Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Missed You Today...

Actually, I miss my Mom everyday, but especially today. I saw my dear friend open baby shower gifts for her precious little boy as her Mom sat beside her on the couch and smiled along with her and I hurt. To the deepest part of my heart, I hurt. I thought about how Mom wouldn't sit beside me and smile. There will be someone beside me, but it won't be her. She will miss out on getting to know the man I am going to marry and the children I will one day have. Or maybe it is the other way around. I will miss getting to introduce her to some Godly man who has captured my heart and my children will miss knowing their sweet Grandma. But right now, I miss her. I think about her everyday wondering what joys she is experiencing in Heaven and how cancer no longer has control in her body. Scripture continues to remind me of her. I read Romans 5:1-5 to my Sunday School Girls this morning.
I'm attached to this new Phil Wickham song called Safe ---

To the one who's dreams are falling all apart
And all you're left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own
but you're not all alone

Have you heard of the One who can calm the raging seas
Give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet
With a love so strong and never let you go
oh you're not alone

You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

Did you know that the voice that brings the dead to life
Is the very same voice that calls you to rise
So hear Him now He's calling you home
You will never be alone

These are the hands that built the mountains
the hands that calm the seas
These are the arms that hold the heavens
they are holding you and me

These are hands that healed the leper
Pulled the lame up to their feet
These are the arms that were nailed to a cross
to break our chains and set us free

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! -Psalm 34:8

Saturday, May 16, 2009

To Kimberly on Your Graduation Day

Did you want to know my favorite thing about today was? You. Never before had I enjoyed the honor and privilege of seeing a 7th Grade Girl Graduate, but wait, you are not a 7th Grader anymore. You are a beautiful, amazing High School Senior/Graduate who is entering the world with a heart full of dreams. Allow me just for a moment to reflect on 5 or so years and what makes this day so special.

Did you know that you were the most annoying 7th Grader ever? Maybe not ever, but you annoyed me so much that it left an impression. I think you probably only owned basketball shorts during that time. That's what I remember, this athletic middle school student who was always around. I think in Middle School you were the most faithful to Student Ministry events. Who knew your faithfulness would carry over into so many of the things you do?

Did you know that the emo/punk look wasn't really you? You tried, there is too much joy in your life and the smiles and laughs come so often, there is no way that is you! I think during that time you learned to love all types of people. You never judged because someone was different, you just reached out as a friend. Who knew that so many people would be impacted because you became their friend?

Did you know that your guitar lessons were not just for you? With learning and your God-given talent, you became a part of something bigger than guitar lessons. People were able to see you worship Jesus in Spirit and Truth. You were set apart for a unique service and that continues to this day. Who knew your guitar would be an instrument that would bring great glory to God.

Did you know that every time you ask a Bible question, my heart would be so joyful? You have this crazy passion and desire to learn. This makes me rejoice. Who knew a 17 year old could care so much about living a holy life?

I have never seen it before and not sure when it will happen again. You are a unique masterpiece; created by God to serve and glorify Him. And you are. Are you perfect? Not even close, but you continue to try. I get excited to answer your text messages, to meet with you and find out what God is doing in your life. Do you know that sometimes when you do not even realize that He is working, He is. He is fashioning your life into something amazing and He is doing it a little a time. This causes all of us who know and love you to step back and be amazed at God's Work.

Your graduation day was special for me because I got to be a part. I have seen you grow and mature not just outside, but inside as well. You have reached an important milestone in your life and I am so proud. Not just of what you have accomplished, but what you have become. You love Jesus so much, your classmates even recognized that. Your day was special because your parents have worked hard, invested time, and love you so deeply. Your day was special because we laughed at a crazy waitress, enjoyed some Starbucks, and I stayed away for "teaching mode." For just a moment, we enjoyed today. That's what made today special.

You are the closest thing I have to a little sister. It is my joy and privilege to be a part of your life.

Did you know eating cheese pizza with someone can change your life? Who knew? Now, I do.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A New Mother's Day

I took tulips to the cemetery for Mom yesterday. I cried a lot. I've cried everyday for the past 4 days. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day. Not sure I could let today get away without sharing something.

I've been thinking of the blessing I have received from having Godly parents and even though my Mom is gone, I continue to learn from her. Here's what I realized today and hope that I have the opportunity to pass on to my children someday. Dad is the smart theologian, knows God's Word, every Old Testament Bible story, and the opposing sides of a theological debate. I love it that he has this kind of knowledge. It gives way for some interesting conversations. He has this incredible love for learning that I believe He has passed on to me. When it comes to theological things, he is not really every surprised. He has heard it before, has an opinion, and is willing to listen to me. I love these conversations... a lot!

