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?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hello again...

Hello! I know it has been quiet around here lately. I apologize. We have been crazy busy with many of the people we love the most in this world. If you are interested, feel free to check out my sister's blog. She has posted a few of the activities that have kept me from here. :) We have had a wonderful time with friends and family lately. I will try to update about all of our activities soon.

In the mean time, I'd like to leave you with a verse that the Lord has impressed upon me lately. Ephesians 6:10~"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might." This verse has served as such and encouragement to me. I can must rest in God's strength and power!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mom, My Friend

Words cannot adequately express how much my Mother means to me. She has been an amazing Mom and I count myself privileged to be her daughter. Each day as we talk I am reminded of just how blessed I am. She offers encouragement, counsel, and most of all love. God made my Mom to be a Mom. It is in her very nature to mother.

In a feeble attempt to pay homage to my mother, I want to take a few moments to share some of my favorite things that my Mom does for me. This list will not be exhaustive but merely a sampling of what makes my Mom one in a million!

  • She taught me. Some of my earliest memories are of my Mom teaching me. She taught me the academic must knows and household how-tos. She even threw in a few practical just becauses; however, the most important things she taught me came from God's Word. Even today, most of my pleas for help are met with a ready verse and encouragement from the Bible.
  • She modeled for me. When I wonder what the Proverbs 31 woman actually looked like, I simply need to look to my Mom. She taught me what it means to be so many of the traits found in the Proverbs 31 woman simply by how she lived her life. As commanded in Titus, she has taught me by her example how to love my husband and love my children, to be sober, discreet, chaste, good, a keeper at home, and obedient. 
  • She loved me. That almost seems anti-climatic that a Mom would love her children; however, it truly is a gift. She loved me at my best and at my worst. She loved me when I needed it most and somehow always knew when that time was. Now, she loves me and that love spills out to her love for my husband and boys. She is an amazing mother-in-law if I do say so myself. :) She is a Grammy extraordinaire. A natural out pouring of her love for me is that she fiercely loves those  near and dear to me (even my friends).
I love you Mom! You're the best!

My Mother-in-law, my Friend

The general sentiment that when you marry someone, you marry their family too, is very true. My husband has a wonderful family and I am so thankful that they let me in! They are such a kind and loving family.

My Mother-in-law, or in-love (m-i-l) as we often say, is a special lady. She is kind and gentle. She has such a sweet spirit. She raised an amazing son (well, three if you poll the sisters-in-law :) for which I am so grateful. Marrying her youngest son not only granted me entrance into the family but into their hearts as well. As Mother's Day nears, I wanted to take a moment and let her know how much I love her.

The mother/daughter in law relationship can be tricky. I applaud my  m-i-l for making ours so easy. She has done many things in the past 15 years to bolster the relationship. Today I share a few:
  • She included me. That means in conversations, in decisions, in helping when we were visiting, just everything. She has always made me feel a part of the family.
  • She encouraged me. Despite my well-intentioned but pitiful attempts at times, she is a source of encouragement. Whether it be my attempts to make HER special bar-b-que recipe (which I have conceded will never happen), a botched try at caring for her son, or even parenting two of her grandchildren, she never tried to one-up me, even when she clearly could! Her words remind me of the Proverbs 31. She speaks with the "law of kindness".
  • She befriended me. Not willing to settle for a mediocre relationship, she has gone out of her way to become more than my m-i-l, but my friend. When we speak on the phone she asks and cares about me. How I am doing  as a person, wife, and mother. And then again, in our conversation, she encourages me.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it is several core principles which guide our relationship. As a mom who one day faces the possibility of her two sons finding young women who capture their hearts, I am trying to take heed now. I want to build a relationship with my future daughters-in-law that is as sweet and uplifting as the one I share with my m-i-l! I love you, Mom Schaffer! Happy Mother's Day!

