it---he was!  But he'd never correct us and take the credit.  He has so much to offer those around him----if he had the opportunity!  
Wow!  How often do I interfere with who my husband is...or could be?  It's made me examine my own life and allow God to probe into my heart and mind and uncover my hidden sins.  It makes me sad for Harry.  What a great guy!  And yet his wife casts aspersions on him.  I hurt for Betty, too.  She's missing out.  If she followed her husband's lead, she would become much gentler and learn to listen!  What could they become as "one?"  
Father, thank you for lessons---even in the negative.  Help me learn from my friends.  Make me a listener.  I want to have the kind of humility Harry has.  I want to build up my husband.  God, You know my flesh.  You know it doesn't want to do this or learn how to be this way.  So help me!!  Bind up my flesh and make me alive to Your Spirit!  And Father, would You please bless Harry?  Would you motivate Betty to get to Borger earlier next time so Harry can see his buddies?  Help Betty to listen, too.  I come in agreement for what You already desire for me in this, God.  Thank you.  I love you, Daddy!  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day 17 of 30 Days of Praise

I'm going to praise God all day long for my FRIENDS! I know I'm the richest woman in the world because of my friends. Andy & I discussed this at length on our way to Florida. Where would we be without our friends? I can't imagine living anywhere else---and not getting to be around my friends on a regular basis. They've invested in our lives---and hopefully, we have in theirs. We have friends that know our ugly warts and all and still like hanging around us. That amazes me! I've watched Jay & Amy develop the same kind of friendships in Dalhart and it blesses me to see young families making those same kind of investments. And it also increased my friendship base---those friends of Amy's have become my friends.
When we got back to Amarillo from Florida, we went to eat dinner with David & Lindsey at Rosa's. David turned to me and said, "See that grayheaded guy back there? I know him from somewhere." I turned and looked----and it was our good friend from 24 years ago---Frank DeRight! We had a reunion right there in Rosa's! He was, in fact, Andy's best friend while Andy was youth minister at our first church. Later, I asked David if he knew how old he was the last time he saw Frank. He was a whopping 2 1/2 years old!!!! But he knew that he knew him. We were that close of friends that David remembered him.
I don't think I could survive without close friendships. And now I have friends who know everything about me, who pray with me, who carry me when I can't go another step.
I'm blessed to even think that Jesus had close friendships. He narrowed the crowds down to 12. He took his 3 best friends up the mountain---Peter, James & John---to witness a transfiguration. And John continually calls himself Jesus' best friend. I like that pattern Jesus left for us. God tells us there will be friends who stick closer than a brother. I hope you've found that kind of friend.
Father, thank You for friends. I'm blessed by the friends You've brought into my life. They nourish my soul. Would You do something special in their lives today just because they've blessed me so much---and just let them know it's a little gift for being such a good friend? I love you, Daddy. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 16 of 30 Days of Praise

I'm tired. Pooped! But I praise God for good health. Legs that can walk, ears that can hear, eyes that can see---HAIR! Have you thought about your hair?? A woman who had cancer made me mindful to thank God for my hair. I praise God for teeth to eat. I praise God for a tender heart---a heart that takes in each moment with my grandkids. A heart that is proud of my kids. I praise God for a husband who loves me and loves Him, most of all. I praise God for life. I've had to laugh this week as my grandkids wonder at how old we are and if we need to start sitting in the senior adult section at church (this from Caitlin one Sunday this month!) LOL!
Father, thank you for my health. Thank you that I could have an overnight with grandkids before traveling to Florida to see my kids and grandkids. Thank you that I had energy to pick up grandkids on the way home. I praise You for these moments. Thank You for the life You've given me. I couldn't have chosen better myself! I love you, Daddy! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Flying with Ryan & Addie Belle

