Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chapter 3....and an overflowing life...er...hmmm...no...

no...that would be an overflowing TOILET. yes, i really wrote those words here on my blog. :)

see, Miss Ziva (who is 20 months old) tore the toilet paper off the roll while big sister Miss Eliora (almost 3) was going to the bathroom. Eliora dutifully told me about it, so I asked if she would please clean up the mess. and she did. by putting ALL the toilet paper that was on the floor (i don't even KNOW how much it was!) in the toilet, and flushing. at least twice, as the water flowed up and over.

so yes, it's true. you can hear about toilets overflowing right here from my kitchen table.

at least today.

there's been a lot of other really funny, sad, silly and frustrating moments in the past few days, and of course, i should have been making notes along the way - because they have.all.left.my.mind.now.

on to Chapter 3 in "You're Already Amazing" by Holley Gerth (which is on sale if you go to the web site for the "Bloom" book club - only $9! and free shipping if you order 2 books!! such a deal!!)

SO, i thought i'd qualify my comment, since some of you actually KNOW the women i co-lead with - and KNOW that what i said is totally true!! Joyce is gifted in so many ways - and humor is a wonderful way that she is able to lead our Wed. morning DOK class "Focusing on Family". Kaylene (the actual leader, Joyce and I get to assist in so many ways!) is a gifted teacher, and we DO all hang on her every word. She knows God's Word, has a lot of great stories to tell (with wisdom and humor), and is the pastor's wife and mom to some pretty amazing people in the Christian community around these parts of KY (well, lean a little closer to Louisville and Southeast Christian Church, and Kyle Idleman is really well known, as well as her 2 worship leading son-in-laws!).

And then there's me. I'm sorta the black sheep - or THE ONE He left the others for to go and find me (and don't get me wrong - I'm SO glad He found me!!). So my approach is...well...different. He found me (gosh, over 30 years ago now!) very broken, and from that broken-ness He has grown me. I'm still broken...in many NEW ways...and He is still shining through and spilling out of all those fractured places! And THAT'S where I come from!

So, I speak from the worldly-experienced side of the rail-road tracks. From where God has brought me in my life; out of abuse into healing; out of self-destruction into worthiness; out of the darkness into light. I share from my heart what He has taught me, what He is teaching me, but it's neither funny or charming. I need to learn to be ok with that...and stop worrying what other women think of it. I just want to be used by Him, however He sees fit.

I want to make the most of every opportunity, for HIS glory!

OK - on to Chapter 3's entry:


Another good chapter, and great conversation to go along with it.
I don’t know if it’s odd to find myself in the middle here? I’m totally comfortable at being broken – only finding confidence in that “in my weakness He is made strong” – yet I get caught up in what others think! ESPECIALLY THE WOMEN. (ugh). When asked to fill in for our class I always feel like I’m the heavy one – (not just physically!! but spiritually!) – one co-leader is super-naturally funny and has tons to share through her God’s gift of humor; one is the Pastor’s wife – and we wait with baited breath to hear what she says; and then there’s me – even when I share what I prayerfully KNOW God’s led me to share – I feel like a flop.
WHY DOES THAT MATTER SO MUCH?
It’s not so much that I am (or am not) who they think I am, I’m confident and comfortable with who He has made me; but I want to know that someone else thinks that’s ok. (is that weird?)
I’m afraid this chapter is leaving me hungry to get the answers that I hope will come down the road!!
Thanks for being “real” ladies!!



Monday, March 26, 2012

Crazy....Busy....and a Book Club from BLOOM...

That's how life's been lately. OK, but definitely CRAZY!!

Having our daughter, son-in-law and 4 grandkids living with us has been wonderful, but not without challenges of sick kids (2 admitted in the hospital last week - all ok now!), toddler-esque fits, and crying baby syndrome (where one kid gets all the other kids crying).

It's also being filled with wonderful memories that make ME cry, like having one granddaughter tell me that she "loves me so much, and thank you for sharing your house with me!" or to hear my youngest granddaughter call EVERYONE  "Grandma" (because she finally learned how to say it), or to see my just-turned-3 months old grandson crack me a smile when he sees me. I will never grow weary of that.