The Birthday Boy

Today was a special day in our house. My little Daniel turned 7 years old. I love how they say it here in the Bayou, "He made 7." :) He has been such a blessing to our family. To know Dan is to love him. He brings joy wherever he goes. He (generally) wakes up happy and goes to bed happy. He is just the brother that God knew Charles needed. Despite their 4 year age difference, they are becoming very good friends.

Dan has been blessed with a mind that quickly understands math and he is growing in his love of reading. He loves when he gets to pick our family night activity. He usually wants family exercise night. :) He loves to ride bikes, take hikes, and play sports of all kinds. His latest hobby is tennis. Game night is another favorite activity of his. He could eat his weight in pizza and ice cream.

My favorite thing about Daniel is his deepening love of the Lord. He has been earnestly praying for about 7 months about whether God wants him to be a pastor when he grows up one day. He is a prayer warrior. If I really want something prayed for, I ask Dan. He almost always stops right then and prays. As a Mom, it brings me great joy to see him grow and mature as a Christian. I feel so blessed to be his Mom.

Daniel, I love you!!! Thanks for being an amazing kid!

Friday, May 11, 2012


Just wanted to give you a quick update on my last post...Our friends are arriving any minute. Praise the Lord for a safe trip in wet and gloomy conditions. Thank you, to all who prayed for me to get my "chores" done the past few days. They have been challenging, but I think we're ready (well, mostly...just don't look too closely at my desk :) Adding to our "normal" schedule has been a graduation, funeral preparations, and a one-on-one discipleship Bible study. God has blessed and helped me make the most of my time. Also, my boys are amazing helpers. In a moment of honesty, I was unsure when they were little, that the day would ever come when they would truly help more than they hindered. Praise the Lord!!! The day has come!!! They're awesome! As I was typing that sentence one of my Guys came in to ask, "Mom, are there any jobs you need me to do?" Ah, it does a Mom's heart good to hear that. :) So for now, I am off to go enjoy a few busy days with my Chum, enjoy celebrating my little Daniel's 7th birthday, and spend a few moments thanking the Lord for the amazing Mom and Mom-in-Love He gave me. God bless!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Time for People

This coming month holds lots of exciting events for both our family and our church. May is always just a little bit crazy around my house. This year is will be even more so for several reasons...all good ones. I am excited about what God has planned for the next few weeks; however, if I dwell on all that will happen in the next four weeks, I start to hyperventilate just a little bit. I. need. a. plan. My Dad (who is Mr. Organized...) taught my sister and I the value of a good plan. Somehow, she caught onto the execution part of it a little better than I did. :) So, after a day of feeling like we are a ship taking on water I have settled on a plan. Want to hear it? I am going to make time for people! There...that is the bulk of all that my plan entails. Now my dad is hyperventilating. :) Just kidding!!!

Sometimes we are so busy in ministry that we do not have time to minister. As my Mom is fond of reminding me, Jesus was never too busy for people! We are trying not to let that happen this May. As mentioned earlier, May is an intensely busy month, but it also holds several unique ministry opportunities. We are going to try and capitalize on each one.

In just a few days, some friends that serve on the mission field of the Northwest Territories of Canada will be here to spend some time with us. We are so excited to open our home to them. While they were on deputation, they were frequent guests at our home in Tennessee. The Bayou is a little out of their way, but they are making a special trip to see us. We want to enjoy every  single moment of our limited time together. During the week that will be here, in addition to our normal schedule, we also have a funeral, teen fundraiser, a graduation, and a recital. During all of the busyness, I do not want to lose sight of the few days God has given us to encourage our friends. So please pray with me that I can balance it all in a way that glorifies God. How do you juggle an extremely busy season of your life?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Who Am I?