Andy & I flew from Florida to Dallas and then stopped to pick up Ryan & Addie to fly on to Amarillo with us. Their Daddy & Mommy (David & Lindsey) were moving all their things to Amarillo where David will work at Hoffbrau until a church position as worship leader opens up.
You could tell Ryan & Addie had missed out on their nap---I'm sure they were too excited over everything that was going on to sleep. A friend brought them to the airport and Ryan high-fived him good-bye and Addie ran to him and planted a kiss on his lips. They love Austin.
We walked to the ticket counter where I could tell Ryan was already gearing up for a good cry. I leaned down and asked what was wrong and he told me he wanted his mommy & daddy. I promised him that we were on our way to see them. It got worse as they began bagging his car seat as we checked it. I asked why he was crying and he didn't want them taking his car seat! I told him they were going to put it on the plane for us and it would meet us in Amarillo (while I whispered a prayer that it would make it!!). So we began walking towards the metal detector gate with Ryan dragging a little and Addie dancing all around us. When Ryan found out he had to put his shoes in the x-ray machine, he just lost it. It was just getting a little personal now. And to top it off, the machine ate one of his shoes and they had to stop the whole thing and fish it out. But as that crisis was over, we walked to the gate---shoes on and all! I decided a Happy Meal would make us all happy, so the kids & I walked to Gate 4 to purchase said Happy Meal. (What was I thinking?? How was I going to get 2 kids and 3 Happy Meals back to the gate---where Pops was waiting?) We made it back and began chowing down on french fries, at least. It did the trick! Ryan perked up. Or maybe it was the toy from the Happy Meal, I'm not sure. Anyway, we played with Star Wars characters until we were able to load on the big, big jet plane (Addie's version). We got settled into the plane (me in the middle of 2 kids...where was Andy??) and I began dishing out the goodies. The take-off wasn't scarey at all (Addie: We're not scared, huh, Guh?). I told Addie to look outside at the little bitty cars and houses. Here was her response in magnified amplification: "WWWOOOOWWW!!!" Everyone around us began laughing. Ryan was very into his Nemo coloring book. But he did look out the window occasionally. But things really got exciting when they got to order whatever they wanted to drink on the plane---SPRITE FOR EVERYONE!!! Luckily, Guh had brought along Whales & Mini Cookies (Ryan-ism: Donut cookies [They had a hole in the middle!]) for the trip. So we settled back to enjoy our refreshments and try to balance 3 drinking cups at the same time.
The best moment came as we landed (Addie: "We're not scared, huh, Guh?") and we all stood in the aisle to disembark. Addie asked in that same loud voice, "Can we go again, Popsth?" (Yeah...where was he?!?!) And once again, we had the crowd in stitches!!

His "best girl"

I had a great time in Florida. What's not to love? The weather was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, my family is was great! I love Josiah's well-developed sense of humor. He's hysterical!! He kept teasing me on the way to the airport that he'd lost his gum. Of course, he could hardly talk around it in his mouth, but he was trying to convince me that he'd swallowed it. Olivia is changing every day. She got upset when we got there because the boys were so "welcoming," but by the time we left, she was reaching for us and giving us huge grins. She learned to hold the phone up to her ear and say, "hello" while we were there. She waves bye-bye to me all the time. What a sweetie! I got to teach Isaac how to blow a bubble with his gum. I'm sure his tongue is sore from all the practice. But what made my trip so special was our ride to the airport to come home. I sat in the back in-between the boys' car seats (yep---tight sqeeze!!) and Isaac held my hand the entire way. He kept telling me, "I'm going to miss you, Gee." Of course, he'd been saying this for 2 days when he realized our time was short. But at one point, he leaned into my ear and whispered, "Gee, I'll call you every day!" For a moment in time, I was Isaac's "best girl." What a memory to treasure in my heart.
This morning, as I was thinking on writing this in a blog, a memory popped into my mind. This is his heritage. I remember his mommy doing something very similar. Amy loved going to visit my parents when she was young. I remember when she was about Isaac's age that she told my dad, "Papa, I'm going to marry you when I get big!" He promised her that he'd wait on her. He must have held that in his heart, too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 15 of 30 Days of Praise

I'm still taking tests over keeping my big, fat mouth shut. And I have the canker sores to prove it! Oh God, please help me pass this test!! I'm so tired of having to take this one over and over. I sure wish you graded on the curve.
I'm sure those of you reading don't have this problem. And if you've passed, you can pray for me to pass. You know my struggle.
I wish I didn't care what people thought. I wish I didn't feel responsible for others' actions. I wish things rolled off my shoulders like a duck's back. I wish I didn't tense up or get stressed out when I'm embarressed. Sigh....
I have so far to go. The thing I'm praising God for this morning is that He doesn't demand perfection from us. THANK YOU, GOD!!! He wants us to "get" these life lessons, but He knows our frailty. He knows how imperfect we are. After all, He created us.
But I do want to learn. I do want to get these lessons down. Because I want to live for the praise of His glory. I want to please my Daddy.
Father, I praise You this morning for wanting me to succeed---even though you don't demand perfection. Thank You that You haven't asked me to do something that You aren't willing to help me with. I praise You for Your grace. I rest in Your grace. I willn't (Josiah-ism!!) carry what isn't mine to carry today. Thank You that You're willing to carry my heavy burdens!! I love you, Daddy! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fun day at St. Augustine