SO, needless to say, there's not been much blogging going on here. I hope that's ok with you. Instead, I've been taking walks with the kids, pointing out fauna and flora (especially since spring is in FULL bloom here), and teaching them what it means to be a good neighbor (not walking across someone's lawn to smell their flowers) and also a little bit of "stranger danger" rules.

BUT, I am attempting to do an online book club through "Bloom" which is one of the outreach ministries of (in)courage. We are doing Holley Gerth's book "You're Already Amazing" - which is a book that I think EVERY woman should read (whether they think they "need" it or not!). It's really THAT good!

So, I thought, to "kill 2 birds with 1 stone" I would post my book club entry here too....it will force me to get into this site a little more (the book club meets THREE DAYS a week!!). Admittedly, it's easier for me to read than it is for me to write at the end of a LONG day....

BLOOM Book Club
Chapters 1 & 2

Hahahaaa.....ok. I *won* the book, wanting it of course, but not thinking it was "for me" at all...thinking I wanted to read it to see how we could use it in our Women's Ministry, how I could recommend it to the young mom's that I co-lead at church, to refer it to others for THEM to read....well....hahahaaa....the jokes on me!!

I've been reading it for a few weeks now, and didn't think that I'd want to *DO* the book...I'd just "read" it. Oh Holley. Goodness gracious girl. Straight to my heart.

I LOVED the skills/strengths "tool" - (yeah, not to be a big project...lol). BUT my MOST favorite parts of this first section (Chapters 1&2) was where you say that whole thing on "Most People Don't" and also the bit on "You're God's IS Girl" (I actually re-read that title several times, thinking it was a typo!! It took me reading in to the chapter to realize what you meant by that....I'm glad that I did! I will use that lesson over and over with my "girls".  <3

I'm not only referring others to this book, and think I'll lead a group for it next fall, but I think that it should be essential for every woman to read. No. Matter. Who. You. Are. If it doesn't apply to you today, it may tomorrow. And if not YOU, then you'll be able to bless someone else with what insight you've gained. Like Holley mentions in the book, our circumstances and seasons in life will constantly be changing. Amen!
 
Holley, better start a "girls edition" to use with Jr/Sr High age girls!! This would be a GREAT lesson for them to learn early on!! Can you imagine how powerful the next generation of women/wives/moms will be? Not powerful because of anyone or anything, besides the freedom to be who God created them to be!! AMAZING!!

On the technical side, I agree with the earlier post - sound quality needs to improve. I had my speakers turned up all the way and really had to pay close attention.

And Holley, where was your cuppa tea?? And you don't have to go hidin' your drawl for all of us....you can let a "y'all" slip every now and again to remind us you're a Southerner... :)


Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Heart Healing Moment...Faith Barista Challenge

Recently life has been heart healing... it's not often that your oldest daughter, her husband and 4 kids move in with you...and for a good reason too! (all by their choice, and God's design, as they transition into ministry overseas).

So, if you happened to stop by unannounced (and maybe even announced!), you'd find toys all around through the house (except the kitchen! NO TOYS IN THE KITCHEN!) and laundry going all. the. time. Chances are there would be a hungry baby, or a sleeping baby, and at least one child with a diaper that needs to be changed. Maybe two.

You'd find my garage filled to the max with boxes. boxes. boxes. and mattresses. as we moved 2 bedrooms of "stuff" out, to empty them for our family to make it feel like "home" to them. sort of. I mean, they aren't painting walls (they were recently done anyways), but I want them to have access to their stuff, which meant packing up mine. for. a. season.

So, the healing part. Where does THAT fit in??

What injustice in my life, long day, short night, or physical pain is not made better by a loving child's hug. To have them want to sing a song. read a book. kiss an owie.

And this season. This season of crowded house and messy floors and sticky chairs. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

I'm getting to see God's handiwork. You see, it's true.

