Life Lessons

The Most Important Question

Shawn and I talked with a great man of God today over lunch.  He shared the story of his salvation with us with such enthusiasm, one would think that it happened this morning! However, it was forty years ago. Oh to be in a relationship with God for that long and still have the passion of a honeymooner.

The conversation got me thinking about my own story. I had been going to youth group with a girl who would quickly become my best friend, Alisha. I was not opposed to God and believed in Him. I just didn’t know there was anything more than that. We were on a trip out of state and I had been praying for friends at the altar.  I got up and was walking back to my seat when a wonderful woman named Joyce (who would quickly become my mentor) grabbed me by my shoulders and smiled as big as day and asked me if I would like to ask God to forgive me and live for the Lord. Well, I was not going to say no to that.  Who would, right? I easily answered, “Yes.”. I walked with her and knelt as she lead me in a very simple prayer that would alter my life forever.

Fast-forward seventeen years to this morning at church. My husband, who is very sensitive to the Spirit, asked that same question to the congregation with us today. He’s been asking that question a lot lately. Sometimes a fear rises up in me that he’s asking it too much and no one will come forward to commit their life to God and the whole group will be discouraged. (I know, that’s a crazy fear.) But you know what?  Eight people came forward who wanted to see what is on the other side of the door!!

If Joyce hadn’t asked me that question seventeen years ago, I don’t think I would have ended up praying that prayer that night.

It took someone asking.

Who in your life is just waiting for someone to ask them that question?

Why Wait

God gave me a little gift this morning.  I woke up an hour and a half early unable to go back to sleep.  I had so much anticipation the moment I opened my eyes.  It’s as if I were traveling to Disney today. Normally I wouldn’t look at this as a gift.  I like my sleep.  I like waking up at the same time.  I even like setting my alarm early just so I can hit snooze for the feeling that I’ve somehow cheated the day out of ten extra minutes of sleep.  I lay there, forcing my eyes shut just to notice a moment later that they are wide awake staring at the walls.  Why?

I blame Erwin McManus.  Last night in small group we discussed chapter two of the book Wide Awake.   So far, it has been about dreaming big so your life will be big and letting obstacles become springboards for a fresh start.  The author of this book is, you guessed it, Erwin McManus.

Now, even though the book has been about springing off into your dreams, God always has a similar but different lesson for me.  Last night I couldn’t stop thinking about how much time I spent waiting.  My life is past the point of doing the same routine day-in and day-out.  One member of our small group shared that her big decisions for the day was what to make for dinner and what show to watch at night.  While I completely relate to that, God took it a bit farther.  I kind of examined the surface level of my typical week.  I found that I pretty much spend Monday through Friday waiting to live on the weekend.

There are many reasons for this.  I figure there is not enough time in a “normal” day to do anything extra. Or, I tell myself that I’m too tired.  Or, I say I’ll do it Saturday so I won’t add to the stress of my current day.

Well, I say…WHY WAIT???  Do I really want to spend 250 days of the year waiting to live the other 115?  That’s 64% of my year waiting!  That’s just ridiculous.  I will not let stress, tiredness, or daily frustrations dictate my zeal for life anymore.  Thank you God for revealing this to me!

Living everyday doesn’t mean shirking responsibilities at work so I can go to the zoo and just spend the day watching the baboons.  (Yes, in my mind that would be a great way to spend a day.)  For me, it means to

do something today that I didn’t do yesterday.

For me, it’s that simple.  I’m not going to make it hard.  Just do one thing different than yesterday.

So, when I woke up early today, instead of forcing myself back to sleep only to be jolted by my robot alarm ninety minutes later, I got up and blogged the first time since May. It’s one of the things I’ve been putting off and waiting to do for a while.

No more waiting for life…I’m going to live it!

Is Understanding Over-Rated?

1. To perceive and comprehend the nature and significance of; grasp.
To know thoroughly by close contact or long experience with

I think as humans we want to understand things. Not just know about them, but to understand them. Scientifically, I can’t say where this desire comes from, but we all have it. The strange thing is, that as time goes by, and life happens, we begin to accept things as fact and are satisfied with knowing without understanding.