While visiting family recently, my boys (especially my little guy) found a new game. My Mom, a.k.a. Grammy, started playing Who Am I? with them. Gram thinks of a Bible character and tells a little bit about the story and sees who can guess it first. Sounds simple, and it is; however, it is a blast! After a few short minutes we exhaust the "easy" people (like David and Goliath, Joseph, and Moses) and find yourself reaching to the back of your memory for  characters a bit more obscure. It is a fun way to get the family involved in talking about the Bible! Many times the little ones get to learn a Bible story they've never heard before or do not remember. It can even spark a healthy debate which must be settled by looking into the Bible. :) I am all for talking with my children about God's Word every chance I get. This is an entertaining way to pass a long car ride or wait somewhere, while still following the Biblical principal found in Deut. 6:5-7,"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

What ways do you diligently teach your children God's Word?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Family Time

We were so blessed to be able to see family this weekend! It is always a joy to spend time with our family. We live quite a distance from all of our family so each trip is special. This weekend we were on a trip to speak at a church in GA (more on that in a future post) and we detoured to FL. We enjoyed one evening of family fun with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law and two nieces. I love you all! We ate the most delicious steaks ever (Thanks Dad!), told stories, and laughed until our sides hurt. Family time is like taking a vitamin. I feel better afterward and it is good for me. I am so blessed to have a family that is still so close. We even had a "surprise" birthday party for my little guy who will be seven this Saturday. My sister made a cake with the best frosting ever! (Thanks, Em!)

Being a close family takes work! We have some basic principles we all try to live by which make remaining close a possibility. As our family has grown and distance now separates us, staying close can be a challenge. We talk every day...that helps. :) We do lots of communicating (Eph. 4:15)  and forgiving (Eph. 4:32). We do lots of loving one anothe r (John 15:12). I miss them all so! My two nieces are growing up far too quickly. I treasure each moment with my family! I am so thankful my husband loves them all too. :)

My heart hurts each time we back out of the driveway; however, I am thankful. We leave simply to obey the Lord. There is great joy and contentment that comes from serving God. So as mile after mile passes on the Interstate, I am thankful we are going home. Home to our church family. Our church family has become so dear to us. In the absence of "real" family, our church family stands in the gap. In fact, my boys are blessed with "family" all over the world. God has blessed us with not only a family by blood, but a family of the heart. This weekend we were able to visit some of them in GA. Another such family will be arriving here to spend a week in just a few days. Some are serving on the mission field in faraway lands like Africa. We are blessed to have such a "big" family! God is good!

I am capturing my two nieces (I hope!) this summer for a few weeks. We are trying to get schedules to coincide. I will have several weeks on non-stop fun activities to plan, What is your favorite family activity?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Random Thoughts...

Hello. Sorry that I have been MIA lately. It has been an incredible busy few weeks. God has blessed in many ways (more about that later) but whew...I am tuckered! I would love a day to sit with my feet up and read a good book. Thank you all for your continued support during my absence.

Once again inspired by my sister's blog,, I am going to do a completely random post. So here goes...

~We are only a few weeks away from completing another school year. That makes me so very happy and sad all at the same time. :)  :(  :)  :( 
~We get to see some family very soon. We live quite a distance from either set of parents/siblings. It has been too long! I cannot wait to see my family!!!
~My husband has been working some crazy hours trying to get a new website up and running for our church.
~I have been privileged to do one-on-one discipleship lessons with two ladies the past few weeks. I absolutely love spending time teaching them from God's Word! It is so much fun to watch them learn and grow. They have been so faithful doing their lessons and learning their verses. I am thankful for the opportunity.
~My heart is full with all of God's blessings lately.
~My heart is heavy/prayerful  for three families that I love dearly, who are going through some challenging times in their ministries.

Today, I'll close with a verse that I am claiming for the afore-mentioned families. 

Jeremiah 33:3~"Call unto me,  and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and might things which thou knowest not."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

While I was preparing for our women's Bible study tonight, I came across a quote from Warren Wiersbe that I found thought provoking. He said, "Immature people talk about their beliefs, but the mature person lives his faith. Hearing God's Word (James 1:22-25) and talking about God's Word can never substitute for doing God's Word."

