Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Choices

We make choices everyday, multiple times a day.

Most of the time we don't even think, we just choose.

We make good choices and sometimes not so good choices, especially when those choices are not preceded by prayer.

By God's grace we are given free will in the midst of  His divine plan for our lives and somehow it all works for His good... but don't ask me how.

There are some things, ok many things, that I will never understand until the Lord reveals them to me.

Like...

I am still trying to figure out why in the world I had to learn Geometry and Algebra!  

Bleh!

And why the math part of my brain got to about 4th grade and just decided to quit!

hehe

Can you imagine all of the "why" questions the Lord so patiently answers!

Point is, we do have choices and sometimes those choices aren't as much about action as they are about attitude.

I tell my kids constantly that we can choose joy...

we can choose to be content...

we can choose to treat others well...

regardless of our circumstances or how we are being treated.

However, I sometimes need a lesson in this myself and sometimes, OK lots of times, the Lord uses my kiddos to school me!

Charlie is a "go with the flow", "whatever" kind of kid.

He cried over e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g the first 5 years of his life and then, just decided he was done and it has been smiles ever since!

Even with soccer, he loves it, he is serious about it but he still just has fun with it.


However, at the end of last year, we learned that his very small charter school was going to start a varsity soccer program.

Awesome, right?

Well, not so awesome for Charlie and one of his besties because they had been playing competitive high school soccer for the larger public schools that they were actually zoned for, which meant...

these two buds would have to leave the competitive teams that they had been playing for and play for this brand new, much less competitive team that their charter school was starting...

it meant, possibly playing with and against much younger players, including (gasp) girls.

Seriously people...

I could not understand how this could be.

I called and I called and I tried to get people to understand that my almost 6 foot son who had been playing soccer since he was 5 years old would be going up against much younger players and in some circumstances, younger girls!

I was convinced someone was going to get hurt and it wasn't going to be my almost 6 foot son!

I could not wrap my mind around the whole thing.

I imagined the poor mothers of all of those 9th grade girls as they watched Charlie saunter onto the field, ready to slide tackle their little princesses who were surely still playing dress up and watching Sophie the First!

Yeah, I know...

I had lost it...

and it was my almost 6 foot son who pried the phone from my clinched fists...

OK, not really but kind of 

*wink*

and just made a choice.

Charlie and his best buddy just chose to play and to have fun and to take on leadership roles that helped them to grow in ways that we could not have imagined at the beginning of that journey.


They served as Co-Captains and worked hard to get their young team ready.

Yes, they were in a much less competitive division and yes they were playing with some younger kids but as the Lord has done in the past for us...

He reached right into this seemingly non-important, but very important detail in
Charlie's life and blessed the choice that he made...

the choice to have joy and to make the best of it and to trust the path that had taken such a drastic turn for him and by the end of the season this brand new team found themselves in the State Playoffs...


where they just kept winning...


until they finally took the title of Regional Champions...


but the Lord was not done...


On Mother's Day weekend, these "Bad News Bears" played a nail biter game for the State Title in their division and...


WON!!!!


This awesome group of kids who came out of no where ended up winning the State Championship in their division!!!


My Charlie who just wants to play soccer and have fun, chose to play soccer and have fun!


He trusted and he chose joy.

Now I know soccer challenges and choices are nothing in comparison to fallen world issues but the Lord has used soccer to teach us and to bless us and this certainly did both and not just for Charlie.

As I watched my child choose to be content, I was reminded of God's goodness and how we are to have joy just because He loves us and in the midst of situations that seem unfair or difficult...

we can choose joy.

The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  Psalm 28:7

I am learning; it is in the trusting and the thanking that joy resides.

It is a process and many times it does start with something as small as soccer.



The Lord meets you where you are and He certainly met Charlie where his 17 year old heart lay.



So thankful for Charlie, who reminds me to choose joy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

God Gave Me Towels

I remember just starting out on this journey of faith… 

this refining process…

learning to let go of worry and control, learning to trust, learning how to love, how to be loved…

learning what it means to be forgiven…

to be saved by grace.

Some journeys of faith start at the very beginning… 

some start later in life…

and some begin when you are at your end…

which is where we found ourselves.

Our journey began when we were at the end of ourselves.

It was in those first tentative, tender days, weeks and months of re-birth that I remember watching one particular preacher, J*yce Myers.