We started out our day going to St. Augustine. We found a beach where we walked out into the water and sank our feet into the soft, silty sand. It was beautiful. And we couldn't have asked for a better day!
We drove into St. Augustine and Jay saw a sign for a fort he'd studied about in 2nd grade (in a silver book, no less!) We were all excited to tour the fort. The boys absolutely were amazed with the jail inside the fort. Josiah made us all go look at it a couple of times, at least. "Guys! Guys! Come look at the jail!" They got to see canons up close and personal and the cannon balls. Pretty amazing stuff. It really is overwhelming to think this is the first city established in the good ol' U.S.A. and the oldest fort here. Wow!
Then we drove through downtown St. Augustine and it looks like a really great place for a date weekend---if your husband will let you shop. Horse-drawn carriages and everything!
We made it to the outlet mall and hurriedly ran into a few shops. There were some cute kid stores where Amy found a couple of things for Olivia. And Isaac & Josiah found some toys they couldn't live without.
We came back to the house (it's only about a 45 min. drive to St. Augustine!) and Jay grilled some great burgers for us. We ate while Olivia took a nap. After we cleaned up a bit, Amy woke Olivia up for her birthday party. She was seated in her high chair in the middle of the floor with her bib and diaper on. She got a cupcake and this girl CHOWED DOWN on that cupcake! She loved it!!! The boys were so excited for her. She got to open her gifts and the boys were very impressed with her little purse.
It was such a fun day. I know Amy will be posting pictures of it all. I'm so glad we got to celebrate Olivia's 1st birthday with her----even if it was a little early.

Day 14 of 30 Days of Praise

I praise God for His church. His ONE church. I praise Him for the many expressions in that church. I recognize that God didn't create denominations---man did. He's only and forever had one church.
Amy & I were talking about some theological issues last night and came into agreement that we need to approach any issue with an open mind---an open mind towards Truth. Instead of assuming we know what anyone believes, we should ask genuine questions that lead to understanding. Just like we want to be understood, we should desire to come to an understanding of others.
You know, I believe that is what God is doing in these days---bringing His church into agreement. That was always God's desire. John 17:11 says, "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one." God wants us to be one.
Father, I praise You for Your oneness. I praise You that You desire to include us in that oneness! That amazes me. But I understand it. Just like I desire oneness for my family, You do the same. I hate it when there is dissension in my family. I would hate it if they made divisions---each claiming they had the only way back to me--that they knew my heart better than their siblings. Forgive us, Father, for these divisions among us. Bring us into oneness. I agree with Jesus' prayer---make us one as You are one. Quickly!! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My flesh

It HURTS to kill your flesh!!!!! AARRRGGHHHH!!!!!

Day 13 of 30 Days of Praise

I'm praising God just because He's worthy of my praise. I'm praising Him so the rocks don't have to. I want to praise Him. I need to praise Him. We were created for that very purpose.

Father, I praise You!! I love you. Thank You that You created me to praise You. You are so awesome. When I stop to praise You, I get overwhelmed that You even love me. Thank You for creating me for this purpose. Thank You that You've put it in each man's heart to praise You---even if they don't understand that purpose. Bring me into a deeper praise of You. In Jesus' name, Ah-men. (I'm about to go to an Anglican church...)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 12 of 30 Days of Praise

I praise God this morning for child-like faith. That's the way God wants us coming to Him. Just this morning, watching Olivia Anne, I'm reminded again of that child-like faith. She believes there will be someone to come get her out of her bed in the morning. She believes she will be fed. In fact, there's just no doubt in her mind! She expects it. She believes her diaper will get changed. She believes she's loved by her parents and brothers. She knows she is because they tell her so often and sing her songs to her to affirm it. She believes she'll be entertained. She believes she'll be protected. Her mom and brothers follow her around picking bugs up off the floor so she doesn't eat them---or taking the boys' toys away so she doesn't get hurt.

Now Olivia may not appreciate the timing of all this. And she certainly doesn't appreciate the rest that her parents insists she gets. But she knows her family loves her and will take care of all of her needs.

God does the same with us. He's promised that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. He's promised that He'll lead us into places of rest. He even entertains us. Have you thought about God's sense of humor? I heard Him laugh at me just the other day. My responsibility is to come to Him with child-like faith. An easy trust in my Daddy. I just need to believe that He will take care of all of my needs. He will.

Just look at these sweet pictures of Olivia with her parents and see how easily she trusts them. Notice how proud they are of her. Have you ever thought about God's feelings about you?