I find this statement to be so true. I pray that today I am a mature Christian who lives out my faith! My dad always said, "Your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than  your talk talks." Today I pray my walk is talking loud and clear, and that it is bringing God glory.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My help in times of trouble

Today has been gloomy, rainy, and stormy. There have been bolts of lightning and loud rumbles of thunder. As the storm surrounded our little corner on the map, my insides mirrored the outside. I have had a rough day physically and that often leads to discouragement emotionally.  While mentally giving myself a pep talk, the Lord brought Psalm 46:1 to my mind. It says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Today I just want to praise God for the encouragement that verse is to me! That verse ministers to me right in the middle of both a literal and figurative storm. God is good!

What verse has God used to encourage you lately?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Law of Kindness

Today hit a few rough patches. We were redecorating my Littlest Guy's room. We have spent hours patching walls, painting, painting again, and moving furniture. This "little" project has taken us far too long because of our crazy busy schedule lately. My Little Guy has been as patient as can be. As a mom I was proud of his long-suffering with us, knowing how excited he was, yet he did not nag or complain.

We were on a field trip on Monday with some very dear friends. We learned survival information for the Bayou. It was good information to know. I have no desire to become gator bait or worse yet, actually have to eat one! I now know of several edible plants around us if I ever have the unfortunate experience of getting stranded in the Bayou. : ) Sorry, I digress...back to the redecorating...

While the boys and I were away, my sweet hubby used his Monday off to not only wash and wax his car, cut the grass, run errands, and get parts to fix my bathtub; he also, bought more paint to finish the bedroom makeover. As we arrived home late that evening, he was putting the curtains and blinds back up in the window. Yesterday we were away all day, so this morning brought us our first opportunity to finish up the room.

After days of waiting patiently, I could not look my little blue-eyed Cowboy in the eyes and refuse his plea to "finish his room." We were having a great time until I took out the cute western looking vinyl "stickers" for the walls.

It began with our dismay to find that someone had used all but 22 of them and repackaged them and returned them to the store. Had they not been purchased "quite" some time ago, I too would return them! That was disappointing.

Then we moved onto actual placement of the stickers. Let's just say, that for this decorating-challenged Mom, they were too much!!! I became so frustrated at trying to get the cactus scene to line up correctly, all-the-while calmly trying to explain to my extremely focused (read: stubborn) Blessing that "No, it really did not look nice going diagonally across the wall.", that at some point (which was after my big Blessing came in to help)  I forgot the words of Proverbs 31:26: "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." For a span of a few moments I am not sure there was any wisdom and not much kindness coming out of my mouth. In fact, after hearing myself ask one of my Helpers to "PLEASE get OFF of the bed and LOOK to see if this is STRAIGHT!!!", I just closed my mouth so nothing came out at all. : ( At that moment I heard my Mom and Sister in my head saying, "Use the Law of Kindness."

Growing up, the Law of Kindness, was a scale by which we often measured our speech. Many times we girls would remind each other to watch our speech. I may not have been as thankful for those reminders at the time they were given, but I am very thankful now. Exercising self-control over the tongue is such a challenging thing sometimes. I find, for me, it is not always what I say that is unkind, but rather the way I say it. Far too often a curt and impatient sounding tone overshadows whatever words are being said.

Today, sitting on the bed, with a sore neck and arm from trying to accurately place those "easy-to-use" stickers, I had to silence my unkind tongue, ask for forgiveness from my boys, and try again. This battle with our tongues is not a one-time-only thing, it is daily! Today, I am choosing wisdom and kindness. How about you? How do your practice the Law of Kindness in your home?

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Shield Against Sin

We recently began a new series in our church Ladies Bible Study. We are studying the book of James together. Wow what a book! We are only 12 verses into it and have been challenged! I love it when God does that...when He works in our lives in an unmistakable way.

As I was preparing to teach the next lesson, I was reminded how God did not leave us without defenses against the temptations of Satan. He provided a way of escape for each and every temptation we encounter. That fact is not something I did not know; however, I most certainly needed reminded. I am without excuse. I have no one to blame my sin on but myself! Ouch! I cannot use the age-old excuse, "the Devil made me do it."

