Friday, November 14, 2014

Loving Leaves and Letting Go...


There are seasons where life never seems to stop.  You struggle to catch your breath, getting ahead seems impossible, and moments disappear before you realize their brevity and beauty.  In ministry, this season is frequent and often a struggle, yet God is so good.  He allows late Saturday afternoons for us all to get away, to intentionally take time to catch those moments, and to stand in awe of His creation  






He is so good in allowing us the privilege of witnessing our second daughter take a step of faith.  Our little middle, who has struggled for years to even talk to others, chose to stand in front of an entire church and profess her faith in our Lord.  We have prayed again and again the verse in Deuteronomy, "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (31:6)  He is so good!









 

And when the leaves turn and fall, and school work calls to be done, God is good in the raking, the jumping, and even in the arguing of sisters.  Their mama needs reminding again and again to slow down...

- to "wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." - Psalm 27:14

- to "be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10

- that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit," says the Lord. - Zechariah 4:6


"When we make the choice to let go of distraction, perfection, and societal pressure to grasp what really matters, that's when our life although a bit unbalanced and imperfect - tastes sweeter than we could ever imagine." - Rachel Macy Stafford (Hands Free Mama)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Farewell October, Welcome November!


October could not have been a more jam-packed, calendar-filled, people-lovin' month!  Back in September, I knew that it would be, which is one of the main reasons why I chose not to blog everyday in October.  My unofficial goal of the month was to instead focus on praying each and every day specifically for my girls (and my husband.)  I can't promise that every single day started with my little prayer calender, but it certainly helped to remind and encourage me to take time daily to focus and pray over the gifts God has given me. 







As already mentioned, October was busy!!  From getting to spend the first weekend away in Charleston with some dear friends of mine to heading to Fort Caswell with my family and a bus load of students to the fall activities of pumpkin picking, farmer's marketing, and ferris wheel riding, life stayed full!  It was good full, yet now that November has arrived, I long for rest.








We've already embraced the joy of hot chocolate, pumpkin cookies and muffins.  Impromtu walks, trips to the library, and more time spent in the backyard are some of my goals this month.  November is the one of the months that I just long to breathe.  The cool crisp air invigorates me and the colors and crunch of the leaves pause me, reminding me of God's hand in all of this.  

November is a month of gratitude.  It holds the only holiday that has yet to be ruined by commercialism, presents, and activities.  It simply encourages us to remember the principles our country was founded on, to remember and give thanks for all God has done for us personally, and to focus on the people He has placed around us.  







Goals for November:

1.  Rest
2.  Read more
3.  Remember & give thanks
4.  Ready our home & hearts for the upcoming Christmas season

Friday, October 17, 2014

Keep praying...


We pray that our children will learn responsibility; that they will learn to be kind, generous, and full of mercy and peace. Sometimes you wonder if those prayers are even heard, much lest fulfilled in the lives of our offspring.  Then, one day, you see a glimmer... 


Instead of getting upset over the tired whines, she offers to carry her littlest sister.  A mother's heart can burst in that moment, not with pride, but with pure gratitude over answered prayers.  


Yet, as much as we can pray and pray over our children, it's not until we live the prayers ourselves that our children understand and follow by example.  Personally, I fail at this miserably, but by God's grace, I can start each day fresh with no mistakes in it.  


"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Praying for our Children


The last two years I have joined bloggers around the world in an effort to blog every day in October, all 31 days.  This year, instead of blogging every day, I want to focus on praying everyday for my girls.   There will not be daily posts, maybe not even weekly posts, but I want to encourage any parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc, to utilize this amazing privilege in coming before our creator to lift up these little (& getting bigger) creations that He has entrusted us to care for and invest in.

I have this calendar folded and tucked in my scripture journal, and it's nothing I've made.  Thank you, Kat Lee & Bob Hostetler, for compiling such a great list based upon scripture to pray over our children daily.  Click on Kat's blog, Inspired to Action, to print your own calendar.     


The first day is praying over our children's salvation.  "Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." Isaiah 45:8, II Tim 2:1


It has been an incredible honor to witness two of my children come to know the Lord, yet I still pray for our littlest one, that she may one day understand the amazing grace of our God and the incredible sacrifice that He paid on our behalf.  For my older two, only God knows their hearts, so I pray for authenticity in their faith. May their salvation be their own, not contingent on mom or dad's. May it not be based on works, but upon a heart who truly loves our Lord.  

To read my last two years 31 days series (which I need to reread myself...), click below:



To read more about what 31 days is all about, click here.




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Saying Good-bye Again...



It's been over a week since we said good-bye to my sister, Joy and her family.  It feels like so much longer though.  I'm sure even more so for them as their lives have changed in such an enormous way. All my life I have said good-byes.  It doesn't get easier.  

We had the most precious week with Ryan, Joy, and their boys before they left for Ghana, West Africa.  These pictures are for them and for our mama and dad who would have given anything to be here to send them off.  Be prepared for a plethora...







So thankful for the time on Labor day with cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandparents.  The beginning of family good-byes...











A day at Pullen Park, time at our pool, snuggles in the morning, squeezing close over the Ipad or books, dressing up, attending Naomi's first soccer game together are just a few of the memories etched in my heart.  








 












Grateful that my youngest sister, Kristi and her family, as well as Ryan's parents were able to spend that last weekend with us.  Simple meals of hot dogs and baked potatoes made it special and stress free.  But my tears didn't flow until Monday morning when we were able to Facetime with our parents.  Listening to my daddy pray on the other side of the world over this sweet family about to embark on the greatest mission of their lives was one of the most precious parts of that day. 







Ryan and Joy are a special couple. How thankful we were when they met in college with the same fervency for missions and the desire to be like Christ in every way possible.  They are loved and truly missed!  








My heart was full to have both of my sisters and their families together as we said our good-byes.  Family is a precious thing, something that in general, Americans take for granted.  Even if family lives in another part of the US, the option is still there to visit; a phone call is second nature, and email or Facetime can be typed out on our phones.  Our family does not have these luxuries.  I can email or Facebook message my parents and sister, but then I wait.  I can't call and certainly can't visit on a whim.  But I say all this not for pity, but to encourage anyone who may be reading this to love your family! Don't see visits as a burden.  Answer a parent's or grandparent's phone call whenever possible.  Hold your babies tight as you never know where God may call them to go and serve in the future.  


Thank you for praying for Ryan, Joy, and their sweet boys. There is nothing easy about life in Africa, but I can't wait to get to heaven and meet all the Ghanaians who will be eternally impacted because this couple said "yes" to God's call.