Father, thank you that You're the perfect Daddy. Thank you that you take care of all of my needs. I praise You for Your promises to me of Your great care of me. I praise You that no one loves me like You do. Thank You that Your plan for my life includes Your protection, Your provision and Your care. I love you, Daddy! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Olivia loved chowing down on Italian food!
We spent the day in downtown Jacksonville, Florida with the Wright family. Have I ever told you how the Wright brothers love to smell everything? All day long, Isaac & Josiah were smelling me. I was told I smelled either like "Gee" or "Gee's House." Ha! The boys got to play around a fountain and loved getting a little wet. We also got to see a bridge raised so a sailboat could float by. It's a fun place to visit!

A Day in Downtown Jacksonville

Day 11 of 30 Days of Praise

Today I want to praise God for His kindness. He does things for us to let us know that He cares about the details of our lives. How kind! He doesn't have to do that...but He does it for our encouragement.
It makes me think about Mary, the mother of Jesus. After the angel appeared to her and told her she was going to give birth to the Messiah, do you realize how many times God confirmed that message to her? (I actually haven't counted them...I was just seeing if you knew!) Elizabeth's baby lept in her womb and instantly Elizabeth knew and told her what the Spirit revealed to her. It was confirmed again by the angels in the sheperd's field and the sheperds. It was confirmed by Eli the priest and the woman at the temple.
All of these were things just expressing God's kindness to Mary, I think. Of course, it revealed the Truth to others, also. But how kind of God to confirm His message to Mary over and over. And He didn't do it just for Mary---He does it for us, too.
And if you need a confirmation, ask Him for one!
Father, thank You for Your kindness. Thank You that You want us to know that You're working for our benefit. Thank you for Your encouragement. Thank you for not leaving us alone in those difficult moments when You require so much of us. I praise You for Your everlasting kindness to us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Andy in Florida

This is a picture of Andy---"retiring" in Florida.

We made it!

We made it to Florida. It was a long drive, but so beautiful. We were so excited to see Jay, Amy & the kids. It's always so sweet to be greeted with shouts of "GEEEEE!!" and grabbed around the legs and hugged.
The amazing thing on my journey here was all the reading I did. I read biographies in this order: Hudson Taylor, Lottie Moon, Watchman Nee and The Heavenly Man by Bro. Yun. What AMAZED me is that these people's lives overlapped and even intersected. When I began reading Bro. Yun's book, he said his mother was led to the Lord by a Western missionary. And then when he wanted a Bible, a pastor told him to pray for a "heavenly book"---which is exactly what Lottie Moon called the Bible. WOW! Maybe this doesn't amaze you...but it did me.
Anyway, I'm contemplating on all I've read and learned.
And now I'm going to enjoy my Florida grandbabies.

Day 10 of 30 Days of Praise

Wow! I've made it to 10 days. And believe me...God is teaching me. I try so hard to soak in all that God is teaching me. I want it to become fruit in my life. I brought along some Christian biography books to read on the trip and I think an excerpt from Watchman Nee's book is in order. It sums up so well what I believe about submission. God doesn't care in what form we learn it---as long as we learn it. If we aren't submitting to our husbands, bosses, etc.....we aren't submitting to God. Period. So read this with an open heart. Margaret Barber was Watchman Nee's (WN from here on out) mentor.
"Stay broken," she would often say to him. "Don't believe all the good things people say about you. You must stay broken. His Word says that if your ways are pleasing to the Lord, He will make your enemies to be at peace with you. He is most pleased with your brokenness. Remember the cross, WN. You must stay broken."
And Miss Barber made sure he learned that lesson well. After WN joined her ministry, she purposesly put him under the charge of a supervisor who drove him to distraction. WN's temper flared up every time he disagreed with this man, who was a few years older but not nearly as gifted as he. Following each controversy, WN would find Margaret and heatedly state his grievances.
"He's wrong again!" WN would claim. "He never does anything the way I know it should be done. You must speak to him and correct him."
Predictably, Margaret would firmly reply, "The Scriptures say the younger should obey the elder. You have much to learn," she said, closing the matter. Time and time again, WN would walk away angry with her, the Scriptures, and life in general. But slowly the lesson began to take hold. Later he would write,
After a dispute, I would go to Sister Barber hoping that she would vindicate me. But I would weep again after she said, "Whether that coworker is wrong or not is another matter. While you are accusing your brother before me, are you like one who is bearing the cross? Are you like a lamb?" When she questioned me in this way, I felt very ashamed and I could never forget it....In that year and a half, I learned to obey an elder coworker and I came to realize what it is to bear the cross.
Father, thank you for heroes of the faith from our generation. Thank you for all they learned and left for us to learn through them. I praise You for these men and women who were just like us---trying to get these lessons down. Thank you for their encouragement. Please ask those people in our great cloud of witnesses to cheer a little louder so we can hear them clearly---encouraging us across the finish line. I love you, Daddy. You're so faithful. Bless the people reading this with the same drive to learn these lessons well. And bless this writer to get it down quickly!! In Jesus' name, Amen!
Congratulations! You just read a biography. Ha! I highly encourage you to get this series and keep them for your children to read some day. They're called "Heroes of the Faith" series and are put out by Barbour Publishing. They're written on a middle school level and are so easy to read and give you such a great insight into those who have gone before us! Do you see how important it is for your children to learn submission to you? To obey quickly? If they learn it as children, they won't have nearly the problem I'm having as an adult!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This is Addie at IHOP this morning reading her menu. She has a toothpick in her mouth---imitating Pops!