I made mistakes as a parent. Yelled too much. Was probably too firm. too strict. too lazy. Yet God, in His Grace, took my parenting mistakes and made them into a wonderful mom. My daughter. Who is patient (sometimes to a fault) with her kids. And she helps out (too much) around the house (I'm still working on that lazy thing). And she loves her hubby and shows respect and teaches her 4 kids to do that same thing. And they know.

So it heals my heart every day. To know that God cared enough, CARES ENOUGH, to help me through the difficult moments (then and now) and helps me remember (again) it's just a season. And look what He cared enough to do.

<3


no fear...

last week, during a church missions training, one of the speakers made the statement

"FEAR has become the new idol of the American church"

he was speaking in reference to how we have become fearful of people going to share the gospel in "dangerous places".  how we mess with what God impresses on people's hearts, based on what we think, news reports, and history...how we ignore God's direction, His purpose and will for their lives. we put our fears in front of trusting Him. fear over God.

sounds like an idol to me.

so then i was thinking of other areas that we could apply that. in church. in life.

sermons. how often will a pastor/teacher not preach God's word. for real. because they are afraid to offend people that attend church. visitors. servers. tithers.

NO FEAR!

how often do people IN church not go forward. afraid of what others will think. they need prayer. want to join the church. want freedom from sin. but they stand in their space. or sit. unable to put. one. foot. in. front. of. the. other.

NO FEAR!

husbands and wives. afraid to be honest with each other. afraid the other will leave. not trusting God's prompting. afraid they won't be forgiven. not worthy of forgiveness. afraid the love won't come back. that they won't find it.

NO FEAR!

husbands and wives. scared stiff of the secrets they keep. hiding bills. hiding buys. deception becomes closer than their spouse. afraid of the reality that will.soon.arrive.

NO FEAR!

people equipped to do something.amazing. God equipped. God called. yet they keep their mouths shut. their fingers still. their voices silent. they won't follow through with HIS PLAN.

NO FEAR!!

how many of us carry these things around? or things like these? these are not mine to carry. often.

i. am. learning. letting. HIM. increase. me. decrease.

no fear.

perfect love in it's place.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

On friendship...

This is in response to a recent (in) courage log... I've had incredibly long spells of friendless seasons. Once, for 19 years (really!) we lived in a place and I called it "my 40 years in the desert", it was pretty lonely. I knew many people, but didn't have a girlfriend; not a kindred spirit to be found. I learned a few things, and still am learning from that season. One of the most important things is that if I had the friendships I wanted and expected, I wouldn't rely on God so much. I need Him to fill those shoes, and what kind of friend am I (or follower!) if I don't take time with Him? Another thing is to not limit myself with my expectations. As a young mom in CA I was a popular trendsetter, an encourager, a prayer warrior and often in spots to assist others. In the small town we lived in, few of those things held water. The friendship circles were mostly made of family ties, and I was a nobody! Needless to say, my ego took a quick hit, and I struggled with depression. The few acquaintances I had were unexpected! An elderly woman who taught me to quilt became a surrogate mom, and another new mom to the area became a lifelong friend...even though she moved through the area quickly (I was so jealous!). God knew what I needed, to grow in new ways. I also leaned on my old friends some...but not too much. It was before Internet, so phone calls spanning time zones and toddlers naps was difficult... But if I needed prayer, I had somewhere to go. Because we made unpopular choices, like homeschooling, and not joining the biggest church in the small town, we ran into circles of people that didn't relate to us completely. That's ok. We maybe had one thing in common - not enough to build a friendship on, but some sort of common ground. The biggest thing is what I've learned on the other side of it all- hopefully to be a better friend to God, to be willing to be a sister to other women who are new to an area, to find common ground and to not sweat the differences...especially age! We are all women, and can encourage each other in our walk with Him! Ps- perhaps God is leading us to stretch outside of our Christian circles, and to build bridges of friendship with unbelieving women?? I loved watching the Bridges study from Crescent Project, and encourage others to pray about applying it to your life... Reaching out to Muslim women to share friendship (and Jesus!) with them.