For instance, I remember studying biology and how life is created. I know that two cells, one from a man and one from a woman, can come together and somehow form another human being. I can’t begin to understand how that works, but I know that it does. Electricity is another example that comes to mind. I know how to use it in my home. I know that when I plug a lamp cord in the socket I am tapped into a source of electricity. I know, the light is able to be turned on. However, I don’t understand where the electricity comes from. In my mind I picture Ben Franklin holding a kite with a key, but I know we’ve advanced farther than that now.

So, why is it then that we accept all of these day-to-day things we use and know about, even though we don’t necessarily understand them? Is it that we have used them or known about them for so long that the desire to understand has been lessened? I’m not going to go up to someones baby and say, “That’s not a baby, because I can’t explain it or understand it. And furthermore, your baby doesn’t exist.” I don’t see anyone refusing to use electricity because they don’t understand it. As far as electricity goes, I’m currently typing on a laptop, listening to my neighbor mow his yard, drying laundry and I can feel the cool air blowing from my air conditioner. It’s obvious I’m not abstaining from electricity due to my lack of understanding.

As a believer in God, I must ask, why do so many refuse the existence of God and refuse to tap into his power in their lives? People can’t explain God fully, can’t understand him fully. But, I know him and he knows me. I’ve walked with him in my life for several years now and it does get easier to not understand him but still know him. For some reason, some use the lack of understanding as a reason or excuse to not believe in him.

I read today, “If anything is a mystery to you and is coming between you and God, never look for the explanation in your mind, but look for it in your spirit, your inner nature-that is where the problem is.”

Some would say the author is telling us to be ignorant. But he’s actually saying that the things of God are not able to be explained in our minds. God uses our spirit to speak to us, not our minds. So, if we wait to understand God, we will be waiting a long time.

Just accept him. Accept him today. Don’t wait. Don’t make excuses and label them as reasons. Start knowing him now.

Lessons From Landon

As a parent, I’m constantly thinking of ways I can teach my children. I want to teach them about God, how to treat girls, the importance of being obedient, how to play sports, and good manners-with boys, this one is key especially with little sounds that escape from little boys.

Today, I am reminded of one of the many things that I have learned from them. Kids are so black and white. They know what they like, where they want to go, what they want to do and who they want to be with. However, kids have to adapt all of their wants to the adults in their life. They may want to eat at McDonald’s and McDonald’s only, but we go to Red Lobster instead. As an adult, I’m sure if such a high percentage of my opinions were trumped by someone else, I think I would go crazy. When decisions are concerned, kids rarely get their way. Do they always deal with that in the right way…no. But they do learn quickly how to be submissive and how to compromise. These are lessons I need to learn desperately.

A couple of months ago, Landon taught me something so valuable. We were up at the church and we had been in the office for a long time. They boys were playing nicely and had kept Daddy busy folding paper airplanes. The time had finally come when Shawn and I were ready to go. We had gathered our things and were footsteps from the door when I looked down at Landon and his shoeless feet. He was so busy playing with his plane that he forgot to put his shoes on. I got frustrated and sternly told him to quickly go find his shoes and get them on his feet. One thing you have to know about me is when I’m ready to go…I’m ready to go now. Any delay is very annoying to me. I waited for what seemed like 5 minutes, but was probably actually only like 15 seconds. I stormed off to find out what the hold up was and saw Landon and his paper airplane “flying” extremely slowly through the office doing a “air search” for his shoes. He was doing what I asked him to do, but he was having a good time doing it. He was so lost in his imagination that he just couldn’t stop.

When I get asked to do something I don’t really want to do, I rarely have a good time doing it. Children are being asked all the time to do things they don’t want to do, but they are still able to have fun doing it. How? Landon taught me that day, to just slow down. I get ruffled over silly things that I could actually enjoy.

I just need to slow down. I just need to slow down. I j u s t n e e d t o s l o w d o w n !