Ahhhh...the motion has stopped...for now.

Andy & I are on our way to Florida. We stayed with David & Lindsey last night and enjoyed our time with them immensely! We have the cutest grandkids in the world!!! We left them at the IHOP about 10 this morning and drove from Dallas to Mobile, Alabama. Andy had a goal (that I knew nothing about) to get to Pensacola, Florida tonight....but my hiney wouldn't make it. We had quite a time talking and laughing. I accused him of having road rage (or causing it!) and asked him why he was so angry when he drove. (He wanted to know why I wanted to psychoanalyze him.) But we got to the root. He wanted control. And he asked why I dug my fingernails into the dash and tried to backseat drive. We got to the root. I wanted control. HA! I was laughing so hard I was crying after this conversation.

Isn't control a funny thing? We all want it....and none of us has it! The best we can do as humans is self-control. THAT'S THE ONLY THING WE CAN CONTROL---OURSELVES! And yet we spend most of our lives trying to control people and situations all around us.

I've thought a lot today about submission and talked to Andy about it, too. I'm thinking that will be tomorrow's blog---if I get up in time to get it done before Andy pulls out. He has an agenda and I'm part of it, I think.

Sweet dreams. Roses on your pillow!


Holly raised a good point about submission. In Ephesians 5, we're told to submit to one another before the instructions are given individually to husbands and wives. Marriage IS about compromise, COMMUNICATION, and adapting. I guess where I'm coming from is that in order to submit---in ANY way----you have to first LEARN submission!! And the only way to do that is to practice in anything else we learn. And it's probably not offering an opinion if we haven't been asked for an opinion.
TRUST ME----I'M STILL LEARNING!!!! And a word to the wise here: Don't take anything I say as gospel. TEST IT OUT!! Check it against the Word of God.
No one person holds all Truth---that's why we need each other.
So...thanks, Holly, for that check-up.

Day 9 of 30 Days of Praise

I jabbed. I jibed. I avoided a quick left and rolled to the right. I ducked. I bounced. I fell against the rope.
That was my day yesterday in a small car driving with Andy from Borger to Dallas. I was ADAPTING. Now let me tell you what it really looked like. I adapted to Rush Limbaugh. I adapted to 70's music. I adapted to Andy "instructing" the world how to drive. I adapted to Michael Medved (can you tell my husband is an outspoken conservative?!?) I adapted to soul music---and Andy joining in in a soulish way. I adapted to tailgating.
And you know what??? Each time the Helper helped me. And because I was so aware of adapting, I LAUGHED!! Each time I laughed. (Inside of course---it wouldn't have helped my cause to laugh out loud!! I am a smart girl, after all.) It was so fun to see the Helper at work---doing His thing and doing it quite well, I might add.
I PASSED, girls!! I PASSED!!!! You do know that God gives us tests to see how well we're learning, don't you? We always get an opportunity to make an A. And there's no advancement until we do make an A. It's required. So you get to take the same type test until you can move on. It won't be the exact test---trust me on this one. (I've been stuck on the same test for months at a time---so I should know) But a like-test, all the same.
I'm so glad I passed this one. Pray for me today on our long car ride....I feel like there's another test coming, even if it's not the same type test.
Father, I praise you today for the help of the Helper. How exciting it was to see Him at work all day long. How exciting to know He was right there with me caring about my success. It was so much fun laughing with you all day long. I praise you for the A I made on this one. Please help me again today. I don't know what's in store, but I want to laugh with You again. I enjoy You, God. I love being with You. I want to enjoy this country You created as I travel along. Give Andy & I a refreshing, fun time together, too. I love YOU! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 8 of 30 Days of Praise

This morning, I met with my prayer partners again and God revealed some huge things to us. WOW! And then I've had a busy morning (and this happens alot!)---Satan stole what God showed us!! I sat down to blog and couldn't remember a thing. So I just called Jodina to ask her what it was that God taught us this morning. Thank goodness she remembered!