We would “meet” every morning at 6 a.m. - as I ran on the treadmill… 

leave it to the Lord to meet me in my happy place

*grin*

I remember watching as she preached about a time in her life when she and her husband had nothing. They were newly married and were struggling financially.

She talked about their struggles and their own journey of faith and how one morning she called out to God about dish towels! 

She needed dish towels. 

So she prayed for dish towels. 

Yep, Joyce asked the Lord to bring her dish towels. 

She went on to describe what happened the very next day, when she heard a knock at her door. As she opened her front door, she found a friend standing there with…

you guessed it…

dish towels!

Speaking from her own faithful heart, this friend told Joyce that she didn't really know why she was standing there, at her front door, with dish towels, but that she felt like God had asked her to bring Joyce dish towels! 

Wow!

Joyce went on to preach about how good God is, about how much He is in the details of our lives and about how much we can depend on him to provide for all of our needs. 

Well, over the years, that has stuck with me and I have come to learn that He is our Jehovah Jireh, our great provider, and not even dish towels is to menial a request. 

Through our years of lacking and of immense growth, I have thought about that sermon as I have watched the Lord provide for our needs over and over again. 

Yes, he allowed us to be stripped of the very thing that we were most dependent on, but in that loss, he gave us so much more. 

He taught us what is truly of worth.

He taught us what it means to trust Him by letting go of control and worry.

He taught us to look beyond ourselves and our societal expectations. 

He taught us to let go of “normal” and to embrace broken and humble.

He taught us how to experience him and his love for us every - single - day. 

We grew so much from that lack.

So, just the other day, as I was folding laundry and lamenting the condition of our own towels…

seriously, when your collection of “fairly decent usable” towels looks more like your collection of “formally nice towels turned dog towels” towels… 

it is time to think about brand new towels.

I could no longer fold them neatly, put them up and walk away, forgetting the ability to see through many of them…

I mean, many of the “dog towels” were having to make that last transition to…

dun dun dun…

the dreaded garage towel/rag… 

just to make room under the sink for the towels formally known as “the nice towels”

It was bad y’all!

*wink*

It was in that moment that the Lord brought that “dish towel” sermon to my heart.

As I stood there, folding and trying not to think about the money it would take to purchase towels for this family of nine…

I began to pray, and yep…

I prayed for towels!

 I needed towels so I prayed for towels!

Why not, right!

So why was I surprised when a sweet friend emailed me THE VERY NEXT DAY and asked me if I needed… TOWELS!!!

This sweet friend had replaced her guest towels and thought this family of nine just might need…

TOWELS!

Isn’t God good!

Isn’t He faithful!

Isn’t He all that we need!

Not all of my prayers have been answered immediately or exactly as I wanted them to be but they are all answered...

He answers in His time and according to His plan and I am still in awe of His goodness.

Do I still doubt?

Do I still have fear?

Do I still try to control?

Sometimes

Like the Israelites in the desert, I still grumble.

Yes, even after my towel miracle (grin), I still find myself complaining or worried, but again, like the Israelites, I am calling out to Him and whether the need is small like towels or great like food…

This picture was taken a few years ago, in anticipation of how the Lord would answer our prayer for food with a fridge that was quickly emptying, 7 precious children and NO money...


He answered and we never went without and with lessons like these, we have learned to


Peace, even with lack...

even with struggle...

that is His peace...

and that peace can never be found in this world without God's grace and goodness.

Now, I am beginning not to need the reminders as much, but every time I shower, every time I wash my hands, every time I fold laundry...

I am reminded and I tuck it away for the next time of lack, cause it will come but with each need that is filled, our faith grows and please forgive this but...

we can then "shower" others with His peace as we "bathe" in His glory!

Sorry y'all - couldn't stop myself!

Smile!  God loves YOU!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pondering Christmas 2016

"Noel"

"Come and see what God has done."

"Noel"

"The story of amazing love."

These words, these very powerful words from the song "Noel", sung by Lauren Daigle...


ring true for me every single day as I intentionally recognize God's protection, His steadfast pursuit and His blessings and direction in my life.

However, at Christmas time, they especially come to life as this family of nine relies on Him to provide what we cannot...


"Come and see what God has done"


It is a "story of amazing love" as  we step out and trust that He will fill the gaps...


not just financial gaps but those bankrupt gaps of the spirit that gradually fill as we release more and more of ourselves to Him...

amazing, transforming love...

video

It was a beautiful Christmas...


it always is...


