Friday, September 7, 2012

God's Bow

A hearty "Thank you!" to those of you who prayed for us during Isaac. God kept not only our family but also those in our church family safe and sound. Despite the fact that there was destruction and flooding all around us, God put a hedge of protection about us.

After the storm, it is easy to recognize God's protection. During the storm, as the winds blew wildly, and the rain fell endlessly, I wondered, if we were not going to be swept away by the rising water. It seemed every hour the water pooled closer and closer to our home. Finally, on Wednesday night, after hours of keeping vigil on the water levels, my husband and I decided that we were going to pray and head to bed. At that point, there were no further preparations to be made. We simply had to wait.

Is that not the hardest parts of storms? The waiting. Waiting on God to move. That is exactly where we found ourselves. Waiting on God to move a tremendous storm. It was a storm that seemed  to stall over us endlessly. I confess, I feel that way about other storms in my life. How often I get impatient, all too eager to move past the circumstances I find myself in at the time. So quickly I lose sight of the Bow God gave us. His promise, His covenant, that He would never again, completely flood the Earth as found in Genesis 9. Or His promise found in Hebrews 13:5b~"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." 

Despite the storms, or trials, that rage at times in our lives, we have the promise. The promise that we are not alone! We are not forsaken! In the hours leading up to Isaac's arrival, many of us were amazed to see beautiful rainbows, as we were hurrying up with our storm preparations. I found them to be so comforting. God is good, even when the storm clouds gather!  God is good even when the water rises! God is good!

Thank you Pam, and my dear Hubby for capturing the covenant markers in the sky hours before Isaac arrived. And thank you to those who prayed us through the storm. God is good!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Are you prepared?

As you may or may not know, my family and I live in Bayou Country. Today it is beautiful and sunny out. The sky is bright blue with big, puffy, white clouds. It is hard to believe that not too many miles away, a storm of large proportion is brewing. Sitting here looking out at my back yard I could easily become complacent about the coming storm. Heedless of my preparations or lack thereof, Isaac slowly makes his way to our home.

We have been busy the past few days making diligent preparations. We have purchased provisions to see our family through the storm and it's aftermath. We stocked up on water and non-perishable food. We secured flashlights, batteries, candles, and matches. We cooked up some goodies to eat as we play games together. Now we wait.

While we have been actively working the past few days getting prepared, I have been pondering something. Am I as prepared spiritually as I need to be for the storms that come my way in life? Not every storm is as gracious as a hurricane to give ample notice before it's arrival. Sometimes we get hit with storms that are more akin to tornadoes. They spring up out of nowhere and leave devastation in their wake. When those storms, or trials as we often call them spring up, am I ready?

I have been reminded of the passage in I Peter 4:12~"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you."

Much like National Hurricane Center has been warning us for several days, Peter, too has cautioned us. We, as Christians, ought not be surprised when storms brew in our lives. Rather, we need to learn to rejoice in the storms. I Peter 4:13 goes on to say, "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." We do not have to weather the storms in our own strength. We can rest in the all-powerful, all-sufficient strength and grace of God!
II Corinthians 12:9,10~"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee;for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong."

My prayer is that I will be as ready for my spiritual storms as I am for Isaac. If you happen to think of us down in the Bayou the next few days, please say a prayer for us. We do not want to float away! :) God bless!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ministry Monday

One of the reasons, I felt led of the Lord to start this blog, was to serve as a source of encouragement to other women serving in ministry. Serving the Lord alongside of my husband is one of my greatest blessings in life. That being said, it does not mean it is always easy. There are days when ministry can be overwhelming, lonely, or just plain hard.

As we are reminded in Hebrews 10:24~"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works", my prayer is that any ministry related post would be beneficial in nature. There are enough nay-Sayers to go around. We must surround ourselves with people, literature, and music that will encourage rather than discourage! People and circumstances can bring many negative things in our lives.Although that is an unavoidable aspect of life, if we are not careful to balance those, we can quickly feel overwhelmed. My hope is that this segment of the blog will encourage you, a fellow servant of the Lord.

As I have already shared with you, both my parents and my sister are involved in full-time Christian service. Most of my closest friends also serve in ministry. Through watching their lives and knowing my own struggles, it is apparent to me, that we need to be busy provoking one another to good works. :) Ministry, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Those of you who are involved, surely know what I mean by that. I pray that through my Ministry Monday blogs, some of you may find a place to come, share, and leave heartened for the task before us.

What is your favorite thing about ministry?

Fighter Verse for School

Happy 2012-2013 school year! It almost feels like we get another New Year's Day. I both love and loath the start of school. The chance to get into a regular routine and get organized always excites me. My heart does a little happy dance when I see all of the school supplies out in the stores. My Charles and I love to shop for school and office supplies! There is nothing like a brand new, cute, notebook and colorful pen to inspire organization. :)

On the other hand, the absence of our "free" schedule will be mourned. I love not having to be up and at 'em at a certain time each morning. The freedom to come and go at random is a highlight of summer. This summer we were able to pack in much fun. We enjoyed all of our company. God allowed us special time with so many of our dear family and friends. We are blessed!