Mom was a little different in the way that she just simply loved the Bible. She knew the stories like Dad, but had a more practical side of reading the Word. I remember coming across passages of Scripture and being encouraged, impressed, or challenged. Of course, she had read the Scripture passage many times; the interesting thing was that she had a story or time in her life when that part of God's Word was especially real to her and how God had spoken to her through His Word. I remember reading Romans 5 after she got cancer and she told me about a specific time in college. It was incredible. The last time I was in Brazil, we read it everyday and then had some great conversation about it when I returned home. Another time, she challenged me to memorize the book of Philippians. She quoted it much better than I ever could, and so many of the verses had been a special part of her life.

So, what's the point? I said all of that to say this, what I realized today. Dad gave me my love for learning and theological study; Mom gave me a love for God's Word. They were working together to teach me and I had no idea, maybe they did. Not sure. This Mother's Day, I am extremely thankful. I hope that someday I have the privilege to teach my children what has been passed down to me.

Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Some Random...

I think it is time for another bullet point post:

  • I'm tired and craving some silence and solitude. I'm thankful that God still speaks in the chaos of life. In times like this, I realize the great joy that comes from His Word.
  • I miss Mom. It feels like yesterday, it feels like years. My heart has a void.
  • A student God has placed in my life has been a great source of encouragement. Kimberly and I have met, studied God's Word, and hung out for about 5 years now. She is getting ready to graduate High School. She is amazing. God has already done some incredible things in her life and I know the future looks promising. What a blessing she has been to me! I'm so proud of her.
  • Got to lead a lady to Christ during EE last night. It was different. She was so focused even though there were so many distractions. So thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit drawing people to the Savior.
  • Still reading through the Old Testament. I love the different perspective that it has on God and his relationship with Israel. One thing I have seen lately, I serve a God who keeps His promises. How comforting. How encouraging.
  • My dad is preaching on Sunday. I've already heard a little of his message. It's like I am the practice run before He preaches. Some things never change. I probably need to hear it twice.
Reading in 1 Corinthians to get through my Bible reading in a year, I read this morning, "For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. You were bough with a price, do not become slaves of men." Never thought I would enjoy being a slave, but would not trade anything in this world for the opportunity of serving Jesus.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

To My Sweet Arkansas Family

I just returned from a few days in Arkansas. When I was a teenager and even in my early 20's, I couldn't really stand going to Arkansas or being there. It was like some kind of obligation. Thankfully as time progresses, I've grown up and don't feel that way anymore. So, I thought I would share how I feel about my family (immediate and extended) who I get to see when I am Arkansas.

Even though it is not my home there anymore, you make me feel right at home. You invite me to come, kick off my shoes, and stay awhile. You care more about my life than most would even venture to ask. You celebrate the little joys in my life and are so excited about what the future holds. You ask questions, sometimes you are nosy, but I think it is just because you care more than most. You are a safe place for me, where I don't have to worry about what I might say or how I look. You think I am beautiful all the time and you tell me so. You allow me to talk freely and openly about ministry, but never ask me to minister in a specific situation. However, you minister to me. I am served and loved in the most incredible ways. The little things you do bring me great joy. You recharge me and encourage me. You notice little things and listen to my stories, but most of all you just let me be me. Thanks for understanding when I want to be alone and when I can stay awake till 1 am talking about everything. Thank you for saying sweet things about my Mom and helping me remember things about her. Thank you for already knowing the things I like and enjoy without me even saying a word. Thank you for making me laugh and laughing at me when I say or do something stupid. Thank you for reminding how blessed I truly am with an incredible family. Thank you for sacrificing your time for me, your investment in my life has not gone unnoticed. You remind me of Philippians 1. I do thank my God with every remembrance of you, and I hold you deeply in my heart.