The tree got trimmed...


the house was filled with the yummy scent of Christmas goodies...




and our yearly adventure into the dining room for Christmas Eve dinner, never disappoints!


sometimes it feels as if we come skidding to a stop around midnight on Christmas Eve...


but it always gets done...


and it is always just enough...

and it is always a reminder of His love and faithfulness.

"Come and see what God has done"...


This year one verse kept coming up for me...

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19


I have always been a ponderer.

As a child, before the Lord became real to me, circumstances around me and outside of me, affected my heart and I would "ponder"...

long car trips are perfect for pondering... 

and I believe I may have a "ponderer" now...

as I watch her...

her sweet, beautiful face gazing out of the window, seemingly lost in thought...


she knows Him...

How I wish I had known Him then...  as she knows Him now.

She is His and it is beautiful.

However, it wasn't until I became a wife and a mother, that His longing for me prepared the transformation of my heart and I began to "treasure up" moments in time...

and as soon as I became His born again daughter...

it all began to make sense and it was like Christmas all year long...


even in the hurt, even in the fear, even in the hard, even in the mundane...

there is joy...

there is joy, because there is "amazing love"...

and as Mary treasured up and pondered...

the world prepared to be transformed...

"Come and see what God has done"

It is always purposeful...

It is always beautiful and it is always breathtaking.


Merry Christmas y'all

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Picture 2016

Always an adventure.


It never disappoints...


I psych myself up for this one day, all year long...


not really...

but kind of...

*sigh*

I have determined that the kids spend whatever free time they have during the year thinking up creative ways to provide me with lots of "out-takes"...


*grin*


I have also determined that Emmeline is her father's child...


*haha*


and the way to motivate Charlie...


is to make him late to his sweet girlfriend's house...


Honestly, on this one day of the year...


the dogs behave better than the kids do...


wait... that's most days of the year...

not really...

but kind of...

*bwhahahha*

So while Christmas Picture Adventure 2016 did not disappoint...

I think I may have actually gotten a half way decent one this year...

and the winner is...


I am choosing to believe that Lizzie is looking up at her brother with loving admiration...

totally not instigating trouble...


not my sweet little Lizzie...


*wink*


Next year, the kids better be ready cause Momma's had an upgrade and is loaded for bear!

More on my sweet Christmas gift later...

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

So, it is about 4 days before Christmas and I am just now getting around to writing about Thanksgiving!  

Yep, that pretty much sums up life for us right now.

You would think that after going from 7 to 6...


we would have more spare time than we would know what to do with!

*snicker*

Apparently when they go off to college...


they come back...

*hehe*

and I would not have it any other way!

Heck, I am finding it hard to let these two go back to "regular" school next year...



It was tough releasing this one into middle school...


but I had these two waiting in the wings...



it has been so much fun hanging with these crazy girlies of mine and if it weren't for that pesky middle school education thing...


I would love to keep them around a bit longer!

So because it is 4 days before Christmas and all of that free time never materialized...

*grin*

I think I will simply list the things that I am thankful for in 2016...

I am thankful for my beautiful Mother, who is the strongest, most loving woman that I know and the time we have gotten to spend with her this year.


I am thankful for my eldest, who chose the remain close and has continued to make us so proud with his hard work, good grades and amazing sense of responsibility.


I am thankful for the 3 years that I have had at home with "Laverne and Shirley" (hehe) - to say I am going to miss them next year is a tremendous understatement...



I am thankful for rescue programs like Gimme Shelter Rescue, who brought us our Chewy...


and our Bethie.


I am thankful for my Charlie who so effortlessly steps up whenever we need him and just makes me smile, every single day.



I am thankful for my Caleb who has been such an awesome and responsible "Bethie Dad"!


I am thankful for Maggie and Lucy who continue to inspire and bless me with their strength, courage and determination! 



I am thankful for my church family who has walked along side our hard and whose heart is opening up to the plight of the orphan.


I am thankful for sweet friends who encourage and help whenever we are in need.

I am (ahem) thankful for the hard that has brought us closer to the Lord - no really I am, sort of!

*wink*

I am thankful for soccer - no really I am, sort of!


*wink again*

I am thankful for an amazing Hubby who loves me like no other!


I am thankful most of all for a loving God who has never given up on me and has never left my side.

Soooo...

Happy Belated Thanksgiving


Looks like I will be wishing you a Very Merry Christmas just in time for Valentines Day!

No worries though...

it will take me that long just to take a decent Christmas picture!


*smirk*