As we studies the defenses that the Lord has given us to defeat Satan we were reminded of how Jesus always used Scripture. How good God is to provide us with a ready defense against the wiles of the Devil. This morning as I was reading my Bible God directed me to Proverbs 30:5~"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him."

Today, I just want to praise the Lord for giving me a shield!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

What is life's purpose?

This morning while walking through the hallway at our Christian school, I was stopped by one of our teachers. She asked me to come into the class and enter a debate, of sorts, that they were having.

Apparently one of the girls in class had voiced her opinion that her goal in life was to be happy. At the end of the day all that matters, is whether she is happy or not. The teacher was concerned with her answer, as she should have been. It an earnest desire to help this young, beautiful, everything-going-for- her-girl, the teacher plead with her to please hear her...the ultimate goal in life is NOT to be happy. Happiness comes and goes. Happiness if often based on our circumstances. The wise teacher told her to seek JOY that can only come from the Lord.

So, in I walk. All eyes turn and the students looked eagerly to see whose side I was going to take. Wow, talk about peer pressure. :) I shared with this sweet, misguided girl, her class, and her teacher, something my Dad told me on countless occasions. As Dad so often directed me, I sent her to Revelation 4:11. It gives us our purpose in one concise verse. It says, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

I am designed to bring God pleasure. I have an ultimate purpose to all that I do and say. The key, as I understand it, to bringing God pleasure, is to glorify Him. In essence, I need to live my life in a way that glorifies Him! I Corinthians 10:31 gives clear direction to how I am supposed to do this. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

True satisfaction from a job well done will come in my life when I bring glory to God. As it was said by CT Studd, "Only one life twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last."

I pray the girl heard, both with her mind and heart, what was said to her today. She is at an age where doors are opening and she has countless opportunities. I pray that she and I both use our lives to bring God pleasure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I just wanted to thank all of you for taking time to stop by here. Recently there have been several more readers and I wanted to greet you personally. I pray that something on here will be an encouragement to you. God bless!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Always A Student

Growing up, Mom and Dad, encouraged my sister and I to always be a student, continue to learn. My education did not end with my college graduation ceremony. I must strive to grow, learn, and mature even though my formal education ended many years ago. There is something beautiful about a woman who has a teachable spirit. I want that in my life. Proverbs 15:14 says, "The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge; but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness."

We as Christian women, must stay alert and curious. There are more things to learn than is possible for any one human. So, what are we to do? Where should we concentrate our efforts in learning? We must stay focused on learning things that will help us as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, etc. We can never lose our hunger and thirst for knowledge. Our first and most important source of knowledge is the Bible. We must study it and glean the great truths it holds. God put everything we needed to know until His return in His Word! Remember we are commanded in II Timothy 2:15-"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We must meditate on Scripture, memorize it, and certainly apply it!

Other resources we have are endless. Christian friends and those who have gone on before us can serve as excellent examples of God's truths. They can help encourage and guide us. Learn from them. Christian authors can share knowledge they have gone to great lengths to accumulate. Reap the benefits of their hard work. We ought to be careful to always filter what we read or are taught through Scripture. If our "knowledge" does not line up with the Bible, it does not matter how good or logical it sounds, we cannot adhere to it! We must live our lives on the God's Word. However, we must know it do to that. :) We must be students of the Word of God!

*Psalm 78:1, "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth."
*Proverbs 5:1,2, "My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear unto my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion and that thy lips may keep knowledge."
*Proverbs 4:1. "Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding."
*Isaiah 1:17, "Learn to do well..."
*Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge..."

It may take some effort and work on our part, but we need to continue to be a student of God's Word! The benefits will far outweigh any and all effort that we give it. God will reward our time and we will be better women because of it. I find my schedule it busy and I have to make cuts regularly to get it all done. One non-negotiable on my schedule is time to study God's Word. I must, and so must you! What is your favorite Bible study tip?

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Iron Friends

This weekend I was blessed to be able to attend a women's retreat hosted by a chruch in Tennessee. This retreat was so very special to me for two reasons. First, my Mom was the speaker and I love being with her anytime! It was fun getting to be roomies for a few days and just enjoy each other's company. The sessions she taught were such an encouragement to me! I probably appreciated them more because I knew how much time and energy she spent preparing and studying for them.