So many things...but I'll start here. You know it's so hard for us as women to give up control over our husbands because we fear where he'll take us. But do you realize that what we manipulate into being we become responsible for? For instance, Jodina shared this morning about her trip to Dallas this weekend with her family. She and the kids were ready to come home on Sunday. She had a choice. She could manipulate her husband into leaving---or submit and "let go" and go with the flow. (The reason I share her real-life example is because she passed the test!!) The thought that came to her to help her pass the test was this, "If I manipulate my husband into leaving, what if we have a wreck or a flat tire?" If any of those things would have happened, she would have felt responsible and possibly been blamed. Do you see how we become responsible for what we manipulate?

The other thing God showed me was a real-life example of a person who is at the end of their life who has manipulated her whole adult life. She has no one left to manipulate, so when she is around any of her family, it's like she is striking out with wild arms trying to rein someone in to manipulate, to hear her, to bring someone under control.'s the one wants to be around her. And...her manipulation is no longer low-profile.

You know what I mean by that, right? When you're young, you can cover up any manipulation and make it look like it "just happened" or you made a little suggestion and everyone was on board. When you get to middle age, you can't cover up quite as well. People around you recognize your manipulation for what it is. And the older you get, the more blatant it is. Why? Because as you age, your defenses drop. I'm sure you've seen it with your parents and grandparents. People care less the older they get about what others think---they feel they have the "right" to be outspoken or manipulative. Sometimes it's just become a habit.

I Peter 3:1 says this, "IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives..." ADAPT yourselves to your husbands. That may mean rolling with the punches every which way in a 24 hour period. I know some husbands who've been described as a Jekyll & Hyde. Adapt. Fit in. Let be. And whatever you do.....don't manipulate.

Father, help us as women. You knew what a hard position this would be. I want to praise you today for revealed Truth. Thank you that you haven't left us helpless, but you've given us a Helper to walk this winding path. You've given us a Helper to teach us not to manipulate. You've given us a Helper to help us let go. Helper, please help us as women. I know you understand our position. Thank You, Father, for all the help You have given and will give. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 7 of 30 Days of Praise

I'm praising God for His Word. Actually, I came upon that because of my daily Bible reading. I'm in Psalm 56. Verse 4 says this, "By [the help of] God I will praise His word; on God I lean, rely, and confidently put my trust; I will not fear. What can man, who is flesh, do to me?"
Wow. I praise God for His Word that teaches me, guides me, instructs me, admonishes me, builds me up, and empowers me. I praise God for the TRUTH of His Word!! I praise Him that there is an absolute Truth that I can depend on. Because of His Word, I don't have to fear. I can trust Him. He's a man of His Word!! He won't fail. His Word has never failed. It always accomplishes what it's sent out for.
I praise God that no matter where this journey takes me, His Word is faithful. His Word will guide me. His Word will encourage me.
I want to be faithful to God's Word. I want to be speaking it out so that it can accomplish what God desires! I want to be talking to my friends about the Word. I want to hold the Word up for people to see their need for God. I want to obey God's Word.
Just this morning at Living Water, I talked to a woman who was a believer but was living with a man. I didn't condemn her, but I asked her why they weren't married. She went into this long explanation of stuff that didn't matter but ended with the story of how she had her daughters in church because she wanted them to know the Truth. I told her she couldn't pick and choose the Truth she wanted to obey. We're accountable for all of the Truth the Word teaches. But that's just like me, huh? I've wanted to obey the Word...but just the part I wanted to obey. Hold me accountable---I'm through picking and choosing! What can man do to me???

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 6 of 30 Days of Praise

For those who are coming in late, I'm blogging for 30 days about my journey to "let go" and get out of the way so I can encourage the dreams that God has put in my husband's heart! I'm using PRAISE to get me on down the road quickly!
Today I want to praise God for those who have gone before me in this journey. I admire Sarah. God filled her heart with courage and faith to be able to follow her husband to a "country that they didn't know where it was." And then in I Peter 3, God tells us to be "good daughters of Sarah." So she's there for our example.
But I've been blessed as I've thought on the girls who are younger than me (my daughter, Amy, being the first that was my real-life example!!) that have already taken this journey. Psalm 100:5 says, "For the Lord is good. His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations." I'm so blessed to know that this next generation has worthy examples to follow!!
As I worshipped in church this morning, tears just began to flow as I thought of how God is leading this next generation---how He's raising up leaders for the future! It blesses me to see young women who are learning the same things I am---and even light years ahead of me! For the past 15 years, I've committed to be a Truth-seeker. And I'm so excited to see these young women who are seeking God's Truth, too. It blesses me to see their open hearts and their vulnerability. And it blesses me to see them ministering to me and to one another.
How can I not follow God's plan for my life when they've thrown down the challenge? I don't want to be left behind!! (And I love a good challenge!)
*And I'm posting this as Andy sits beside me smacking on his gum---makes me wonder if I really want to chase after him & his dreams! Argh!!*