I’m Being Forced

I haven’t posted anything in such a long time due to facebook and myspace. I’m mostly on facebook now, but Shawn had an idea. He’s made a website (finally, poor thing) for Get Real Student Ministries. He wanted all of the adult staff to make a blog and he’s adding links to the website to all of our blogs. Pretty cool I thought. So anyway, that means that I must start posting things again.

Nothing really new in my life. Just the same-ol-same-ol (is that how you spell it?)…me playing volleyball, Ashton playing basketball, Shawn working hard, parties with friends, getting beat at nertz, Landon cracking us up daily, Ashton learning to read, me helping in Ashton’s classroom occassionally, making plans to get grass on our dirty yard, listening to bumpn’ music in the Get Real Mobile…you know the usual.

In the middle of all of this living, I’m realizing more and more that God wants more and more of me. How much more is left of me? I’m not sure. I keep catching myself red-handed stealing bits and pieces of myself back from God. I’ve gotten so good at it, that I hardly realize when I do it anymore. There’s got to be a support group for this or something. Oh, wait, there is. And it’s name is Get Real Student Ministries. I just love that guy. (If you read the Junie B. Jones book series then you are laughing right now.) Shawn’s been going through the seven deadly sins. Each one is really hitting home. This week he’s talking about gluttony, which will probably make me puke right on the gym floor. I’m not encouraging self purging, It’s just an expression I use a lot. I’ll have to let you know tomorrow what color it was. Gross I know.

Amidst my busy schedule…God is near

My friend Joyce posted a blog the other day about how much time she spends working on her flower gardens and not enough time enjoying them. She had bought several items that were supposed to attract hummingbirds but she was frustrated because she hadn’t seen one of these unique birds yet. So one day, she decided she was just going to sit outside and watch. To her amazement she discoverd that many hummingbirds were visiting her garden, but she was always just too busy to see them.

Her story really spoke to me and challenged me as well. The day after reading her post I found myself outside watering the yard and flowers. I was “trying” really hard to relax when I had a wave of stress and guilt come over me. I could hear my boys inside playing and I began to think, “what am I doing out here, I’m wasting my time. I need to be inside doing laundry and playing with them and getting ready for work.” I couldn’t stop thinking of all of the things that I had to do that day and of all the things that I could be in the house doing right at that moment. Then I thought, “no, I’m going to stand out here and enjoy this time of peacefullness and listen to the rythmn of the sprinkler hitting the leaves of my plants.

As an important sidenote, I must say that I have a terrible fear of flying/stinging insects. So much so that I often panic and start crying when they are around. (silly I know) But, at that time of feeling all of the sress I heard my worst fear…bbbzzzzzzzz….I looked around ducking and found that it was not a bee, but it was a hummingbird!!! I couldn’t believe it. That is the only hummingbird I’ve EVER seen at my house!! I felt God telling me that He loved me and appreciated me loving His creation.

God really uses nature to speak to me, it’s AWESOME! Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve sensed His presence like that. I feel as if He’s drawing me near to prepare me for something. Maybe not though. Maybe He’s just drawing me near to simply be near to me. I am His daughter you know.

“Distorted Beauty”–we’re all being fooled

It’s true, we’re being fooled. Our impression of what is beautiful is being tweaked and we don’t even realize it. I was floored when I saw the work put in to making on shot for an add. I’m also sure that this is not even the full picture the real work and amount of time it takes to make a model “ready” for the camera.

As girls we constantly want to become and more importantly, be viewed as more beautiful. It’s sometimes so frustrating looking at those magazines in the checkout line which are covered in “perfect” women. Plastic surgery is on the rise and the age of women getting work done is declining.

And the poor boys/men out there you see these same faces (and bodies) in magazines too. WARNING-WARNING-WARNING you too are being fooled if you think these girls really look the way you are seeing them in print. I think there are a lot of guys who get married and are really disappointed in the wife because she doesn’t “measure up” to the image. And frankly, we can’t, it’s impossible, unless of course we have a Super-Team available to assist us on a daily, or more realistically an hourly basis.

Check out this link to see what really happens to those who girls view as “perfect” and those who guys view as “hot”.

www.campaignforrealbeauty.comJust hit “play film” when the option appears.