The other highlight of my weekend was seeing my "Iron Girls." A little over 6 years ago, God brought a group of four women together and bound us as friends. They are my Iron Friends as found in Proverbs 27:17- "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." God has used each of them, many times to sharpen my countenance. They have encouraged me, been honest with me, even when there were tough things to say, and they have shared many memories.

I share all of this as a reminder that we must be thankful for our friends! True friends like these girls do not come along every day. In fact, our friendships are a direct result of prayer. At the time God brought all of us together, we were all lonely and needed a true, Godly, heart-connected friend.

Personally, I had just moved and left my Mom, sister, and two other heart friends. I was a young mom with little ones, a husband that was finding his way in a new ministry, and I was so very lonely. I was surrounded by people and yet felt very alone. I started praying, asking God to please just help me find one real friend. He blessed my with three!

In the six years we have all been friends, we have gone through many changes in each of our lives. We have since moved again to our current ministry. One of my chums has moved twice due to some very challenging and unexpected circumstances. One recently moved away from our church in Tennessee as her husband took a pastorate in Virginia. And my final chum is leaving in a few short weeks to begin her new life with her family as missionaries in Uganda. God is busy in our group and I pray that continues. As ministry has now spread us out across the globe, we strive to find ways to stay connected. Friendships like these are too valuable to die. We send "round-robin" messages through Face Book and we will begin a Bible study together as soon as our Uganda Girl gets settled. I am blessed beyond measure and I praise God for my friends!!! If you have friends like these, take a moment and let them know how thankful you are for them. If you do not, ask God to connect you with someone. He will!

How do you stay connected with your friends near and far? Leave me a comment with some ideas. Thank you for stopping by today. God bless!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Memorial Stones

We had a wonderful service at our church last evening. Our guest speaker, preached from Joshua 4. We were challenged to put up some reminders or lasting testaments to God's working in our lives. Joshua commanded the children of Israel to take 12 stones, one from each tribe for a rememberance of what God had done. Joshua 4:6,7-That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

The fact is, our children will and do have questions about why we go to church, why do we read our Bible, why do we serve God. They may ask do we have to give in the offering, etc. We as parents must be ready to answer them with thoughtful answers. If we merely dismiss their questions as unimportant or assume they are being disrespectful we fail to do as we ought. As our children grow they must develop a PERSONAL relationship with Jesus Christ and I mean far beyond the point of salvation! Truly it ought be every parent's desire to see their children accept Christ's gift of salvation, but we will fail as parents if we do not encourage and help foster a long-lasting relationship between our children and the Lord. Far too many older teens or college age people are dropping out of church and becoming involved in ungodly things. Many times this "failure to thrive" in church is because it is not personal to them. As a pastor's wife this grieves me. I hate to see young adults drop out!!! We as a church are working hard to minister to this age group. It can be such a challenging time. However, as a mom, it scares me. I constantly ask myself what can I do to "transfer my faith" if you will. At some point I know it comes down to each of my boys and their relationship with the Lord. Until that time, while they are under my roof and influence, my husband and I strive to point them to the "stones" of our faith!

We try to live out a genuine faith, not just put on a church face as we head out of the door on Sunday. We have Scripture hanging in a few places in our home. We listen to Godly music we hope will penetrate their hearts. We memorize Scripture together. We attend church together. We serve the Lord together at our church. We spend time in daily life talking, listening, and answering questions. We pray as a family and try to be quick to give God thanks for answered prayers. We share our testimonies with them. We encourage them to have a daily quiet time with the Lord and maybe more importantly we try to model that for them.

I am always trying to find new and more ways to encourage my boys. What are some things that your family does to point your children to the "stones" of your faith?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Preparing my life for revival

As our church continues in our revival services this week it has been amazing to watch God work. We have had people saved and baptized. People have joined the church and come to rededicate their lives to the Lord. I love watching God work! We serve a big God!!!