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 5 of 30 Days of Praise

I want to praise God for His plan for my life. I know His plans for me are for good and not for evil, to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) I don't know how God has done it---did He make ONE plan in the beginning, knowing our willfulness and sinfulness and just include that in the plan? However He's done it, He's God. He knew the beginning from the end. And He has a plan for my life. I praise Him for it and want to come in agreement for it.
Here are some verses that God used to speak to me this morning:
Proverbs 16:3 "Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed."
Proverbs 19:21 "Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand."
Ephesians 5:15-16 "Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil."
Ephesians 2:10 (My "Life Verse") "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]."
Ephesians 1:10-12 "[He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. In Him we also were made [God's] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory!

Father, I come in agreement with Your Word. I know You have a plan all mapped out for me. I want to live for the praise of Your glory! I want to be unified with You and everything You're bringing into agreement with Yourself. I know this path won't always be easy--it may be extremely difficult at times (because Rachel has told me it will!), but keep my eyes focused on You, the Author and Finisher of my faith. And Father, bless Rachel. Encourage her, carry her burden, and help her across the finish line with finesse! Help us all, Father, as we sacrifice ourselves for Your purposes. We want to live for the praise of Your glory!! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Friday, August 8, 2008


I want a digital camera so I can post cool pictures on my blog. (whine...whine...) Everybody has such cool pictures.

Day 4 of 30 Days of Praise

Today, I want to praise God for His order. Yesterday, I talked about how God put man over woman---that order. Amy asked a question yesterday in the comment section, "I encouraged my husband's dream, now what?" Ha! I told her she was our forerunner and had to figure it out and tell the rest of us!! (This is what's cool as a parent---seeing your children race ahead of you! Remember Psalm 127:4? "As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth." When we shoot an arrow [our kids], they go further than we do---just make sure you're pointing them at the right target!)

Do you realize how few women are really mentioned in the Bible? Out of 66 books, only 2 are named after women. You'd think God's plan comes down through men. Hmmmm..... You know girls, we have been very "culturized." Our culture is teaching us how important we are as women. Our sitcoms portray men as bumbling idiots. Wow. It makes me realize what the enemy has done here. If God's plan comes through His order, and in His order, He's placed man over woman as the head, do you think He might want to use our husbands? Do you think He might have placed a dream in their hearts? Do you think He might be raising them up as world-changers? And do you think Satan might be trying to prevent it?

I know women are important. I think I'm coming to see, though, that God gave us the supporting actress roles. But we want to be the stars!! God loves women and has placed great value on them and in them. I love Proverbs 31. Basically, Lemuel's mom is telling him this is the kind of woman to find---don't be threatened by a woman who is intelligent and capable. She'll do you good all your life! And God used women to save nations---look at Esther and Deborah!

But more importantly, look how God has used men through the course of the Bible and history. And He's not through. He even created men with the need to conquer. He made them warriors (and hence, the photo!). And I believe He's placed dreams in our men's hearts. But they may have never even felt the freedom to examine those dreams. I just looked at Psalm 127:4 again---those arrows are in the warriors hands!! And all this time, I thought they were in my hands! I'm such a sad human being!!!

Honestly, as I began praising God for His order this morning, and began searching the Word to find what happens to a woman who encourages her husband's dreams---this is what I found. I found a book full of men who changed the world. (And of course, a few women) Now I can either praise God for His order and get on board....or I can be mad at God for not using women more---or at least rewarding them! Maybe the reward comes later (and I'm all about reward!). I'm choosing to praise God for His order---and I'm on board! It's not all about me. It's about God and His glory! And I want to see our world changed for His glory.