With the start of the school year upon us, life has gotten a little more busy. Our church is privileged to have a Christian school. Each year the staff and teachers put so much work into getting ready for the parents and students. SCA is blessed with a wonderful staff of highly, devoted Christian men and women who are eager to be a part of training young men and women for the Lord. This year their preparations were made a little more difficult by the fact that our building was struck by lightening only two weeks before school was to begin. We lost most everything that has a cord and suddenly had a leak spewing from a pipe into three different rooms. It was a whirlwind of crazy activity, but the Lord allowed us to open on time with only a few glitches. My husband was a trooper helping them get the computer lab all set up again. He even enlisted the help of our 11 year old son. It was an "all-hands-on-deck" few days around our church and school.

This year the Lord has put it on our hearts to teach our boys at home. There are a host of reasons why; however, the most important one, is to spend some devoted time helping shape and mold their character. Perhaps at some point I'll share more what we are doing toward that end. But, that was an extremely long introduction to share this with you...

As I prepared for our classes this year, I purchased a new lesson plan book. :) In said planner, it has a weekly goal/accomplishment page. I am quickly finding that my favorite part of this planner is the weekly "fighter" verse. Each week, there is a spot to fill in a with a verse that will be your focus or encouragement for the week. While I was penning our verse for week one, I knew I had to share it with you. Regardless of how your children are taught at school, this should be a prayer each of us has for each of our children.

Colossians 1:9,10~For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in knowledge of God.

Happy School Year!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Today, in the midst of a busy family and ministry day, I want to take a moment to wish my wonderful parents, Happy Anniversary! Today they celebrate 39 years of (mostly) wedded bliss. :) To me, they have been wonderful examples of love, grace, forgiveness, integrity, and hard work. For that I am forever grateful. However, what I am most appreciative of is their faithfulness to the Lord and to each other. Year after year I have watched them serve the Lord together, side-by-side, without ceasing. Their ministries have changed, their addresses have changed. What has never wavered was their love for the Lord and each other. I have had the privilege to watch them work, day after day, to honor God in their marriage.

Thank you Mom and Dad for being amazing parents and giving me a wonderful example of a God-honoring marriage. I love you both! Congratulations!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Ishmael: God Hears

Recently as I was reading in the Bible, the story of Hagar reminded me of a beautiful truth. It is a truth that I pray will encourage you as it did me. Reading in Genesis 16 verses 1-6 we see a difficult situation that had no easy solution. I have read and studied the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar before, as I am sure you have as well. However, this time, I was smitten with the awareness that Hagar's very awkward, uncomfortable, and unchangeable situation was largely a direct result of the decisions of others. Often times we too, find ourselves dealing with the results of decisions that others have made.

If we read further in Genesis 16 verses 7-12 we see an amazing happening. A lonely, distraught woman finds herself destitute, pregnant, and in desperate need of help. In her very moment of need God makes Himself known in a very real way to her. Can you imagine her surprise, when God Almighty seeks to comfort and instruct her in what she ought to do next? After getting over her shock of talking with the Angel of the Lord, I am sure she took time to process what she had been instructed to do. As we read, we understand, God did not give her an easy way out. God's dictates to her were hard. They called on Hagar to humble herself and return unto Sarai and Abram. She was told to submit herself to Sarai and with that obedience, God would provide a miraculous blessing.

If we continue reading, we see in Genesis 16 verses 13-16 that Hagar did indeed obey. She submitted first to the Lord's will, then to Sarai's. The lessons we can learn from this passage are manifold; however, I would like to draw your attention just to two.

I love how we see God meet her where she was in her hour of need. So many times God is faithful to do the very same thing for us! One of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:1 reminds us of this fact. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." That is a verse to cling to in our very own "wilderness moments."

Also, when I think of what the Lord required of Hagar, I am struck with the fact that it was not easy. I cannot begin to imagine the emotions that she felt as she listened to God's command. Perhaps for me, the reminder is this, sometimes God's solution to my problems will not always be the easy thing. At times, I may be required to really exercise character, obedience, faith, and self-control to do as the Lord wills. God's blessings always follow obedience.

At the end of chapter 16 in Genesis we see that Hagar again obeys the Lord. She names her son Ishmael, meaning God hears. I am so thankful that our God hears!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Whirlwind summer

Hello my Friends. Sorry that I have dropped off of the face of the web for a while. We have been enjoying a whirlwind summer so far. I think we have not stopped since the end of April. Many of you probably feel the same way. God has blessed us with lots of time with family and dear friends the past few months. We have enjoyed hosting our friends for a while and then spending a week with my husband's family for vacation. After that, we had our annual Cousin Camp where several of the cousins come and spend a few weeks here. We, as always, had an amazing time! Then my boys went directly to church camp after that. So it has been busy but blessed summer. We have enjoyed every minute of making memories and fellowshipping with those we love. We have a few more fun things planned this summer and an upcoming visit from some of our favorite people! We are endeavoring to relish each moment that we can just have fun without the normal demands of school.

I hope to return to regular blogging soon. God has been teaching me some amazing lessons that I cannot wait to share with you. Thanks for visiting.

My feelings toward what God has allowed this summer, Ps. 31:19~"Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before thy sons of men!"

What is your favorite summer activity?