Each day before the services I have prayed as David said in Psalm 19:7-14 which says, "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold. yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be in innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."

I am excited about what God will do tonight....

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mind your minutes!

Have you ever heard the saying, "Time flies when you are having fun?" Does is really go faster or is it just our perception of the time passing? How about when you are scrubbing your bathroom, does time fly by then? :) Do all of our hours only have sixty minutes in them? The answer of course is yes, but it does not always feel that way. When we are engaged in a fun activity time does seems to just zip by; however, when we are up with a sick child at 2 a.m. the clock seems to stand still.

Time is one commodity we all receive in equal measure. Each day we are blessed with the same 24 hours. What we are able to accomplish in those hours often varies greatly. In our hurry, scurry culture, we are always running out of time. Many times we blame our lack of time for why we fail to be productive. We reason that certain projects will take too long, therefore, we justify putting them off indefinitely.  You may be like me and have a project or two that is begging for attention. Today I am reminded of the power of 15 minutes!

I admit this information is not original with me. I had a college professor who challenged us to use our 15 minutes wisely each day. The 15 minute principle is on other blogs and in time management books. However, it is discovered, the method holds much can be accomplished in a mere 15 minutes.

It honors God when we use our time wisely. We shows our family love when we bless our home with our time and attention. You may be like me with a week's schedule that is daunting; however, I know if I look hard enough I can find just 15 minutes to tackle some projects. Maybe for you it is not a lingering project but a kitchen that looks like a war zone and a living room that looks like a tornado hit it. The principle remains, set  your timer and be amazed at the difference only 15 minutes can make. It is tax season. May people file late returns simply because they "do not have the time" to get their affairs in order. Take it 15 minutes at a time. Set the timer and when it goes off, give yourself permission to move on to your next project awaiting you.

Do not let the guilt and frustration of unfinished projects or lists rob you of your peace of mind. Sometimes we do face tasks that will take long periods of time. Break it down and work at it just 15 minutes at a time.

Sometimes after a very busy week when our house looks very lived in but somewhat neglected, we as a family will "play the 15 minute game." Sometimes we break up into teams, other times we see who can put away {neatly!} the most items, or my favorite we simply work our way around the house in 15 minute increments until it looks like *home* again.

There are many household tasks that can easily be accomplished in 15 minutes or less...
*wipe down bathroom sinks and toilets
*clean bathroom mirrors and front/back door glass
*sweep front/back porch
*empty trash cans throughout the house
*sort family laundry
*start/switch a load of laundry
*fold and put away a load of laundry
*empty and refill the dishwasher
*sort through mail
*write a quick note or email to someone who needs encouragement
*pay a bill
*read your children a story :)
*take a walk around the block and get some fresh air
*empty car of clutter and wipe down dashboard
*sweep/vacuum several rooms

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Mind your minutes!

Sunday, March 11, 2012 I ready?

Today began our special revival services at our church. We as a church clearly understand that revival is not something scheduled or planned just because it shows up on our church calendar. In recent weeks we have been taught what must be true in our lives for real revival to occur. We must have humble hearts eager to hear what God has for us and the discipline to live it. We must pray and seek God's face. 2 Chronicles 7:14-If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Those things are easy to talk about but sometimes more challenging to live out each day. As I sat in church this morning I had to ask myself if I was truly ready for God to give me personal revival. Am I willing to obey the Holy Spirit? What if He asks me to do something difficult? What if I have to get out of my comfort zone? On and on my list of many (too many) excuses parades through my mind.

I want to live in such a way that God can do a work in me! I want to come to church ready to worship and learn. That means my investment of time in church starts long before I open the doors and walk through them. It starts at home in the stillness of my quiet time, asking God to prepare my heart. It requires me to confess any and all known sin to my Savior. It means that I purpose to give my whole heart and attention to the service while I am there. I do not allow myself to stay distracted when something catches my attention. I silence the voice inside of me that starts hoping "so-and-so" is listening, because you know, she really needs this sermon. I come with a hungry heart, eagerly listening and applying what God has for me. Being ready for revival requires me to bring my Bible to church. I want my own handbook for living, ready to be referenced and read. I find I am much more attentive when I can open my very own Bible and read God's Word for myself. I want to follow along with the preacher and make sure what he is teaching comes from the Bible.