Father, thank you for the order You created. I come in agreement with You for that order and agree that this world--even my life--is not all about ME!! How do I get it so mixed up?? Father, You created us with a longing for significance. Help us to find our significance in You. And help me to be excited about Your plan--whatever that is or however You choose to use me, and more importantly, Andy. I want Your name to be made famous--not my own name. So get me in Your order. I want to be like you---willing to become a servant. Bless Your order, Father. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 3 of 30 Days of Praise

Today, I'm praising God for how my husband takes care of me financially. Andy works hard. He's the man you want to hire if you want someone who gives 110%! If you want a man of integrity, he's your guy. He's not one who cuts corners or does a half-way job. He's a man worthy of his hire.
And...I took up my friend's challenge last night and told Andy how glad I was that God had put him as head over me and how much I respected his leadership. Now I have to tell you---it was hard to get those words out of my mouth! Did I mean them? Absolutely! But Satan does not want us saying them. He knows how powerful it is---and how much our husbands need that encouragement.

This morning, I read I Peter 3. It has instructions to us wives---I hope it becomes one of your best friends! (By the way, I almost always read the Amplified version of the Bible. Every time I've checked out the Greek or Hebrew meaning of a word, the Amplified is dead-on! So I really love it.) It starts out with "In like manner, you married women be submissive to your own husbands..." In what like manner? Well, you have to back up to I Peter 2:18-24 to get the gist of what he's talking about. In the same like manner that slaves submit to their masters...In the same like manner that Jesus submitted to God...In the same like manner that Jesus suffered...

Whoa! Wait. A. Minute. Who said anything about suffering? Well, if your husband is your head and he doesn't obey the Word (and no one obeys the Word 100%!), you're gonna suffer. I Peter 2:21 even says that we've been called to suffer!! Then this chapter goes on to talk about Sarah. Was her husband a believer? Yes. Did he obey the Word? You're gonna have to check out Genesis 12 & 20 to see the answer to that. The guy GAVE AWAY HIS WIFE TO OTHER MEN! It just doesn't get much worse than that---what a major betrayal! So what is it you're supposed to do if he doesn't obey the Word? Preach it to him? (Trust me, I've tried that and it doesn't work! What's your response when someone tries to tell you what to do? REBELLION!) No. He's going to be won over by the pure respectful behavior of his wife. It WON'T be by one thing you say! It's going to be by how you behave---how you respond to him. So...what should your response be? Read I Peter 3:2, "When they observe the pure and modest way in which you conduct yourselves, together with your reverence [for your husband; you are to feel for him all that reverence includes: to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband]."
Reverence, respect, defer to, revere him, honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, adore him, admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love & enjoy your husband! WOW! I can hear some of you now. You might say, "Yeah, don't know my husband. He doesn't think of others. He's a very selfish man. husband is not a Christian. husband is a down-right, dirty, rotten jerk!!"
That's all covered in I Peter 3:1. "...if any do not obey the Word..." I don't think this is talking about an abusive relationship. I think it's talking about where most of us live. Most of us have never had this extreme example---but take a look at Sarah.
I love Sarah. What was her response when her husband asked her to tell people that she was his sister? (He was being disobedient to the Word---he was lying to protect his own skin!) She obeyed. She told people that she was his sister. (She was his half-sister) She died to her desires--she killed her flesh. And she still respected her husband. Wow! And God moved in miraculously to protect her. I believe Sarah was willing to die---she trusted God that much! We don't have a problem submitting to God, but when we start talking about submitting to a man, most women have a problem. Why is that? Because we trust God! We believe He's looking out for our best interest! We're not sure our men are. But if we really trust God....we should trust the fact that HE established this set-up. HE put man over woman. It's all about obedience, isn't it? And once we obey, I believe the feelings will come.

That's where I am. Trying to kill my flesh---dying to my desires, my self-preservation. Have you ever watched someone physically die? It's HARD! There's a fierce inner desire to live. THEY DON'T WANT TO LET GO! Have you heard me say that before? That's my struggle. To let go. I don't want to die to my desires, to my needs. I don't want to suffer. And I don't want to submit to my husband---I'm not sure he's looking out for my best interest. Where will his dreams take ME? But I want this desperately. I want to be "a good daughter of Sarah" who doesn't give way to hysterical fears. I want to trust God completely. I want to bless my husband. I want God to fulfill all of his dreams. And I know God will look out for me.

Father, thank you for Andy. Thank you that you put him over me as my head. Give me a completely submissive heart. Help me to choose to trust him! Thank you that Andy is a man of integrity and works hard. Thank you for using his work ethic to provide for us. Thank you that You have never failed us---there's always been enough. You're the best, God! I love you so much. Please kill my flesh. I willingly lay my flesh on Your altar as a willing sacrifice. I want to die to myself and live to You. Please fulfill the dreams and visions that You've placed in Andy. Promote him, Father, to where you want him to be. Bless him. In Jesus' name, Amen.

(Wow! This is really long! Blessings if you read to the end!!)