Just in case you didn't realize or I failed to tell you, You are my favorite thing about coming home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

8 Months

I have a lot to write, but tonight I'm just thinking about 8 months that have passed since Mom went to rest in the presence of our Savior. Lately, I have been missing little things about her. The way she responded to certain situations, her pancakes, phone calls, and hearing her voice. Her voice is still in my head. It will probably never go away and I'm just fine with that. I was reading today in John 16 when Jesus tells His disciples that He would be going away. He told them that they would sorrow for awhile, but then rejoice and when they would come to Him, no one would be able to take away their rejoicing. (my paraphrasing) That is exactly how I feel concerning missing Mom. I know that our sorrow and rejoicing seem to have their roller coaster moments, but when we are reunited and experiencing Jesus and the joys of Heaven, it delights my heart to know that the joy of Jesus will never be taken away. How I long to live in light of eternity!

I love Hebrews 12:2, "for the joy that was set before Him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Giving up dessert for Lent...

Another year, another Lenten season. I'm still Southern Baptist and sometimes I wonder if it would be helpful for us to celebrate something such as this. I did not participate in Fat Tuesday, although I thought some pancakes would be delicious. Ash Wednesday came and went for me. I have the need to confess my sins everyday and have an amazing High Priest who serves as a mediator to God on my behalf. Yesterday I listened to an Ash Wednesday service podcast. My thinking and views of Lent have changed.

Most people give up something and play this card, "I'm giving up chocolate for Jesus. I get to experience His sufferings by suffering without chocolate for 40 days." It made me sad that I could compare giving up something so insignificant to His great sufferings. The Bible says in Isaiah 53, "But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed." No way in the world could giving up chocolate, caffeine, desserts or any other thing compare to Him being wounded, crushed, and beaten.

This year I've given up eating dessert, not so in the end I can say "Woohoo, I gave up dessert for Jesus." No, I'm giving up something I enjoy with a desire to focus my heart and mind on the greatest event that ever was or ever will be in human history. For believers nothing of this world should have control over your life, but Jesus. I'm focusing on some inward changes in my life as well, which I may blog about if God gives me some victory in this area. I want to be excited about Easter. We countdown to Christmas and make it a huge deal, but Easter suddenly comes on us and we go into superspiritual mode. My desire is to be ever mindful of His death and resurrection. This event changed my life forever and has taken a fallen human and gave the promise and hope of eternal life. This is cause for celebration and reflection, more than just one Sunday of the year.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sorta an update

I've been far too busy to blog. I cannot tell you how many people God has put in my path lately and given incredible opportunities to minister. I pick people over blogging any day. Here's what has been on my mind lately: modesty. How can I convey this to the girls that God puts in my life? Amy, the girl that I teach with, said something that got me thinking even more about it yesterday. Modesty is defined by our culture and not by truths of God's Word. Modesty during the time of your Mom or Grandma is different than how people view it now. What exactly am I going to do about it? I have a few ideas. I think you have to teach parents and daughters, not just daughters. Dads should be involved in the modesty of the females in the family. I'll keep you posted, as I am excited about this new challenge.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Something I've always wanted to do...

January is Sanctity of Human Life Month. I read an interesting blog about this situation today. On Saturday, I got to do something for someone else concerning this situation. The Student Ministry Girls hosted a Baby Shower for Life Choices of Memphis. It was amazing. I love that it is not all about me and what I can do, but about doing something for someone else. This organization is incredible and to be able to minister to them in this small way impacted me greatly. I love it when I get an opportunity to do something I have always wanted to do. As the shower ended, I kept thinking that I was walking away empty-handed, but with such gratefulness and gratitude for the gift and joy of life.

Monday, January 12, 2009


I made some goals for this coming year. One started because of a wonderful Christmas gift I received, an ESV journaling Bible. (I'm a big fan of the ESV, as you may already know.) In this awesome Bible, it has a reading plan to read the OT through once, the NT twice, and Psalms twice. It sounded like a great plan to me, so I dove in on January 1. So far, so good. Here's the thing that I have been thinking about, I love to read blogs, especially about other people's lives. I get drawn into their story whether good or bad. As I have been reading through the book of Genesis, these stories are so interesting. Some of them are way out there and you just read thinking, "No way in the world could that happen." Others are so miraculous and shows how God was actively involved in His creation from the beginning. And there is God's promises that have been fulfilled for a few thousand years, it is amazing. So, what's the point? I want to read God's Word the way I read blogs, with a desire to see the new adventures that He had planned for His people. I was convicted a few months ago about reading the Bible because it is the desire of my heart and not an obligation. I do so many things in my life because I enjoy it or desire to do that. So, it has produced a goal for 2009, to read because knowing God and His Word is the desire of my heart. Some days, it is not my desire, but most days I am learning to open the Word with anticipation knowing that my Heavenly Father desires to speak to me.