I, along with my family, and our church family have been faithfully praying and asking God to do a work in us. Am I ready for revival? I am claiming Psalm 10:17- LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Art of Listening

One of the attributes most appealing and yet difficult to find in a woman is her ability to listen, really listen to those around her. I know I struggle to stop what I am busy doing and truly listen to what my husband or boys want to tell me. In that moment, loading the dishwasher, checking email or Facebook, or worse yet, watching TV become more important that my beautiful family. I want to send the message to them that they are important to me! I want them to know deep in their hearts that they will ALWAYS rank far above any mundane chore, computer screen, or TV show! I never want them to doubt where they stand in my favor.

As convicting as that though may sometimes be, what about how I listen the the Lord? Do I often stop to give Him my full time and attention? Do I rush through my devotions to get on to my day? Do I pause and linger, waiting expectantly for what He has to tell me? Tomorrow, as I, like many of you, will head off to church, am I prepared to listen? Are you?

For a moment, let's think about the definition of the word "listen." According to The American Heritage Dictionary the word listen means "to make an effort to hear something, to pay attention or heed to something." How often do we listen as described in this definition?

The Bible has much to say on this topic, but we will just consider a few verses. Proverbs 20:12 tells us that the Lord designed us to listen. "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them." Read Mark 4:23-25, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear; with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you; and unto you that hear shall more be given."

Ponder the clear lesson given to us by Mary's example in the art and skill of listening. Remember how she paid rapt attention to Jesus in Luke 10. She did not scurry about and become distracted. She gave Jesus all of her attention. Many of us ought to heed the very gently admonition Jesus gave to Martha concerning this. She was not corrected for being busy or even for wanting Mary to help her.  Jesus spoke to her because He knew the importance of stopping and listening.

What things ought we listen to? First and foremost, we must listen to God's Word. We must allow it to penetrate our hearts and minds.

What about our husbands and children as mentioned above? Do we dominate every conversation with our friends? Do we allow others a chance to speak? When we do allow them an opportunity to share, are we busy formulating our next sentence in our minds? Remember Jesus and the little children? He was busy, He had schedules to keep and important matters to attend to, but He stopped and let them be important. What an example for us to follow! We must practice the important discipline of listening.

Welcome to Adam's Rib

Hello to whomever may be reading this. Tonight, inspired by my sister's own blog attempts, I have decided to follow through on something the Lord has been prompting me to do for quite some time. My name is Amy Sue and I am first and foremost a child of the Lord Jesus Christ. At the tender age of four years old I accepted the gift of salvation from Jesus and my life has never been the same! (Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8,9) I am a new creature in Christ and it is my heart's goal and desire to daily become more like Him. God has blessed me with a wonderful heritage of Godly parents who love the Lord and have spent their entire adult lives serving in ministry. That service led my Dad to meet the man of my dreams. Maybe one day I can share our story. My husband is everything God knew I needed! He is my friend, my pastor, and the father to our two blessings from heaven. God has entrusted us to care for two boys and it is my absolute joy to be their mom. I enjoy serving beside my husband in our church. My favorite thing about ministry is the privilege I have of being involved with ladies. I love being a part of our women's ministry!

Long ago, God allowed me to serve with my Mom in a ministry for women and that was a turning point in my life. God gave me such joy in being a part of what He was teaching women. I pray that this blog will just be an extension of what God is doing in my real, everyday life.

It is my sincere desire that this blog glorify God in all that is said. I hope you will follow along as I learn and grow with what God is teaching me. Titus 2:3 says, The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things. That is my goal for this blog, that we as women may reflect on the "good things" that God has for us.  God bless! Thanks for stopping by today.